Monday 21 August 2017

Huge crowds flock to the Phoenix Park for taste of Defence Forces

Second Lieutenant Jason Nugent and Hugh Hargadon (4), from Mullingar, get into the spirit of the day. Photo: Doug O’Connor
Second Lieutenant Jason Nugent and Hugh Hargadon (4), from Mullingar, get into the spirit of the day. Photo: Doug O’Connor

Gavin White

Around 40,000 people attended an open day for the Irish Defence Forces as children and parents were given a taste of life in the Army.

Families were treated to parachute displays, unarmed combat displays and a whole host of tanks and vehicles in the Phoenix Park, in Dublin.

Meliosa Hargadon, from Mullingar, said her four-year-old son Hugh "had a great day" seeing all the different demonstrations.

She said Hugh had toys and Army gear back at home but was "in his element" with the real thing on show.

Captain John Forde said the Defence Forces was "thrilled" to have so many visitors to the open day, and that it surpassed all expectations.

Company Sergeant Graham Nuttall was the group master of the parachute jumpers, and he said the forces were "very appreciative" of the thousands who came out.

"When you are coming down to land and you hear that roar from the crowd, there really is nothing better," he said.

CS Nuttall, who has served in Lebanon and East Timor, said that the event "is a great way to connect with the public".

Irish Independent

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