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Wednesday 22 March 2017

Visit of Che Guevara to be commemorated

Gordon Deegan

A replica of the image created by Irishman Jim
Fitzpatrick of Che hangs from a building in Cuba
A replica of the image created by Irishman Jim Fitzpatrick of Che hangs from a building in Cuba

The visit by revolutionary Che Guevara to Co Clare 50 years ago is to be commemorated at a new festival.

On the last weekend of this month, visitors will join in celebrating Guevara's visit with locals and Cuban Ambassador Teresita Trujillo in the seaside resort of Kilkee at the inaugural 'Che do Bheatha' festival.

Festival organiser Tom Byrne yesterday billed the festival as the 'Latin Willie Clancy festival' confirming "three days of all things Cuban".

Mr Byrne confirmed that Ms Trujillo will formally open the three-day festival on September 30.

The seed for the event was sown in September 1961 by the visit of Che Guevara and his entourage to the then sleepy west-Clare resort.

Mr Byrne explained yesterday: "Che was stopping over at Shannon en route from Prague to Havana. The airport was fogbound and the aircraft couldn't fly that day, so Che asked where was a good place to spend a night and he was told Kilkee."

Mr Byrne said that Che Guevara stayed at the Strand Hotel and signed his name on the register as Raphael Trujillo.

"He was wanted by the CIA and didn't sign under his own name," Mr Byrne said.

It was during the stay that the iconic image of his face, still seen throughout the world on posters and T-shirts, was conceived.

Mr Byrne said: "The image was based on a photograph by the late Alberto Corda, but once it was recreated in that most famous image by Jim Fitzpatrick it became a worldwide phenomenon."

Irish Independent

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