Saturday 15 December 2018

Haugheys back with a bang to launch regatta

Anne Lucey

THE eldest son of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey followed in a long-running family tradition by opening an annual regatta at the weekend.

Conor Haughey marked the start of this year's Dingle regatta in Co Kerry. He took over the role from his late father at the event.

For the first time in some years Charles Haughey's widow, Maureen, who was dressed in white, viewed the proceedings. She was welcomed by Richard Williams, master of ceremonies.

There was unusually dry weather for the event as well-wishers greeted Mrs Haughey in west Kerry.

Asked what Dingle meant to her, Mrs Haughey replied: "I've been here every year, but sheltering because the weather was so bad. It's great to get the Kerry air. It's a special place," she said. Mrs Haughey also said she was happy to be surrounded by family including Sean Haughey TD, his wife Orla, and their four children, along with Ciaran Haughey.

Sean Haughey, who owns a house in Dingle, said he was building up his reserves for what he expected would be "a turbulent few months" when the Dail resumed.

Conor Haughey's 12-year-old son, Cathal, took part in the regatta and came second in the junior race on Saturday. His brother, Joseph (10), reminded reporters of what he had promised them the previous year. "I said last year, I would be in this year's regatta and I did that. I was rowing."

Disqualified

His boat went around the marking buoy the wrong way, and was disqualified, only for that they would have been placed, Joseph claimed.

The Haughey yacht, the 'Celtic Mist' was in harbour and there was a special request over the public address system by the family for long-time crew member Viv Nagle, from Clonakilty, who had been attending the Dingle Regatta for 25 years but who was ill in hospital.

Conor Haughey said he and his wife Jackie and children had been holidaying on the family island, Inishvickillane, one of the Blaskets. "It's always a great honour to be asked to open the regatta," he said.

The association between Dingle and the Haughey family goes back four decades and the late Taoiseach is credited with securing badly needed funding to improve the harbour and create the marina.

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