Following on from the successful visit of Prince Charles recently, this coming Saturday, the town of Letterkenny welcomes with open arms the President of Ireland, Mr. Michael D. Higgins, as he arrives to congratulate the Letterkenny Tidy Towns on their success on being crowned Ireland’s Tidiest Town 2015.

Of course, several Presidents have visited the town before, such as Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson, while President Eamonn DeValera made two visits to the town as Uachtarán – in 1963 for the funeral of Bishop MacNeely and in 1965 for the inauguration of Bishop McFeely as Bishop of Raphoe.

The video attached shows the visit of President Erskine Childers in August 1973 when he arrived to formally open the 6th Letterkenny Folk Festival. Mr. Childers had just been inaugurated as President only two months previously and his term was short, dying of a heart attack in November 1974.

On his visit to the town 42 years ago, his remarks concerning the town then and the importance of the Folk Festival could be equally applied today. Groups such as the Letterkenny Tidy Towns, and many others, continue to strive to promote the town in a positive light. At the Market Square, he remarked:

“Letterkenny has indeed been advancing in prosperity for a number of years. So I think it’s important to say a few words in what seems to me to be of very great importance in relation to the future’s social growth of the town of Letterkenny, and it’s people, and it applies to any town in Ireland. As a first central requirement for any town, in this modern age of ours is to have the people feel a sense of total community consciousness, a sense of being responsible for the entire moral and social and cultural welfare of the people in the town. The people must not be living as separate human beings but feeling a sense of involvement in every thing that goes on. Now you’ve been set a splendid example by the committee of the Letterkenny Folk Festival in how a voluntary committee can begin to organize things and to bring about a festival of this kind and there are other organizations in Letterkenny who are working for the common good. For when these people get together, and if they have a sense of community consciousness, why then, a great many things can be done.”

Congratulations once again to the Letterkenny Tidy Towns.

Video and narration by Alan Speer, 1973