Thousands greet arrival of Olympic torch

KEEP 'ER LIT.  Local Adrian McIlvenna (right), who carried the Olympic Torch in Dervock on Sunday.INBM23-12 078SC.
KEEP 'ER LIT. Local Adrian McIlvenna (right), who carried the Olympic Torch in Dervock on Sunday.INBM23-12 078SC.

NORTH Antrim responded magnificently to the arrival of the Olympic torch on Sunday.

Cushendall, Ballycastle, Bushmills and Dervock enjoyed bright sunshine and the support of thousands of spectators as the Olympic torch came to Northern Ireland for the first time.

The response from the public overwhelmed the organisers whose weeks of planning ended in an operation that went smoothly and will have left a lasting impression.

A strong security presence was evident throughout at all designated villages and teams of officers combed every inch of the route, but generally there was a relaxed atmosphere with families enjoying many of the side shows laid on by Ballymoney and Moyle Councils.

Ballycastle resembled the Oul Lammas Fair with thousands lining up along Quay Road, Ann Street and the Diamond as the procession made its way through the town.

Voluntary groups acted as stewards in all areas making sure the crowds were kept a safe distance from the cavalcade of vehicles behind the runners.

Both Dervock and Bushmills not only celebrated the torch, but also took the opportunity to join in the festivities to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Union flags, bunting and tributes to HM were evident in both villages and the Millennium Park in Bushmills was a hive of activity with games galore for youngsters.

Many agreed that it was a spectacle worth seeing with countless pictures taken to recall the occasion.

For comprehensive coverage of the torch in North Antrim, see this week’s Ballymoney Times.