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Special Dunree memorial to Danny McLaughlin 24.06.15

by Lindsay Hodges and Christine Cassidy (Wild Inishowen)

A VERY special event was held yesterday at Fort Dunree to remember and celebrate the life of Wild Inishowen’s founding member and great friend, Danny McLaughlin.
If ever a man deserved a fitting tribute with full honours from his family, friends, peers and VIPs, it was most certainly Danny. And today’s celebrations did him full justice.
On the most perfect day that Danny himself might have conjured and amid the orchid-flecked heather, the great and the good gathered side by side on the hilltop above Fort Dunree to witness the official opening of the Danny McLaughlin Viewing Area.
Opening of the Danny McLaughlin viewing area at Fort Dunree.
Visitors will now be treated to the most beautiful seat to grace the best view in the whole of Inishowen, overlooking the Atlantic and Lough Swilly.
The new seat has the most touching memorial plaque, which bears these words in Danny’s memory - “Rest and Appreciate The Wonder of Nature" - a sentiment which the man himself fully demonstrated throughout his remarkable life and in everything he saw and loved in Inishowen. There is also a magnificent marker stone from Fort Dunree with a fine tribute to Danny that also brought tears to the eyes.
The new Viewing Area was first blessed and dedicated by Fr Francis Bradley in the company of Danny’s family. Then John McCarter, chairman of Fort Dunree, gave a wonderful and heartfelt appreciation of Danny and all he contributed both to Fort Dunree and Inishowen as a whole.
Opening of the Danny McLaughlin viewing area at Fort Dunree.
This was followed with a moving tribute by Dermot McLaughlin and then the formal cutting of the ribbon by Dympna McLaughlin and the Lieutenant General, Conor O’Boyle, chief of staff of the Defence Forces.
And finally, the hills and heavens echoed to the strains of a lone piper playing Danny Boy and there was not a dry eye amongst the respectful and hushed crowd.
Only the call of a chough passing by broke the silence afterwards, a sound Danny would have thoroughly celebrated himself.
It was a moving, magical and very special occasion and a true honour to be invited.
Huge thanks to David Magee, manager of Fort Dunree, to all the staff there and also to Danny’s wonderful family.
It was a morning to remember always, in memory of – as the tribute on the memorial stone reads – our Forever Friend.
For more photos of the memorial click here .
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