Visit by Al Worden, Apollo 15 astronaut and patron of Lough Gur Development

The combination of astronaut and archaeologist seems unlikely, but they do sit comfortably together.
On Saturday July 16th Apollo 15 Astronaut and Patron of Lough Gur Development visited Limerick to recognise the close association between the ancient ritual sites in Lough Gur and the night sky overhead. Al travelled to present on his epic journey to the moon as a fundraising initiative for the community of Lough Gur who run the lakeside Heritage Centre.
To have this award winning high achiever nod to the excellence in Lough Gur is a testament to the outstanding work of the voluntary group. Since the Heritage Centre reopened after refurbishment in 2013 visitor numbers have double and continue to grow in diversity and numbers. During his visit Al acknowledged the link between Lough Gur and John F. Kennedy by taking a tour of the Thomas Fitzgerald Centre in Bruff, the ancestral home of John F. Kennedy. The maternal side of his family originated from Lough Gur and moved later to the town of Bruff where all records are stored. John F. Kennedy played a critical role in the space race by ensuring funds were invested to drive the NASA missions forward.
Al followed after to Lough Gur to plant a liquid amber maple tree in memory of his late wife Jill Worden who had strong Irish roots. Al greatly appreciated the gesture stating that “the tree was a fitting tribute to the memory of my wife’s Irish connections.” A few lucky guests joined Al for lunch in the Strand Hotel later that afternoon before he took to the stage in the Sky Room of the hotel to retell his journey from schoolboy to spaceman during the 1960s and 70s. At every opportunity Al brought the outward journey adventure story back to the origins of our own history in Lough Gur. Al has a great belief that the people who constructed the Great Grange Stone Circle in Lough Gur were “master craftsmen” and “knew more than we often suspect”.
Other speakers on the evening included archaeoastronomer Dr. Frank Prendergast, Director of Blackrock Castle Observatory; Dr. Niall Smith, Project Manager of the Lough Gur Science Group; Paul Ryan and Manager of Lough Gur Development Kate Harrold.
The evening was a great success overall and Al intends to come back again as he “truly enjoys visiting Lough Gur and spending time with the people there.” This is high praise from the man who has travelled further from earth than any other person in history.
Lough Gur continues on its quest to gain dark sky park accreditation through the International Dark Sky Association. In this case dark sky means bright futures as astro-tourism lurks on the horizon for the great and ancient site of Lough Gur.
For further information contact Kate Harrold on (086) 4021993 or via email