Executive Honorary Members
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir George Martin
(The Original Quarrymen):-
Paul McCartney becomes Executive
Honorary Member of Beatles Ireland
The photos below were taken by Damian Smyth.
Mills & Groom
June 10th 2002 began just like any other morning for me. Feed our baby, make some bottles, change a few nappies and watch another World Cup game. At halftime in the football, I heard that Paul McCartney was due to appear at the gates of Castle Leslie later that afternoon. From then on I knew, today would be no ordinary day.
First I had to find a baby-sitter, drive to Portlaoise to collect a wedding present for Paul & Heather, pack some food, grab my cameras, some album sleeves, and meet Pete, Damian, and his two daughters Katie & Amy in Dublin.
The Long and Winding Road
We set off at 1:00pm on the 90 mile journey, and while passing through Slane we couldn’t help but think "wouldn’t it be nice to have Paul play here within the next year". From Meath to Louth and into County Monaghan.
As we approached our destination, the rain continued to fall but it didn’t dampen our spirits. In Glaslough a huge banner that hung right across the streets greeted us.
GLASLOUGH WELCOMES SIR PAUL, HEATHER & GUESTS
Expecting to see crowds of people gathered at the gates, we were surprised that the majority of the people there were reporters and cameramen. Each one trying to get a better position than his or her rival. We walked straight up to the barriers and positioned ourselves a few feet away from where Paul would be standing within half an hour.
At 4:05pm a Land Rover, driven by Paul pulled up just inside the gates and Paul & Heather emerged to rapturous applause. Paul presented her with a red rose and kissed her twice for the cameras. He then spoke briefly about their wedding tomorrow "but it’s a secret" they joked.
From Me To You
As they preceded to leave, we caught Heather’s attention with the framed coat of arms that we had for them. We shook hands with them and I presented Paul with the framed picture from all his Irish fans. He looked at it, smiled and began to read about the origins of both of their surnames.
I told him that we’d been chasing him for 10 years and in the same breath I added that "Thirty-nine years is a long time to wait for a concert, will you play a gig in Dublin ?" He looked at me intently, gave me his trademark ‘thumbs up’ and said "Yeah ! I’m working on that", so hopefully that means an Irish date added to the European Leg of his ‘Driving Rain’ Tour.
Pete immediately put a letter in front of Paul asking him if he’d like to become Honorary Patron of Beatles Ireland, to which he replied "I’m not signing anything here, but I’ll sign this". I think when he saw the name ‘Beatles Ireland’ written on my T-shirt, and the letterhead, he remembered our previous gift to him in Liverpool a few years ago.
Heather also looked at the letter and said "Yes ! this is a worthy cause, I’ll sign it also" and she did. A local girl presented them with some flowers and before they left, Paul held up our wedding present for all the media to see. His PR guy Geoff Baker said he’d take items for Paul to sign so we all handed him some album sleeves.
With nothing left to report on, various reporters swarmed around us to find out what present we’d given them, what they’d said to us, and spotting my T-shirt, they wanted to know all about our club. We spoke to Russian, German & French TV Networks as well as Sky, BBC and CNN.
When Geoff returned with our album sleeves, we were delighted to see that Heather had also signed them – in her maiden name, probably the last time she would do so. I reminded Geoff again about an Irish Concert, to which he smartly replied "Yes ! tomorrow night here". Unfortunately that was one concert I couldn’t get a ticket for.
Doing interviews is thirsty work and so we had one in the adjoining pub where all the journalists had assembled to file their stories. We spoke to one reporter from The Irish Times who told us where we could find the Mohan grave, where Paul’s relatives are buried, so we dropped in on the way back.
The journey home felt a lot shorter as we reflected on the days’ events and listened to the various radio reports. That evening we saw Paul & Heather on the news, with their wedding present from Beatles Ireland.
It was only then that it began to sink in. This wasn’t a dream, we had met Paul McCartney and life for Damian, Pete and I would never be the same. It really was ‘Heaven on a Monday’.
A bit of fun
Photo from Sun Newspaper