Walk in Armstrong's footsteps... in Kerry
on 07/09/2012 00:00:00
In a rare public appearance, Mr Armstrong spent four days in Kerry in 1997 on a visit to open an exhibition on space exploration at the town's county museum. Thousands of people turned out to greet him on Denny Street on the night of the opening.
Mr Armstrong used the road through the town park to get to the national folk theatre, Siamsa Tire.
Then County Museum manager John Griffin, now involved in tourism development in Tralee, recalled how the visit made headlines worldwide.
"He just made a huge impact. And I think Kerry made a big impact on him too - rather than just one address as had been planned, he made two, once on Denny Street and again in Siamsa Tíre where he saw a show on traditional rural life."
The performance on agricultural life stirred him to emotion as it reminded him of his own childhood on a farm in Ohio.
Mr Armstrong also visited Killarney national park.
He was given the freedom of Tralee at a civic reception hosted by the Town Council and then Mayor, the late Maeve Spring, sister of then Tánaiste Dick Spring, who was instrumental in organising the visit.
Current Mayor of Tralee, Johnny Wall, who walked alongside Mr Armstrong, proposed the naming of the road as Neil Armstrong Way and this has been unanimously accepted.
A plaque bearing his name is shortly to be erected.