Ali thanks people of Ennis for warm reception


BOXING LEGEND Muhammad Ali has written to the people of Ennis, Co Clare, thanking them for the reception they gave him and his wife Lonnie during their recent visit to the town.

Ali was made an honorary freeman of Ennis following his visit there on September 1st.

Ali’s great-grandfather Abe O’Grady left the turnpike road of the town to emigrate to the US in the 1860s.

The letter is written by Ali’s friend John Ramsey, who is involved with the Alltech Muhammad Ali Centre Global Education and Charitable Fund based in Louisville, Kentucky.

It was also sent to Alltech’s founder and president Dr Pearse Lyons who organised Ali’s visit to Ireland, and was one of the guests yesterday at the economic forum of the global Irish in Farmleigh House.

Irish-owned Alltech is based in Ali’s home state of Kentucky.

Mr Ramsey said Ali’s visit to Ennis was a “very special day”.

“It was the true reason he wanted to make this trip. He did not sleep during the entire flight home to the states due to the excitement and enjoyment he felt as a result of our beautiful experience,” he wrote.

“I have been blessed with Muhammad’s friendship for more than 27 years and I can honestly say I have never experienced a day so glorious as your town provided.

“I have travelled extensively with Muhammad and thought ‘I had seen it all’, but all experiences pale in comparison to the warm hospitality and kindness displayed by your dignitaries and residents,” he said.

Dr Lyons, who built up Alltech into a large multinational company, said the Irish visit had raised about €250,000 for the foundation.

He said he was “delighted” with the visit and he hoped that Ali will be able to return, in the near future to Ennis.