Mayor of Athlone Councillor Gabrielle McFadden says that today is a proud day for the town as a €10 commemorative coin is unveiled to honour its most famous son, tenor John Count McCormack.
Cllr McFadden is travelling to the Central Bank in Dublin today to take part in the official launch of the new collector’s edition silver coin.
“I am extremely honoured to take part in the ceremony today unveiling the John Count McCormack commemorative coin. John, who was born in 1884 and died in 1945, is a huge part of Athlone’s cultural and musical history and someone we can be rightly proud of.”
“John’s parents worked at the old Woolen Mills and John went to school in the Marist and sang in the old Fr. Matthew Hall, which is now the state of the art Luan Gallery. John was a world renowned tenor and singer of operatic and popular songs such as ‘I hear you calling me’ and ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary”.
Mayor McFadden enthused that he performed all over the world, including Italy, UK, US and Australia. He made over a hundred recordings and starred in the movie ‘Song o’ My Heart’ in 1930. John also sang at the Eucharistic Congress in 1932.
“Athlone is very proud that the Central Bank has chosen John Count McCormack as Ireland’s musician for the EU commemoration and I am delighted to be present at the ceremony as Mayor,” she said.
“Athlone Town Council has made budget provision to revamp and rename the civic square as the John Count McCormack Square, to erect a statue and provide an exhibition area in the councils Civic Offices. This will be done this year and we very much hope that Athlone can become a centre of McCormack in the future, Cllr McFadden said.
The coin has been designed by Michael Guilfoyle and can be ordered using the form on the Central Bank’s website. It will also be available from the Dame Street, Dublin office from Thursday onwards.