Ireland hero Walters recalls family holidays to Dundalk and Gyles Quay
Ireland international Jonathan Walters has revealed that he used to holiday in Dundalk and the Cooley Peninsula as a youngster.
While he grew up in the Wirral in Liverpool, the Stoke City striker – whose two goals against Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier this month secured Ireland’s qualification for next year’s European Championships in France – told The Irish Independent on Saturday that his late Irish mother Helen Brady regularly used to take the family on holidays to the North East.
Whether it was Easter, summer, Christmas or Halloween, the ‘Brady Bunch’ would head for Gyles Quay where the family had caravans. Trips to the Cooley Mountains were frequent and he would regularly play with his cousins and on his late uncle Jimmy’s boat.
Indeed, he said one of his best childhood memories was being in Dundalk when the country qualified for the World Cup under Jack Charlton.
“What I remember clearly is going into Dundalk to a theatre,” says Walters.
“It was a Christmas panto. Ireland had qualified for the World Cup and everyone was singing, ‘We’re all part of Jackie’s Army’. I’ll never forget that.”
He also spoke of the importance of the current Irish crop’s achievements.
“You can see what it means to people. I was thinking that when the President came in. It’s not just for the players and the families but the economy as well. And it’s worth more to people with the memories it can make, like the ones I have from Dundalk. For the younger generation, we’re on the biggest stage and hopefully we’ll do well this time.
“When you play games, they’re the people you’re representing,” he stresses. “It’s for your family, your kids, your wife, even for the people you used to go to school with, your neighbours. It’s your aunties saying, ‘That’s my nephew’ or the others being able to say that’s their cousin or their brother or their friend. It’s nice to be able to make them proud, knowing you’ve done something that could live with them forever.”