Friends and family of the Limerick born actor Richard Harris along with hundreds of local people gathered at the unveiling of a bronze statue honouring the actor in Kilkee, County Clare, where he spent many of his summer holidays.
The life-size statue by local sculptor Séamus Connolly depicts Harris playing racquetball a game played against the sea wall in the West Clare resort. Richard Harris had won the men's open racquet championship a number of times.
Harris’s son Damien was amazed by the reception in Kilkee.
I think it's absolutely fantastic what they've done, I think this whole event has been brilliant for him, and he would have loved it.
Damien Harris was joined at the ceremony by brothers Jared and Jamie and uncle Billy along with some of his father’s famous acting friends. Russell Crowe took a break from filming in New York, to attend the ceremony.
Crowe and Harris became friends in 1999 during the filming of the Ridley Scot film ‘Gladiator’. Backed by a local choir a guitarist and an uilleann piper, Russell Crowe performed a song he specially wrote for the event ‘Requiem in the Idiom of a Football Song’ which he dedicated to Harris. He is amused the statue depicts Richard Harris as a racquetball player rather than a character from one of his more notable films.
One, I think it would make him laugh out loud, and two I think he’d be quietly pleased that he was recognised for something that he actually achieved as a bloke.
An appeal against the decision to grant planning permission to erect the statue on Wellington Square meant the statue was unveiled in a temporary site at the Pollock Holes in Kilkee.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 September 2006. The reporter is Cathy Halloran.