It was Tuesday 1 September, 2009.
The day that Muhammad Ali was made a Freeman of Ennis.
People came from the four corners of County Clare and beyond for a glimpse of the three times World Heavyweight champion on his return to his ancestral home with Ennis Town Council paying him their highest civic honour — the freedom of Ennis.
That afternoon Ennis’ narrow streets were thronged with thousands of people as the Muhammad Ali cavalcade wended its way slowly up Abbey Street, past the the Daniel O’Connell Monument and then down O’Connell Street before finally landing in the Turnpike area of the town.
To mark the occasion The Clare People, which was published that morning, brought out a special 16-page supplement in honour of Ali and his associations with County Clare.
It wasn’t his first visit to the county — en route home to America after winning gold at the 1960 Rome Olympics he overnighted in Shannon Airport, rooming in the famous hostels on the edge or the airport runway.
He came back to the county many times in the succeeding years, but the 1 September 2009 visit was the coronation, when he proved to the county and the world that was watching in that he was still ‘The Greatest’.
Always ‘The Greatest’.
Click on the link to read Ali in Ennis – Clare People Supplement