Once in a lifetime experience for Tiernach

Published: 13 Sep 2012 14:300 comments

FRESH from volunteering at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, ARC Healthy Living's Tiernach Mahon says his experience has been "more than a dream come true".

Tiernach Mahon, Gamesmaker at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

The Volunteer Co-ordinator at ARC Healthy Living in Irvinestown says the games were "an emotional rollercoaster" bringing "the best out in everyone".

And now back to his day job he is determined to apply a little bit of that Paralympic spirit to his daily work ethic.

Tiernach was one of over 870 volunteers working at the Olympic Stadium each day during the Paralympics.

In previous years he was among the hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering from the stands at Athens, Barcelona and Atlanta.

But when London won the bid to host the 2012 games, the Irvinestown man knew he wanted to be more than just a spectator.

"The day London was announced as the winner, within five minutes I phoned my sister in London to say I was staying with her during the Olympics and Paralympics!" he told The Impartial Reporter, "It was a dream come true that they were coming so close to home and being involved is something I had always dreamed about."

True to form, when the opportunity arose to volunteer, he wasted no time in applying.

He says however that the role assigned to him over the course of the fortnight as games-maker was far more significant than he ever could have imagined.

"I just expected I would be doing minor jobs. But whatever I was doing, I wanted to be part of such a momentous occasion.

"We had three training days before we started -- all very intensive training, but when it came down to it, in many ways you were learning on your feet when the Paralympics actually began."

For the first eight days Tiernach's shift ran from 4.30am until 3.30pm. The final three days he worked the later shift -- 2pm until 12.30am.

"On the last night we didn't actually get finished until 2am because we were preparing for the closing ceremony. But nobody minded, we were all just glad to be doing our bit.

"The stadium was to open at 8am every morning -- our goal was to have it ready and opened before that each day. There was only one morning that it opened three minutes later!

"Each day went I back to my sister's house totally and utterly exhausted. I had blisters on my feet but I didn't care -- the whole atmosphere was just so electric that it carried you on. I was supposed to be off on the last Friday, I was so tired, but I said if they needed extra help to let me come in. It was a once in a life time opportunity and I didn't want to miss a minute of it."

Tiernach says the atmosphere throughout the Paralympics was euphoric.

"Everyone was on an adrenaline high -- it's hard to put it into words. Everyone knew that something fantastic was happening."

He says he found his spent in London inspiring.

"If you ask me I think the volunteers really made the games -- it was the best kind of example of people working together for a common goal. I will never get to be involved in anything like that again.

"The night Jason Smyth won for Ireland I was down on the track chatting to his family. And when he took out the Irish flag I was 10 feet away. I'll never get to experience something like that again."

According to Tiernach, the last night was a particularly emotional experience.

"We had been through something so amazing, and we knew we would probably never meet again.

"I got so much more out of volunteering than I ever thought I would and I suppose that's what volunteering is all about really."

Jump to first paragraph.


comments powered by Disqus

Get more stories from our Roundup section

17 Apr 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards

#fermanaghspake This Week is...

‘I’m not half well’

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 18:06 • Rodney Edwards

Would-be Unionist polictician admits Catholic Facebook question was 'badly worded'

A would-be politician seeking a seat in the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council for the Ulster Unionist Party has defended himself for a second time following comments he made on Facebook.


17 Apr 2014 17:01

Fermanagh's 'different breed' that sets the Orange Standard

Let me get the amateur sociology out of the way first: ‘Out-group homogeneity’. It describes a bias that any group of people are prone to have.


17 Apr 2014 16:30

Why are you 'punishing a good school'?

The proposed Development Proposal to close both Enniskillen Collegiate School and Portora Royal School and open a new school on a split site, will go before the members of the Western Education and Library Board on May 8 for approval.


17 Apr 2014 15:57

Meeting exposed WELB's 'weak process and weak argument' says Collegiate head

THE Collegiate Grammar School’s consultation meeting on its proposed amalgamation with Portora Royal exposed the Western Education Library Board’s (WELB) “weak process and weak argument”, according to principal, Elizabeth Armstrong.


17 Apr 2014 15:14

Collegiate parents walk out after rudeness of WELB official

PARENTS of Collegiate Grammar School have accused Western Education Library Board (WELB) officials of hiding their personal vested interest in a proposal that would see the school merge with Portora Royal next year.


17 Apr 2014 14:29 • Meadhbh Monahan

Angry homeowners duped by rogue driveway worker caled Roadstone

HOMEOWNERS in Enniskillen are “disgusted” with workmen who took hundreds of pounds for cleaning their driveways, but never finished the job.


17 Apr 2014 14:06

Enniskillen by-pass could start in four years says Minister

WORK on the long-awaited Southern by-pass of Enniskillen could start in four years’ time but only if the millions needed for the scheme can be found, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has said.


17 Apr 2014 13:11

No referendum on fracking at Council elections

Fermanagh District Council is unlikely to hold a fracking referendum after legal advice has recommended against it.


17 Apr 2014 13:01

Woman who tried to give man love bite guilty of sexual assault

A 47-year-old woman has been convicted of sexually assaulting a young man after she allegedly “forced” herself on him, grabbing him by the bum and telling him she loved him.


17 Apr 2014 11:45

St. Patrick's Day crash led driver to court

A 42-year-old driver who failed to stop after crashing into a car on a bridge on St. Patrick’s Day was three times the legal alcohol limit.


17 Apr 2014 10:00 • Editorial Department

Inside today's paper

Clerics attend Queen’s banquet: Praise for their cross-community work

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 09:48

Sharpe names Premier 18 for Milk Cup

Fermanagh Premier Milk Cup manager Derek Sharpe has named his 18 man squad for this summer's competition.


17 Apr 2014 09:15

Men arrested in connection with security alert charged with theft

THE two men arrested in connection with a security alert in Fintona on Tuesday this week have been charged with Theft and Going Equipped for Theft


17 Apr 2014 09:00

Schoolgirl chef makes it to Fine Dine final

A local pupil has been named a finalist in this year's Fine Dine at Mine All-Ireland Schools Cookery Competion.


16 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department

In tomorrow's Impartial Reporter read:

How a woman has been convicted of sexually assaulting a man after touching him and trying to give him a love bite.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 19:30

Arrest warrant for convicted shoplifter

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 33-year-old convicted shoplifter.


16 Apr 2014 17:00

Driver convicted of possession of drug after cannabis was found in car

The 32-year-old driver of a car from which there was a strong smell of cannabis has admitted unlawfully having the Class B drug.


16 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Comment - Shona Morrison - Feeling blue over the lack of support for autism awareness

Our wee county of Fermanagh has a great deal going for it right now.

Social: Comments0 comments

16 Apr 2014 12:20

Police probe confrontation between cyclists and motorist

A man was reportedly assaulted during a confrontation between a motorist and a group of cyclists on the Sligo Road in Enniskillen.