Founded by global peace visionary Sri Chinmoy in 1987, the World Harmony Run is the world’s largest torch relay for international friendship and has passed through over 120 countries since its inception. In conjunction with Dublin European Capital of Sport 2010, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello, launched the event in a gala ceremony in Dublin’s City Hall at 12pm.
From Dublin, an international team of runners began a 24,000 km journey that will last seven months and travel through forty-nine European countries, finishing in Moscow in September. At the same time, another Asian run will begin in Japan and travel westward through South Korea, China, Mongolia and all the former Soviet states to also finish in Moscow at the same time in September – a unique link between East and West spanning over 36,000kms!
During the ceremony Irish running legend Catherina McKiernan received a Torch-Bearer Award from the World Harmony Run for her services to the athletic community. The ceremony also featured readings from poet John F. Deane, founder of the Poetry Ireland Review, and Martin Doyle performed traditional Irish tunes on Irish flute in accompaniment with his flute-making assistant Gwenn Frin who is originally from Brittany in France. For their performance at the ceremony, Martin chose six traditional Irish tunes in the theme of birds, which he dedicated to Sri Chinmoy’s remarkable soul-bird drawings that number in the millions. The tunes that Martin and Gwenn played were The Swallow’s Tail, The Bird In The Bush, The Eagle’s Whistle, The Lark In The Morning, The Lark in the Strand and The Blackbird.
Featured below is a video of the ceremony. You will hear Martin and Gwenn playing The Swallow’s Tail at the beginning of the clip and also see part of their performance during the video:
After the ceremony, the runners embarked on a circuit of the city cheered on by the people of Dublin before setting off on their journey the following morning. In the evening Martin and Gwenn were invited to a function and meal for the World Harmony Run where they again performed to the delight of all present. Martin Doyle had this to say regarding his experiences that day:
“The World Harmony Run was for me a lovely coming together of people. The support and goodwill that the organisers and running team had for the guests and for each other was great to see – I felt at home among them. I was also touched by the significance and the effect that the World Harmony Run has. It is a powerful device for inspiration. All the people who have held the torch – famous people and everyday folk all around the world – and all the people who run in the event each year – it is amazing! It was impressive too that, after the days events, the runners headed off to Cavan with great enthusiasm – and the fact that eventually they will run to Moscow and meet up with another team that began their journey in another part of Europe. I think that’s really something.”
More about the World Harmony Run in Ireland
Every year, over one million people participate in the World Harmony Run, passing along the torch from hand to hand and adding their hopes for a better world. The World Harmony Run is a non-political, non-fundraising event that simply aims to demonstrate mankind’s shared wish for harmony and has visited Ireland many times over the last 20 years, always receiving a tremendous céad mile fáilte from the Irish public – receptions were held in Arás an Uachtarain for the runners by Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, and also by Ministers of Sport and Education and Mayors of various cities and towns. In 2009, the World Harmony Run travelled around the entire coast of Ireland in a 2 week, 1500 km journey. Endorsements for the World Harmony Run have come from many world figures, including President Nelson Mandela, President Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Carl Lewis.
“By carrying the [World Harmony Run] torch, millions of citizens are taking a step for harmony and bridging the cultural and social boundaries that separate nation from nation.” – Carl Lewis.