Al Worden at the Grange stone circle in Lough Gur Picture: Keith Wiseman
"ANYTHING is possible," said Al Worden, Apollo 15 astronaut after his flight to the moon in 1971.
These words, now more than ever ring true. Mr Worden, a patron of Lough Gur, passed away on March 18 at 88 years of age in Houston.
As one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon, Mr Worden is part of an exclusive voyager’s club. He remains the Guinness Book of World record holder for being the furthest person from earth.
It was the great-great-grandson of a Lough Gur native, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who launched the human space race by choosing to put a man on the moon. One such man to take up President Kennedy’s call to action was Mr Worden.
Some 45 years after his historic flight to the moon, Al Worden, visited Lough Gur to close this circle of history.
Kate Harrold, manager of Lough Gur, said his love affair with Lough Gur began in 2014 when he was introduced to the community group in 2014 by senior director of WP Engine, Paul Ryan and Cllr Brigid Teefy.
"They suggested that he would appreciate a visit to Lough Gur and from the moment he arrived Al was hooked.
"As the only Apollo astronaut to visit Limerick, patron of Lough Gur Al Worden will be remembered locally as a good, kind and generous person who marvelled at the extreme beauty of Lough Gur, believed in its value as a recreational area for Limerick citizens and the area’s potential to put Limerick firmly on the map.
"The link between ancient monuments and astronomy was of particular area of interest to Al who believed that ‘we all need to take time to look up at the stars and appreciate what we have’," said Ms Harrold.
Mr Worden visited Lough Gur on three occasions - 2014, 2015 and 2016 - to help Lough Gur Development fundraise for initiatives connected with promoting and preserving Lough Gur as a site of international significance.
"During his visits to Lough Gur, Al was always down to earth. He contributed in many inspirational ways to help propel a local community forward in their efforts to care for Lough Gur. I remember his mix of intellectual brilliance, ability to enjoy a good night out and make the most of life overall,” said Ms Harrold.
Fellow legendary astronaut, Buzz Aldrin tweeted: "'Line of Grey, Be Thou at Peace!’ Godspeed Al.”
May he rest in peace.