LEGENDARY entertainer Cliff Richard, looking relaxed and willing to give an impromptu bar of a song, was feted in Killarney last night.
The 68-year-old, who has been rehearsing at the INEC, Killarney, for his 50th anniversary tour with his band The Shadows was accorded a civic reception by the local town council.
Pencil slim, fit and relaxed, he said he was enjoying his first visit to the tourist haven.
“I’ve been to Dublin many times and have visited Daniel O’Donnell up in Donegal and am surprised that I’ve never visited such a beautiful place as Killarney before,” said a smiling Richard, dressed in denim jeans and casual striped jacket.
Deputy mayor Michael Courtney struck an apt note when told the remarkably youthful 50s icon Killarney was sometimes known as “tir na n-óg”, or land of eternal youth.
Richard, who posed for photographs and signed autographs for councillors and anyone that approached him, also endeared himself to the local tidy towns committee and hard-pressed tourism industry.
“We’ve been working hard at rehearsals, but I’ve been into the town a couple of times. It looked brilliant, like it had been swept every day,” he remarked.
Now living in Portugal, he and the band members – Brian Bennett, Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch – are savouring one of their now infrequent reunions.
The opening concert of the world tour will be in the INEC, on Saturday night. This will be followed by performances in Dublin, Belfast and several cities in Britain.
They will then move to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa before finishing at the end of March.
At the civic reception, Richard signed the Killarney distinguished visitors’ book. He was also presented with a tie emblazoned with the Killarney crest and a pen made of arbutus wood from the Killarney lakeshore.
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