Mullingar pays tribute to officers as Columb Barracks closes

Mullingar's Columb Barracks has closed it's doors for the last time.

Mullingar's Columb Barracks has closed its doors for the last time.

Several thousand schoolchildren, army families and local dignitaries have lined the streets of the town to bid the 200 soldiers a final farewell.

Every schoolchild in the town lined Pearse Street today to say goodbye to Mullingar's finest.

Children waved Irish flags and held banners to show their sadness at the soldiers departure.

The soldiers were joined at the Green Bridge by Mullingar's Town Band, who led the procession through the town to Market House.

Lieutenant Colonel Ray York then presented Cathaoirleach Peter Burke of the Town Council with the 10-milion year lease for Columb Barracks.

"It is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest lease ever recorded," said York.

Within a short few moments, the sombre ceremony passed and Cathaoirleach Burke said he hopes never to repeat it.

"Obviously this is a very difficult day for the people of Mullingar, and it's with a heavy heart that we accept the lease on behalf of the members of Mullingar Town Council and the citizens of Mullingar," he said.

Less than half an hour after leaving Columb Barracks its residents had paraded through the town and are now en route to Athlone, with Mullingar Town Band's 'Goodbye my Friend' ringing in their ears.

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