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Thousands turn out to great Ali in Ennis

Published 01/09/2009

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been made the first Honorary Freeman of Ennis at a Civic Reception in the Co. Clare town this afternoon.

The three-time world heavyweight champion has also visited the birthplace of his great grandfather, Abe Grady, who left Ennis in the 1860s.

At the Civic Reception, Ali met several of his distant cousins and afterwards was driven to the nearby Turnpike Road area, from where his great grandfather hailed.

A crowd of thousands of turned out to greet the man known as "The Greatest".

Ali's wife Lonnie spoke on his behalf at the ceremony.

"You, the people of Ennis have been so overwhelming in your outpouring of love to this man," she said.

"We are sincerely appreciative and thankful for each and every one of you and now that we know that Mohammad is an Ennis man we will be back."

"I can't tell you what a pleasure it is for us to be here and to be in Mohammad's ancestral home and to finally know where his great grandfather Abe Grady emigrated from."

"It's interesting, because when you look at Mohammad's pugilistic skills and his loquacious ways, I'm sure if his great grandfather were alive he'd swear it came from him."

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