| 14.4°C Belfast

Joey Dunlop: Tears in the sun as family and fans remember legend

Close

Robert and Joey Dunlop

Robert and Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop pictured in 1993

Joey Dunlop pictured in 1993

Pacemaker Press Ltd.

Thousands of fans attended motorbike ace Joey Dunlop's funeral today at Garryduff, Ballymoney. July 2000

Thousands of fans attended motorbike ace Joey Dunlop's funeral today at Garryduff, Ballymoney. July 2000

Joey Dunlop motorbike ace at his home.

Joey Dunlop motorbike ace at his home.

Belfast Telegraph

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

The Joey Dunlop memorial in Talinn

The Joey Dunlop memorial in Talinn

The late Joey Dunlop's wife ,Linda outsideJ oey's bar in Ballymoney

The late Joey Dunlop's wife ,Linda outsideJ oey's bar in Ballymoney

Richard Mezza, owner of Belfast-based Bici motorbike accessories store and a devoted fan of Joey Dunlop visits the  Ulster Folk and Transport Museum "King of the Roads" exhibition

Richard Mezza, owner of Belfast-based Bici motorbike accessories store and a devoted fan of Joey Dunlop visits the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum "King of the Roads" exhibition

Joey Dunlop motorbike ace. 17/08/1983.

Joey Dunlop motorbike ace. 17/08/1983.

Belfast Telegraph

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Belfast Telegraph

Joey Dunlop (11/01/1986)

Joey Dunlop (11/01/1986)

Belfast Telegraph

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Belfast Telegraph

Thousands of mourners follow the coffin of racing legent Joey Dunlop at his funeral in Ballymoney. July 2000.

Thousands of mourners follow the coffin of racing legent Joey Dunlop at his funeral in Ballymoney. July 2000.

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop : Motorcycling.  Joey Dunlop at Strangford Harbour awaits news of the operation to fish out the bikes lost on Saturday night after the ferry he was on sank.   27/5/1985

Joey Dunlop : Motorcycling. Joey Dunlop at Strangford Harbour awaits news of the operation to fish out the bikes lost on Saturday night after the ferry he was on sank. 27/5/1985

Trevor Martin

Joey & Robert Dunlop 1991

Joey & Robert Dunlop 1991

Robert and Joey Dunlop

Robert and Joey Dunlop

Joey and Robert Dunlop

Joey and Robert Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Linda Dunlop, Joey Dunlop's wife, reads the list of Joey's victories that are engraved on the plinth in the Joey Dunlop Memorial garden that was opened in his home town of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim

Linda Dunlop, Joey Dunlop's wife, reads the list of Joey's victories that are engraved on the plinth in the Joey Dunlop Memorial garden that was opened in his home town of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim

Motorcyclist Joey Dunlop Gets Hero's Welcome June 2000. He and wife Linda Dunlop wave to well wishers on the roof of the open topped bus

Motorcyclist Joey Dunlop Gets Hero's Welcome June 2000. He and wife Linda Dunlop wave to well wishers on the roof of the open topped bus

John Rush EDI

Joey Dunlop

Joey Dunlop

Robert and Joey Dunlop

Shards of sunlight streamed down on Ballymoney yesterday as tears streamed down the faces of hundreds of people who flocked to the town to pay tribute to Joey Dunlop, King of the Roads, on the 10th anniversary of his death.

His name is everywhere: Joey’s Bar, formerly the Railway Tavern, is full of his motorcycle memorabilia and was transformed into a veritable shrine after his passing, with his yellow helmet sitting above the bar and a bike suspended from the ceiling.

Not far away is the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre, and in the centre of town lies his memorial garden featuring a bronze statue of the hero, along with pillars inscribed with his many wins, and a plaque dedicated to his brother Robert who died in a crash in 2008.

Flowers and mementoes are often laid there, but this week has seen a deluge of tributes from all over the world.

Yesterday hundreds of people, including Dunlop family members, friends and well-known faces from the motorcycle fraternity, attended a thanksgiving service at nearby Garryduff Presbyterian Church, where a decade ago more than 50,000 people turned out to pay their respects following his death.

The service, organised by Joey’s widow Linda, was aimed at saying ‘thank you’ to the those who have supported the family since his passing.

Linda and their five children Julie, Donna, Gary, Richard and Joanne attended, as well as their grandchildren and Robert’s widow Louise and her road racing sons Michael and William.

Joey’s beloved mum Mary was also in the congregation.

The location was a poignant one. It was where Joey was baptised, celebrated his wedding anniversary, and was laid to rest in the adjoining churchyard.

His grandchildren Caitlin and Kayley read a poem describing their grandad as a “star in heaven’’.

Afterwards relatives released white balloons in his honour and stood at his grave in reflection.

Ballymoney Mayor Bill Kennedy said Joey was not just an icon in Ballymoney, but “on the island of Ireland and worldwide”, while ex-world champion Brian Reid said he “couldn’t believe it was 10 years” since his pal died.

Following a day of celebration of the life of one of Northern Ireland’s most loved sons, Joey’s daughter Donna McClean thanked fans for their well wishes and said the family had enjoyed “a lovely day”.

Belfast Telegraph