Frank Harkin (that’s Harkin) wishes it to be known that he once rode a bicycle from Shannon to Letterkenny.
It took him two exhausting days back in 1987 but he’s not sure how many were aware of it at the time.
“People got mixed up and thought that it was Frank Larkin that had done the cycle and he got all the credit. I’m glad I’ve got this opportunity to put that right!,” he laughs.
Highly appropriate that Frank (that’s Harkin, not Larkin) would undertake such a venture since his father, Joe, ran the shop on the Port Road that featured the famous “cyclist” in the front window, that image of those pumping legs an abiding one for old townies.
Frank is a native of 67 Main Street. “There’s an ATM machine now where our front door was,” he cashes in a memory. His mother was Kate (nee Gibson).
At the age of fifteen he was offered a job with ESSO in his home town but instead opted to head to Dublin and eventually to England. He worked as a truck driver for Chrysler and Massey-Ferguson.
Married to Judy from Coventry, the couple have two children, Tony and Lorraine. Tony is employed as an airline pilot with Delta while Lorraine is involved in the hospitality industry.
A holiday in the U.S. persuaded Frank and Judy that their future lay there and they set up in Minnesota in the “state of 10,000 lakes.”
“We live by a lakeside and we move to Las Vegas in the winter time.” But every year they fit in visits back to England and Ireland.
“We’ve been at a couple of the reunions and they’re always great fun. It’s great the work that Dessie Kelly and his committee put in to it. I suppose there’s nothing more disappointing in coming home and finding out so and so was there the week before and you missed them. The Reunion gives so many of us a chance to meet up at the one time.”
Apart from his good wife, Frank is accompanied on the trip by his brother, Sam, and his nephew Brendan O’Donnell. “I remember I used to wheel Brendan in his pram around Rosemount,” Frank recalls.
But Brendan’s not saying when exactly that was....