BY SEÁN P. FEENY
LAST Sunday Aphort pensioner Edward Boyle was crowned the first King of Arranmore at a special Gathering event on the island.
In a landslide victory Edward received 59.8 per cent of the votes, second placed was four per cent, third – 3.6 per cent and fourth – 2.5 per cent, while the remaining 30.1 per cent was divided among 26 individuals. 274 were votes cast in the election of which 35 were spoilt.
Edward (83), known to everyone as Smiler, is a very popular islander who was widowed at a young age and raised three children by himself.
He is known for his good humour, friendliness and is an ‘overall gem of a man’ organisers said.
He loves to collect dulce and carrageen moss from the shore and regularly hands it out to visitors to the island and locals. His granddaughter Aine Rodgers represented the Oilean Mary in the recent Mary From Dungloe International Festival.
Organiser, Paula Killeen of Killeen’s Hotel, said there was a ‘great buzz’ around the vote in the lead-up to the announcement. “The actual crowning ceremony was great, there was a full house in attendance and Hugh Rodgers acted as the MC.
“The Arranmore Pipe Band played together with local musicians Anne Conaghan, Jamie Neeson, Paddy Gallagher and Connie McCauley.
“The ceremony started with a slideshow compiled by Hugh O’Donnell. It was amazing, it was a collection of photographs through the years accompanied by music.
“The photographs were all of Arranmore people and it was very touching. Hugh’s slideshow really started the ceremony off very appropriately and was extremely well received.”
Paula and her parents Cynthia and Paraig came to the island in 2010 after purchasing the hotel and they were amazed with the sense of community and support there is.
“We wanted to make sure that this is a special event and that the people of the island have the chance to elect somebody they would really like to be a ‘representative’. The Gathering was the perfect occasion to celebrate the marvel that is the community of Arranmore.”
Edward ‘Smiler’ Boyle will hold on to the title of King of Arranmore until death or if he decides to ‘dethrone’ himself at some stage.