Volunteers honor lost loved ones at Dublin Irish Festival

DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — A lot of heavy lifting goes on at the Dublin Irish festival especially by the athletes who participate in the Highland Games. But a good portion of the lifting is done by the 1,300 volunteers who help make the event possible.

Volunteers like Leslie Finn who display strength and courage despite tragedy.

“I could dig a hole or I could move forward,” Finn said.

Another volunteer who is coming to grips with loss is Joe Murnane, his father passed away in February after a heart attack.

“I’ve tried to fill what are big shoes,” Murnane said.

A space once filled by two dedicated Dublin Irish Festival volunteers that may be vacant but never forgotten as evident in the trees and bench planted in their memory.

“It’s a difficult time if the year,” Murnane said. “It was always fun seeing my dad driving around in the golf cart waving coming by.”

Finn flew all the way from Atlanta just to work for free. It’s work that she and her late husband Jim cherished before he died at 57.

“He was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2012 and died on Christmas Eve in 2012,” Murnane said.

Both say their loved ones worked tirelessly to make the festival the success it is today.

“Jim would want me to honor his memory by moving forward and still coming back to the Irish Festival… It’s all such a bittersweet story but, you know, it’s life,” shared Finn.

The Dublin Irish Festival wraps up on Sunday when both volunteers will leave with plans to return year after year.

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