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Ulysses - Naming Ceremony

Gold Medal Winner Mairéad The 'Golden Godmother' To World's Largest Car Ferry 'Ulysses'

Swimmer Mairéad Berry, Ireland's 25-year old Paralympic Games gold medal winner, accepted an invitation to be our 'golden godmother' and perform the official naming of our new Dublin - Holyhead Cruise Ferry Ulysses, the world's largest car ferry. Mairéad Berry, Ireland's Paralympic Games gold medal winner

Mairéad, winner of one gold medal and two silver medals at the Paralympic Games in Sydney, performed the naming at a special ceremony in Dublin Port on the 21st of March 2001, three weeks after the €100 million vessel arrived in Dublin from the shipyard in Finland where she has been under construction since 1999.

Before the 800 guests, Mairéad said the words 'I name this vessel Ulysses. May God bless her and all who sail in her', prior to sending the traditional bottle of champagne crashing off the ship's hull.

Commenting on how she felt being asked to name the world's largest car ferry Ulysses, Mairéad remarked that she was 'honoured and delighted to be chosen'. 'I'm very excited and looking forward to the ceremony' she said. 'It will be a proud day for me and for my family'. Irish Ferries' Managing Director Éamonn Rothwell said 'we are delighted that Mairéad has agreed to be Godmother to Ulysses. Ireland's world-beating swimmer to name Ireland's world-beating car's a magical combination'.

Mairéad is one of Ireland's most decorated sportswomen. At the recent Paralympic Games in Sydney, she won her gold medal after slicing eight seconds off the 100 metres freestyle world record with a winning time of 2.43.67 seconds. Her two silver medals came in the 50 metres backstroke and freestyle events. In addition, she holds silver medals from two previous Paralympic Games in Atlanta and Barcelona as well as gold and silver medals won in World and European games.

Mairéad, who has three brothers Eugene, David and Peter, lives with her father Eugene and mother Lil in the North Dublin suburb of Coolock. She began swimming at Dublin's Central Remedial Clinic as part of her physiotherapy for cerebral palsy when she was just two years old. Today, she is a member of the staff of North Dublin Schoolboy Leagues, the organisation responsible for managing football fixtures for young players.

Mairéad comes from a family with a strong seafaring tradition. Her great grandfather Frederick, grandfather Paddy, uncle Paddy and aunt Bridie all had long careers in the merchant navy. Her father Eugene also has strong links with Dublin Port having worked there as a docker for 45 years.

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