Astronaut Al is fondly remembered in Lough Gur

The late Al Worden on one of his visits to Lough Gur. Photo: Keith Wiseman

“ANYTHING is possible”.

These words from Apollo 15 astronaut and patron of Lough Gur, Al Worden, who sadly passed away on March 18, ring true now more than ever.

Worden, who travelled to the Moon in 1971, was 88-years-old when he died.

During these uncertain times his inspiring words, made after his visit to the moon, refer to the heights people can reach and the goals they can achieve if they put their minds to it.

Together the crew of Apollo 15 worked to overcome all odds to become the most scientific mission with crew members becoming the first people to drive on the Moon.

Al remains the Guinness Book of World record holder for being the furthest from Earth retaining the title as most isolated person in the Universe, a state of being that many can only now begin to comprehend.

Not satisfied with just one world record, he also holds the record for completing the first deep space extravehicular activity (EVA) which relates to activity outside a spacecraft. 

It was the great-great-grandson of a Lough Gur native – US President John F Kennedy – who launched the space race, by choosing to put a man on the Moon. One such man to take up JFK’s call to action was Al Worden.

Some 45 years after his historic flight to the moon, Worden visited County Limerick to close this circle of history.

He returned to Lough Gur on three occasions in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to help Lough Gur Development fundraise for initiatives connected with promoting and preserving Lough Gur as a site of international significance.

The link between ancient monuments and astronomy was of particular area of interest to him as he believed that “we all need to take time to look up at the stars and appreciate what we have”.

“During his visits to Lough Gur, Al was always down to Earth. He contributed in many inspirational ways to help propel a local community forward in their efforts to care for Lough Gur,” Centre Manager Kate Harrold recalled this week.

“I remember his mix of intellectual brilliance, ability to enjoy a good night out and make the most of life overall”.