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Volunteer Q&A: Ray McGovern, Thomas Street Ambassador

Peter & Ray - Thomnas Street Ambassador Programme volunteers

Peter & Ray – Thomas Street Ambassador Programme Volunteers

The Thomas Street Volunteer Ambassador programme has been up and running for over 6 week’s now. Our incredible team of Thomas Street Volunteer Ambassadors have welcomed a host of visitors to the area. They recently greeted Irish Times Journalist Frank McNally, who was passing through the area and stopped to talk to the Ambassadors.

Peter and Ray (l-r) volunteering on Dublin’s Thomas Street.Out latest volunteer q&a is with Thomas Street Volunteer Ambassador, Ray McGovern. Ray is one of our most knowledgeable and enthusiastic Thomas Street Ambassadors. He’s a self-proclaimed history addict and is full of information about Thomas Street and the Liberties. He says it is an honour and a privilege to represent Thomas Street and talk to visitors.

Why did you volunteer for the Thomas Street Volunteer Ambassador Programme?
I’ve always loved Thomas Street and The Liberties. I’m a junky for history and really interested in the local history of this area. This was the shopping hub for 3 generations of my family, with local markets and local shops, the churches in the area are magnificent and I have origins in the James’s Street area. I think Thomas Street has a certain charm about it and it seemed like the natural thing for me to do, apply for this role and become a volunteer ambassador.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?
It’s an honour, and a privilege, to represent Thomas Street – to meet visitors to the area and to talk to them. Granted not everyone wants to talk to you on the street or not everyone is interested in history like I am so you really have to tailor your conversation to the visitors and speak to them on their terms. It’s so satisfying meeting visitors, making them feel welcome and giving them a memorable experience, especially considering they are contributing so much to our tourist economy and taking the time to visit our country.

What are the highlights of your role so far?
When out on a volunteer shift with fellow volunteer Maeve, I met a lovely couple outside James’s Street Church. The lady is from Northern Ireland but works in Trinity College as a lecturer and her lovely guide dog was with her. Her gentleman companion was from England and new enough to the history of the area. I discovered that she had recently been on a private walking tour with the well-known historian Pat Liddy and that Pat had told her a lot about The Liberties area. She was so interested in the history of her native area (Armagh) as well as Dublin and the gentleman we spoke to was also really interested in the history of railways, like I am. It was a great conversation and I was so happy to meet two lovely people with similar passions for history who fired up my imagination, if even for a brief time.

PLEASE NOTE: This article was originally published on We have republished it with their very kind permission. You can view the original article here.

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