Category: Archive

Round-the-world teen idols

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Ireland’s new teen idols — four children of the late TD Hugh Coveney — arrive back in Cork next weekend after their round-the-world charity sail to raise money for victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The four are young, tanned, single, good looking and have become pinups for thousands of children throughout the world who have been following their 18-month voyage on an internet webpage.

Up to 200,000 Irish school children, more than 60,000 in America and 18,000 in Britain have been regularly visiting the webpage.

It has been getting 1,200 visits or "hits" a day — more than Boyzone and the second highest number for any Irish Internet site.

Skipper Rory, 24, speaking to the Irish Echo by satellite phone from their yacht, said they were astonished by the number of computer e-mails messages they were getting.

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"We are getting a lot of messages from kids aged between 8 and 18 and we have been hearing these rumors about becoming sex symbols, but it’s hard to believe.

"We may be becoming sex symbols, but Boyzone have nothing to worry about — the four of us are appalling singers."

Project manager Mimi Doran has been organizing fund-raising and the webpage in Dublin.

"All of them are very handsome and it is amazing how the children have related to them," she said. "We even get e-mails about kids starting to eat fish because the Coveneys are."

So far, the voyage has helped raise more than £350,000 and a final push is planned to bring the total to £500,000, according to Simon Coveney, who won the by-election to succeed his father.

The former marine and defense minister fell to his death from a cliff while out walking his dogs near his home in March 1998.

Simon had been on the 26,000-mile sail with his brothers and sister when the tragedy happened. When they all flew home for the funeral he decided to stay and stand for the Cork south-central seat.

Rory and the remaining children, twins Andrew and Tony, who celebrated their 21st birthday at sea and Rebecca, 20, left Bayonna in Spain on the last leg of their journey to Crosshaven, where they will be escorted in by the Navy and a flotilla of yachts.

Donations to Sail Chernobyl can be lodged to a/c no 11100050 at AIB, South Mall, Cork.

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