Gareth Huw Davies

Travel / Travel Blog

How Danny Boy struck a late night Olympic chord in Turkey

One of my most magical musical moments was at, of all places, Dalaman Airport in Turkey at around 11 pm on the night of Friday, 27 July 2012 – (clue – 2100 BST, UK). 

Our flight was about to be called, but we were suddenly aware of the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard in an airport, a choir singing somewhere on the top floor of the huge, open airport. It was a fine rendition of Danny Boy, and we assumed it was coming from a group of exuberant Irish choristers awaiting their flight home. Then it struck. It was the opening ceremony of the Olympics; they had turned the TV on in the bar upstairs. 

Every last passenger got the message and we all raced upstairs. The youth choir on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland was giving way to a choir on Rhossili Beach in Wales singing Bread of Heaven, followed by Jerusalem and Flower of Scotland. This was the opening call from the four nations before the main ceremony in the Olympic Stadium.

Then, wonderful news (something I never thought I would say) the departure board flashed up a 90 minute delay to our flight. We sat there glued to something “brilliant, breathtaking, bonkers and utterly British”. Unforgettable.