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Cathal flying high as Dublin Airport snaps up exhibition

May 19th, 2016 7:25 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Cathal's photo on display in Terminal 1 of Dublin Airport.

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YOUNG Cathal Tobin has become a major celebrity here and in Dublin thanks to a photo taken during the Redhead Convention in Crosshaven two years ago.

The photo of Cathal, wearing his Superman t-shirt, caught the imagination of the photographer Jorg Koster, who later included it in an exhibition of redheads which was displayed at Cork Airport.

Jorg’s exhibition was such a big hit that it has now been put on display in Dublin Airport, and Cathal’s photo has taken pride of place in the middle of the exhibition, which has been hung from the ceiling in Terminal 1.

Cathal, from Clonakilty, who goes to school in Lisavaird NS, has become something of a celebrity, with people often stopping him to ask him where they’ve seen him before, according to his dad, John.

At the opening of one of the exhibitions, he even heard the receptionist saying ‘It’s him! It’s him!’ as they approached, pointing at Cathal. 

‘When he was asked to pose for the photo by Jorg, two years ago in Crosshaven, we never realised it would end up this big. We were telling him to smile, but the photographer said ‘No, let him just be natural’ and it worked out perfectly. We gave €10 to charity, and that was it,’ recalls John. ‘I think he might have had some ketchup  on his Superman shirt, because he was eating chips just before that!’ he joked.

‘He’s like a celebrity now everywhere,’ said John, adding that when he had his hearing test at school recently, the nurse asked him where she had seen him before. When they went to the opening of the exhibition in Cork, Cathal was given VIP treatment, and picked up by the airport police and brought to meet the staff in the Airport Fire Department.

Cathal’s background with the Rathbarry Drama Group means he is not shy, and was cast as Nemo, the cute orange-coloured fish in a production of the Disney movie Finding Nemo. ‘He was perfect for it,’ said his dad.

John says Cathal gets his red hair from both sides of the family, and it has brought him great luck to date. Combined with his deep blue eyes, he’s a photographer’s dream.

‘He had a speech therapist when he was younger, who said to us: “Don’t ever worry about him – he will speak with those lovely blue eyes”,’ said John.

Photographer Jorg told The Southern Star: ‘I believe it has been a huge confidence boost for Cathal. If that was the only thing the exhibition did, then that’s enough for me, I am delighted.’

Joeleen Cronin, organiser of the Redhead Convention in Crosshaven, said she was thrilled to hear the Redhead Portrait Exhibition is the ‘first and last impression for the 35,000 people who pass through Dublin Airport each day this month’. 

Paul O’Kane of the Dublin Airport Authority told The Southern Star this week that the exhibition was generating a lot of talk with passengers and a lot of interest on social media.

‘Joleen Cronin contacted us to see whether we’d be interested in showing the exhibition in Dublin Airport, which we thought was a great idea,’ he said.  The exhibition will be on display until May 28th in the Mezzanine Level of Terminal 1. 

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