Eurovision winner Linda Martin has said her new Dublin dog shelter will be ready just in time to be officially opened by acting legend Ian McKellen.
The Lord of the Rings star is opening the new shelter in Fingal next Friday – and is bringing another well-known personality with him.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Martin described how she landed the actor for the opening.
“Ian McKellen is very best friends with Bjorn from Abba,” she said.
“So, when I asked if he would do this for me through a friend I just said, by the way, I’m another Eurovision winner.
“It turns out he just loves Eurovision etc. etc. and the conversation went on and then I got the message through to him what I was doing.”
She said McKellen is currently touring his ‘Mother Goose’ pantomime with comedian John Bishop and will be in Ireland next week.
“It is on the Friday and he just has an evening performance, there’s no matinee that day so he really couldn’t give me an excuse to say no,” she said.
“He didn’t want to anyway because he loves dogs.”
She said she is now getting two stars for the price of one.
“Then he says, John Bishop’s wife runs an animal sanctuary in England and he says, could he come along too?” she said.
“So, I mean, what are you going to say to John Bishop? No, I don’t want you? Of course, Jesus, of course.”
Martin said there will be a host of other well-known faces at the opening including the likes of Louis Walsh and Rory Cowan.
She said she hopes the new shelter will offer refuge to the stray dogs of Dublin.
“It’s just somewhere where animals can be looked after, rehabilitated if possible and then adopted out to new homes,” she said.
She told Shane what inspired her to open the shelter.
“I’m involved in animal welfare pretty much all my life,” she said. “I just adore animals.
“The fact that we didn’t have a city centre dog shelter anymore … two years ago, I just decided to put my money where my mouth was.
“I was given a piece of land and then I applied for planning permission, which took basically two years to get that all paid up and sorted.
“We started putting the building up in November - not a great month to put any sort of a building on a site - but we started in November and we’re just about finished.
She said the building will be finished just in time for next week’s grand opening.
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