Irish Eyes Are Smiling in Dyess

DYESS (KAIT) - If you think being invaded by tourists is historical then history was made in Dyess today as over a hundred Irish tourists invaded the small town in search of Johnny Cash's, roots.

Rose Marie Gallagher, "I think it's great. I'm a big Johnny Cash fan and it's nice to come see where he began, his humble beginnings ,nice to see where he started from."

Dyess Mayor Larry Sims and county officials were on hand to greet the group as they rolled into town

Sims, "Well this was the first tour bus here and we had 2 at one time, a little over 110 people visit Dyess at one time and that's a fifth of our population just to visit here."

A little historical background, group pictures on the steps of the government building and it was back on the buses to Cash's boyhood home.

Anne Callanan "I thought it was in a very poor area but in a nice area too. When we went to the house today it was lovely too see the house itself."

Not every tour group has their own singing star along for the ride. Robert Mizzell of the Irish group the Country Kings helped organize and lead the tour.

Mizzell, "This is a rough beginning for a legend and I think it makes the legend more appropriate when you look at where he came from."

All in all it was a good day to be Irish in Dyess, snagging a shirt or a cookbook, photo opportunities everywhere and how did the mayor rate the first big tour.

Sims, "It was a thrill, we didn't know what to expect. Now we have a little more idea what to expect, how things work, what they expect, what we expect from them."

The group will be in Memphis for a couple of days and in the U.S.  for about 10.