On Saturday August 27th, Cork City played host to Cork Heritage Open Day, a unique event organised by Cork City Council where 38 buildings, not usually open to the public, open their doors free of charge for one day only. 34 individual events catering for children & adults alike were also held on the day, again free of charge.
Medieval Re-enactment at Bishop Lucey Park
Martin McAree, Legion Ireland, demonstrating a beheading during Medieval Re-enactment at Bishop Lucey Park
The centre of Cork was a hive of activity with Bishop Lucey Park hosting Medieval Re-enactments and displays of weaponry. A Viking flash mob was held at the National Monument, Grand Parade, where the public donned their Viking helmets and danced for 3 minutes, much to the delight of the passersby.
Bray leading Viking Flashmob on Grand Parade
Viking Flashmob on Grand Parade
Viking Flashmob on Grand Parade
Active Pulse performed “Stories by the Lee: Growing Up in Cork (1950’s to the 1970’s) in the Cork Central Library and Gael Taca gave a talk on placenames and proverbs. Cork song, music, poetry and literature were celebrated in the inaugural Cork Coal Quay Festival, while historian Gerry White gave a lecture on tales of sacrifice and courage during WW1 by Cork’s Victoria Crosses.
Joan Goggin, Active Pulse telling stories in the Cork Central Library
The walking tours were again very popular this year and included Liam O’ hUigin’s historical walking tour around the old walls of Cork City; Tom Spalding’s walking tour on Cork’s 20th Century Architecture; while the Blackpool Historical Photographic Society displayed a photographic exhibition of local schools. Cork Central Library mounted a unique exhibition capturing Ireland through the lens of Colman Doyle, while a display of the history of scouting from 1910 took place in the 37th Scout Hall in Togher.
Venues such as the UCC Boole Library, the Cork Circuit Courthouse, the South Presentation Convent, Triskel Christchurch, Crawford Art Gallery, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, and the Lewis Glucksman Gallery offered free guided tours of their premises. A guided tour also took place in Blackrock Castle Telescope Tower and Dungeons and in the beautifully designed Fota House.
Tour of Cork Circuit Courthouse
Theatre lovers were thrilled with the unique behind the scenes tours of the Everyman Palace Theatre, and the Cork Opera House and a visit to the Cork Arts Theatre, while those interested in history really enjoyed the tour of Cork City Hall by Cllr Kieran McCarthy, where he discussed the architecture and history of the building and visited the Lord Mayor’s Chamber.
Sinead Dunphy giving a tour of the Cork Opera House
Also opening their doors were the Masonic Hall, which has been the home of Freemasonry in Cork since 1844, St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, the Old Deanery and Gardens, Princes Street (Unitarian) Church, which is the oldest documented surviving building in Cork, and the Pavilion, which was open to show its original use as a spectacular ornate single screen cinema.
Charles Olden in the Masonic Hall
Visitors to the Masonic Hall, Tuckey St
Members of the public enjoyed the magnificent views of Cork from the top of the Elizabeth Fort, from the Clarion Hotel Penthouse and from St Anne’s Church, Shandon. Those interested in Michael Collins were delighted with their visit to the Military Museum Collins Barracks and the Custom House Port of Cork and the Crawford Observatory in UCC was a great treat for those interested in architecture and astronomy.
There was a wide range of children’s events including a special Water Open Day in the Lifetime Lab with activities such as bubble making and launching water rockets, a Nature Hunt in Fitzgerald’s Park, where the Park Rangers distributed a handout to allow children and families to investigate the fascinating park wildlife themselves, a history and storytelling tour in the Crawford Art Gallery and a historical Treasure Hunt for children in various historic buildings around the city.
Eilish Ní Longaigh giving a tour in the Crawford Art Gallery
It was estimated that there were nearly 10,000 people participated in Cork Heritage Open Day 2011 and a great time was had by all.
Cork Heritage Open Day 2011 was launched by Lord Mayor Cllr. Terry Shannon on Monday 15th of August 2011 in the City Hall Council Chambers.
The Lord Mayor said that Heritage Open Day provided a unique opportunity to visit some of the city's most noted buildings. He noted that for the second year running, the Lord Mayor's office here in City Hall will be opened up and he is looking forward to informing those on the tour of the history of the office.
The 2011 programme included many exciting and fun heritage related events, from exhibitions to guided tours, children's events and lectures.
The event was organised by Cork City Council with support from the Heritage Council and media sponsorship from Cork's 96FM and the Evening Echo.
This event is an action from the Cork City Heritage Plan 2007 - 2012.
Emma Gosnell (Volunteer), Ciara Brett (City Archaeologist), Peter Gosnell and Mary Doyle (A/Heritage Officer)
Eamon Leonard, local historian & Nikki ffrench-Davis of Civic Trust House.
Pat Bradley, David Barry, Lord Mayor Cllr. Terry Shannon, Jim Goulding (St. Finbarr’s Scout Group) and Cllr. John Buttimer.
For your comments and suggestions on Cork Heritage Open Day please contact:
Cork City Council,
Tel: 021 4924757
Fax: 021 4924712