Cobh relives its colourful past
|Clockwise from top left: Jack Doyle, Queen Victoria, Jack and the ladies, Jack, Fr Matthew and James Connolly, Jack again, HRH, Claire Cullinane addresses the crowd. Click on image to enlarge.|
I spent a few very enjoyable hours in Cobh today, the occasion being the town's first Food and Heritage Day. Organiser Claire Cullinane introduced the visiting Queen Victoria who told us tales of her trip to Cobh and Cork City.
She was not amused to see that one newspaper reported that she had pissed over Patrick’s Bridge. Aside from that mis-print, HRH was very happy with her welcome, so much so that she not alone extended the title of the city’s Mayor to Lord Mayor but also knighted him. Arise Sir William Lyons (no relation!).
A team of professional actors or animators had been assembled for the day. James Connolly got a hostile reception and had to run for cover as the stones belted down while Fr Matthew also visited but without any long-lasting success.
Local man Luke Barry helped put this show on the road and indeed turned in a terrific performance (on the steps of the Commodore Hotel) as Jack Doyle, the Gorgeous Gael himself.
Doyle recorded his ups and downs, including being saved from a final ignominy when the O'Shea family (owners of the hotel behind him) paid to have his body brought back to Cobh for burial.
In between, we managed to have a nice lunch at Jacob’s Ladder but had to skip the final act which saw Margaret Rice recall the fatal voyage of herself and her five children on the Titanic. This drama was played out in the busy Heritage Centre.
Claire Cullinane was enthusiastic about the event and told me the plan is to have a series of them in the town next summer. We wish her and the team all the best.