Free events and entertainment for Australia Day in Cobh
~ 1500 Australians will arrive in Cobh this Friday, 7 July ~
~ Australian Ambassador Mr. Richard Andrews will visit Cobh to mark the occasion ~
500 Australians will arrive in Cobh early on Friday morning, 7 July, aboard the cruise ship Sea Princess to a true Irish ‘Australia Day’ welcome.
The stop is part of a 105 night around the world cruise from Sydney to Sydney. Cobh will be the 17th and only Irish port on their voyage that will visit 37 ports, transit both the Suez and Panama canals, and travel an incredible 63,000km.
As has been the case since 2009, Cobh Tourism will roll out the red carpet and has christened the day’s festivities ‘Australia Day’ in Cobh, making it one of the passenger’s favourite destinations because of the welcome they receive.
On Friday, Cobh’s Festival atmosphere will include nonstop free entertainment from 11am in the town’s waterfront Promenade. This will include traditional music and Irish Dancing, Market Stalls and a farewell musical knees up with Cobh Confraternity Band, and all are welcome to attend.
While many of the passengers will take half day excursions, many more will enjoy the wide variety of attractions that are just a stone’s throw away from the ship. “There are so many world class attractions in Cobh now that the ship should really be making an overnight call to make the most of all that there is to see and do,” commented Mark Ryan, chairman of Cobh Tourism.
Visitors can trace their ancestors at Cobh Heritage Center, take the ferry to ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz’ Spike Island, solve riddles and puzzles at Escapade Cobh, explore the history of the Titanic at the Titanic Experience, visit the famous St Colman’s Cathedral, play a round of golf, go sailing with Cork Harbour Boat Hire, explore Fota House and Fota Wildlife park, they could take a trip to the nearby Jameson Distillery, or simply enjoy the great ‘craic’ in Cobh’s pubs.
The Australian Ambassador Mr Richard Andrews will visit Cobh to mark the occasion of so many Australians visiting Ireland in one day. He will address a Business Breakfast in the Commodore Hotel and will then visit Spike Island from where many convicts were held captive before being transported to Australia. At 5pm he will attend a “Blessing of the Bonnets” ceremony in Cobh Heritage Centre to honour all convict women and children transported to Australia.
‘Roses from the Heart’ is a unique memorial to the 25,566 convict women transported to Australia from Ireland and Britain from 1788 to 1853. It was conceived by Tasmanian Conceptual artist Christina Henri and a beautiful bonnet has been made to remember almost all of these women and children. “These women and children were forgotten for decades,” said Christina. “Their lives and their circumstances today seem unimaginable. It’s hard to believe the fortitude, resilience and courage that saw so many of these women survive and contribute to the Australian Nation enjoyed by so many today. They deserve to be remembered with gratitude,” she continued.
A bonnet installation in Cobh Heritage Centre remembers the women and children aboard the Neva that sailed from Cork on 8th January 1835, destined for the prisons of Botany Bay.
There were 240 people on board, most of them either female convicts or the wives of already deported convicts and their children. On 13 May 1835 the ship hit a reef just north of King’s Island in Australia and sank with the loss of 224 lives – one of the worst shipwrecks in maritime history.
As the Sea Princess sails at 11 pm, Cobh Confraternity Band will perform their renowned sailaway recital on the Bandstand at 6.30 pm. Of the 1950 passengers on board, 79% are Australians and 17% are Kiwis. Their average age is 71 and 1300 of the passengers are doing the full Round the World voyage.