Members of the public and former employees of Verolme Cork Dockyard in Rushbrooke, Cobh and their families are being invited to take a trip down memory lane and to remember the glory days of shipbuilding in Cork on 24th and 25th August 2013. Verolme Cork Dockyard employed over 1200 at its peak and closed in 1984, although ship repair is still carried out on the site. Cobh Tourism Ltd and a small committee have been planning this Gathering Ireland 2013 event for several months and have put together a comprehensive programme of events.
An opening ceremony will be held on Saturday 24th August at 11 am in the Promenade in Cobh followed by a series of shipping related lectures in the Commodore Hotel from 1 pm to 6 pm. The lectures will be on the Irish Naval Service by Cmdr. Steve Walsh, Irish Shipping Ltd – The First Fifteen Ships by the Rosslare Maritime Enthusiasts, Launching of a Ship by John Brennan, Heavy Lifting Platforms by Capt. Pat Murphy, Port of Cork and the History of Port of Cork by Capt. Pat Farnan. From immediately after the lectures on Saturday there will be an informal social evening in the Commodore Hotel, commencing with a performance by local sea shanty group Molgoggers.
Also on Saturday there will be free tours of the VCD built Naval Patrol Vessel LE Aoife from 2 until 5 pm at the deepwater quay.
A photographic exhibition of close to 200 photographs covering all aspects of the development of the yard, the ships built and repaired, the many other projects completed and the people working there will be staged at Cobh Heritage Centre. This exhibition is generously sponsored by the Port of Cork and will run until 15th September. Admission is free. Former dockyard workers and their families are invited to the official opening by Capt. Michael McCarthy on Thursday 22nd August at 6 pm.
On Sunday morning at 10 am there will be a remembrance mass in St. Colman’s Cathedral and the baptismal font that was made by dockyard workers in 1970 and recently refurbished by former dockyard workers will be rededicated.
The unveiling of a Memorial at Cork Dockyard to all those who worked in the yard will take place at 11.45 am and this is open to everyone. From 12.15 until 4 pm there will be ongoing free guided tours of the yard and this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for former workers and their families to take a trip down memory lane.
As parking in the vicinity of the yard is limited, people are encouraged to take the train to Rushbrooke from either Cobh or Cork as so many employees did in the past. On Sunday trains from Cobh leave at 11.30, 12.30, 13.30, 15.00, 16.30, 17.30 and 18.30. Trains from Kent station, Cork depart at 11.00, 12.00, 13.00 and 14.30.
The cruise liner Balmoral will be berthed in Cobh from lunchtime on Sunday, adding another family friendly activity to a town that is packed with things to see and do.
Programme of events
Tour guides photo courtesy Johnny B Photography showing Paddy O’Keeffe, Donal Dilworth, John Brennan, Vincent McMahon, Johnny Dorrity