IT’S been a year like no other, but some things will never change...
The first sign of Christmas hit the shops of Cork today, as the 2020 Holly Bough went on sale.
For 123 years, the publication has been a key part of Leeside Yuletides, and this year’s edition will be welcomed more than ever after a year dominated by Covid-19.
The artist behind the wonderful cover design is Jason O’Gorman, who runs Dynamite Studio, and is best known for his works depicting the likes of Tiger King, The Joker and Bruce Lee roaming Cork city.
For the Holly Bough, Jason showed Santa and his sleigh zooming around the famous goldie fish atop St Anne’s Church, Shandon, with the city as the backdrop. “Cork is the centre of the universe and I like to celebrate that (established) fact, and explore it though my illustrations,” said Jason
“Drawing fun images of Cork is my hobby, so being asked to illustrate the cover of such an iconic Cork publication that’s been in our house every Christmas since I was a kid — well, that’s just unbelievable. I was thrilled — and terrified!”
“The sun was splitting stones in May, and I was sitting in my garden thinking about Christmas ideas!”
Jason hit on a theme that runs throughout this year’s edition — one of keeping spirits up, and celebrating Cork and the festive season, no matter what type of Christmas is in store.
I hope I’ve done the cover justice, but more importantly — I hope I’ve captured the spirit of Cork and lifted people’s spirits for Christmas, 2020.”
The Holly Bough has 164 jam-packed pages for your festive enjoyment, full of fascinating stories and photos depicting Cork in times past, many with a festive flavour: prepare to be gripped, moved, surprised, and entertained!
Find out about the Cork cop who saved Al Capone’s life.
Read about the time a cavalry charged down Patrick Street, sabres drawn... in a row about sewing machines!
A Cork boy who once stole the show on the late Gay Byrne’s Toy Show relives his experience.
There are contributions from broadcasters John Creedon and George Hook, authors Kevin Barry and Alice Taylor, panto legend Catherine Mahon Buckley, and politicians Máirín Quill and Micheál Martin — who took time out of his hectic schedule to write a personal message.
“Little did I realise as a child reading the Holly Bough many years ago that I would one day write an article for it as Taoiseach,” says Mr Martin. “That is an immense honour of which I am deeply conscious.
“This Christmas will be different but no less special.
“We are a resilient people. We will emerge from this pandemic and grow even stronger again.”
Of course, all the Holly Bough favourites are there — the Diffney Quiz, the Photo Gallery, the prize crossword...
There is a bumper sports section, including a centenary tribute to Christy Ring, a host of Christmas dinner tips from Cork foodies, and a kids’ section, including a colouring competition where kids can design their own version of Jason’s cover.
The Holly Bough is in shops now and available to buy at hollybough.ie