Celebrating good times: A look back at some of Cork's finest hours

Celebrating good times: A look back at some of Cork's finest hours

Anthony Crowley, Dillons Cross, giving an exhibition of break dancing to the children of the Lower Road during the Cork 800 Pageant at Grattan Hill, St Lukes. 

On the streets of Cork, Leesiders are adapting to a new society, where a once-bustling city has temporarily been put on pause. 

However, as one powerful video released earlier this week highlighted, brighter days are to come.

The black and white video, created by RMPR Agency, a marketing company based in the city centre, shows drone footage of deserted streets, closed businesses and children kissing their grandparents through a pane of glass. 

Featuring Cork hurler, Patrick Horgan, the video instils a message of hope, that brighter day will come, quoting Martin Luther King Jr - "We may all have come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now". 

Steeplejack Angela Collins O'Mahony at the Cork 800 Great Race Lee Fields Cork June 16, 1985.
Steeplejack Angela Collins O'Mahony at the Cork 800 Great Race Lee Fields Cork June 16, 1985.

Indeed, Cork will thrive again and the city will see the kinds of celebrations we have enjoyed on so many occasions in the past.

Trawling through The Echo archives revealed a plethora of jubilant images from decades gone by.

The Awakening Ceremony and fireworks at the official opening of Cork Capital of Culture 2005. Picture: Maurice O'Mahony
The Awakening Ceremony and fireworks at the official opening of Cork Capital of Culture 2005. Picture: Maurice O'Mahony

In 1985, Cork celebrated its 800th birthday as a chartered city having been granted a charter by Prince John in 1185.

A number of celebratory events took place across the city that year. 

Dr Patrick Hillery, the sixth President of Ireland, was in Cork on New Year's Day to unveil a memorial stone along with the Lord Mayor, Liam Burke, outside Cork City Hall to mark the city's 800th birthday. 

At the Patrick's Day Parade in March, the event was noted as one of the best the city had ever seen, with the Air Corps honouring the city with a flypast.

In the summer of 1985, celebrations continued with unique and wonderful events.

Crowds of people turned up to watch The Lord Mayor of Cork, Ald. Liam Burke, TD, with the President, Dr Patrick Hillery unveiling a memorial stone to celebrate Cork 800.
Crowds of people turned up to watch The Lord Mayor of Cork, Ald. Liam Burke, TD, with the President, Dr Patrick Hillery unveiling a memorial stone to celebrate Cork 800.

Ireland's first and only female steeplejack, Angela Collins O'Mahony, was invited to climb County Hall, which she later described as a highlight of her career.

Another big celebration for the city came in 1999 on the eve of the turn of the century.

Back then, the world was concerned with a very different kind of bug, the Y2K bug - a problem in the coding of computerized systems that was projected to wreak havoc. 

The 2005 Cork City of Culture flag displayed across the City Hall at the launch of the 2005 Cork City of Culture. Pic: Gavin Browne
The 2005 Cork City of Culture flag displayed across the City Hall at the launch of the 2005 Cork City of Culture. Pic: Gavin Browne

In the US, President Bill Clinton called for a unified approach to take preventative action ahead of January 1, 2000.

"We need every state and local government, every business, large and small, to work with us to make sure that [the] Y2K computer bug will be remembered as the last headache of the 20th century, not the first crisis of the 21st," he stated.

Despite global fears, the turn of the century came without catastrophe.

In Cork, the city's millennium celebrations began at sunset on December 31 when thousands of Corkonians lined the banks of the Lee illuminating the river with torches. 

Karen Lehane at the Cork Millenium Celebrations Picture: Des Barry
Karen Lehane at the Cork Millenium Celebrations Picture: Des Barry

Firework displays across the city and county heralded the start of a new century and celebration was ubiquitous. 

Five years later, the city was a hub of major celebration, when it became the European Capital of Culture and 

showcased its cultural and artistic life to a national and international audience.

Fireworks over the Shannon at Ballina and Killaloe during the Brian Boru Millenium celebrations Picture: Charlie McGeever
Fireworks over the Shannon at Ballina and Killaloe during the Brian Boru Millenium celebrations Picture: Charlie McGeever

Over one million people descended into the city throughout the year to see Cork in one of it's finest hours. 

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