Cobh bracing itself for the return of 'Australia Day'

Cobh bracing itself for the return of 'Australia Day'
The Sea Princess berthed in Cobh for the annual 'Australia Day' celebrations. The vessel returns to Cork Harbour on Thursday, July 11. Picture: David Keane.

Cobh is bracing itself for the arrival of some 1,500 Australians ahead of the town's annual 'Australia Day' celebrations.

The cruise ship, the Sea Princess will be making a pitstop in Cork Harbour on July 11 as part of its 107-day round-the-world cruise.

Cobh, which was recently named one of the 25 most beautiful towns in Europe by Conde Nast, will be just one of the 36 ports it visits on the 59,000km journey. The event will be marked with festivities and christened ‘Australia Day in Cobh.’ It will include festivities to mark the special occasion including Irish dancing, market stalls and a performance from trad band Gaelic Brew on the bandstand.

Passengers will later be treated to a musical farewell from Cobh Confraternity Band.

Australian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Richard Andrews be on hand to greet Australian tourists and will be treated to a guided tour of St Colman’s Cathedral.

Cobh Tourism Chairperson, Jack Walsh spoke of his excitement around the event.

“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,”  he said.

The “Blessing of the Bonnets” ceremony will take place in Cobh Heritage Centre at 6pm to honour all the convict women and children transported to Australia,  The ‘Roses from the Heart’ memorial dedicated to the 25,566 convict women transported to Australia from Ireland and Britain from 1788 to 1853 was conceived by Tasmanian Conceptual artist Christina “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.

The Port of Cork has been striving in recent years to promote Cobh as a cruise destination and area to visit.

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