Cork's County Mayor: Thank you for rising to the challenge of another tough year

Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, shares her Christmas message with readers at the end of what has been another difficult year for so many, as we continue to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic
Cork's County Mayor: Thank you for rising to the challenge of another tough year

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan.

AS we approach the end of another exceptionally challenging year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Cork county for adapting, rising to the challenge, and for continuing to support our local businesses and producers.

We are celebrating A Real Cork Christmas and I am encouraging everyone to explore the magic that is on our doorstep. There has been a most wonderful atmosphere in our towns and villages in the run up to Christmas which will continue into the New Year.

Take a walk down your local street. The Christmas lights are twinkling brightly across the county, erected in many cases by dedicated volunteers and proudly assisted by Cork County Council.

Students from eight secondary schools have also worked with local artists to create beautiful and unique light displays for the windows of their local libraries.

There is still time to soak up the festive atmosphere, enjoy a hot chocolate and find a last minute unique gift.

Christmas is a time for families and friends, for creating memories. You can do all that close to home in our beautiful county. The Cork Co Co Pops Christmas special is well underway with a series of live indoor and outdoor performances taking place at 40 venues. It follows on from the successful summer series which saw 120 outdoor concerts in parks, cafes, markets and beaches. The events were hosted by Cork County Council as part of efforts to support performers and bring live events to communities.

Wrap up warm and explore some of the trails and walkways nearby. Over the past two years, outdoor activities like walking, hiking, swimming and horse riding have become a bigger part of all our lives.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan with Liz Maddox, vice-chairperson of the Older Peoples Council   At the launch of the print edition of ‘’Memories of a Real Cork Christmas’’. Pic: Brian Lougheed 
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan with Liz Maddox, vice-chairperson of the Older Peoples Council   At the launch of the print edition of ‘’Memories of a Real Cork Christmas’’. Pic: Brian Lougheed 

The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on the year that has gone by and look ahead to the future with renewed hope. I was elected Mayor of the County of Cork on the 25th of June, 2021 which was a huge honour for my family and I. Since then, I have been continually inspired by the communities, businesses and individuals who are working to improve all our lives.

There were many challenges but there was much to be positive about too. 

I was delighted to attend the official opening of the People’s Park in Haulbowline in July, alongside An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Defence Simon Coveney and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath. It was the largest project of its kind in Ireland and transformed a former steelworks site into a scenic 22-acre amenity in the middle of Cork Harbour.

In August, the Irish rowing team was given a heroes’ welcome by Cork County Council and Rowing Ireland after a historic performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. A record six crews qualified for the event which saw Ireland secure both bronze and gold medals. It was a real privilege to welcome the entire team to the Kinetica National Rowing Centre in Farran Wood.

A poignant tribute was held at Ringfinnan Garden of Remembrance in Kinsale to mark the 20th anniversary of September 11. Kinsale native Kathleen Murphy created the garden, planting 343 trees, each one bearing the name of a member of New York City Fire Department who gave their lives in the pursuit of saving others. It was an honour to lay a wreath accompanied by members of the Cork County Fire Service.

Also in September, the county’s first safe cycling hub for primary schools was launched. The pilot aims to help children stay safe while cycling in their communities and initially involves two schools in Mitchelstown. October saw the new and highly anticipated children’s playground opened at Mallow Castle.

A virtual reality initiative, developed by Cork County Council, which simulates what it is like to be a passenger in a fatal crash won a major European award in November.

The Council’s virtual reality ‘Your Life - Your Choice’ education programme received gold at the Excellence in Road Safety Awards 2021 in Brussels.

And in December, Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Service added three new mobile libraries to its fleet serving book lovers across the county.

The Decade of Commemorations Programme continued throughout 2021.

A new trail was opened to the public to celebrate the life of Michael Collins, ahead of the centenary of his death in 2022. A podcast featuring the letters passed between Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan was created, murals were unveiled and significant ambushes were remembered.

It was wonderful to be able to visit a small number of schools and spend time with communities across the entire County of Cork. I am excited to see what 2022 will bring and will endeavour to do my very best to represent the people of County Cork.

Finally, I would like to wish everyone a very peaceful and safe Christmas and all the very best for 2022.

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