The Echo is bound up in the history of Cork

This month, The Echo has celebrated its 130th anniversary. Here are some of your tributes to the paper
The Echo is bound up in the history of Cork

Jack Lyons battling the elements in a snow-covered Model Farm Road. Picture: Denis Minehane

CONGRATULATIONS to editor Maurice Gubbins and all the crew who give us The Echo six days a week.

They get up early in the morning and work late into the night to produce a much- cherished cornerstone of Cork’s culture, synonymous with Shandon bells and the swans in the Lough. Current trends dictate that The Echo comes through our letterbox at 8am along with the gas bill.

A hundred and thirty years is a long time to be printing news for a readership in a small city like ours. Even today, as we live in a world of a constant overflow of news and information, it’s a pleasure and a reminder of how lucky we are to pass by the GPO on Oliver Plunkett Street and hear the clarion cry of the dulcet-toned Dave Hogan singing “Echo” to all and sundry.

From its original bastion in Academy Street to a short spell at Lapps Quay, and now its present home in Assumption Road - The Echo has remained loyal to its Cork readers.

I have always treasured a typical scenario of the Cork everyman who cycled out the gate of Ford/Dunlop in the driving rain. Head bent low over the handlebars of his bike, he bought his Echo at Albert Road before heading into the Sextant for a pint of Beamish. He then battled his way across town and pushed his bike up the hill to a warm fire on the Northside. Drenched to the skin (no modern day cycling gear back then!) he climbed out of his soaking clothes with the Echo intact. From the kitchen, his wife warmed up a plate of honeycomb tripe and as he warmed his tired bones by the fireside with the Echo on his lap, she inquired: “Anyone dead, Tom?”

When I cycled as a postman through the bitter winter winds on the Model Farm Road, the new tabloid-sized Echo kept me warm spread out under my vest.

The Echo has always been a faithful chronicler of the times, often surprising its readership with iconic images: who can ever forget the photo of the car that jumped the lights at Washington Street and mounted the steps of the Capitol cinema, encouraging local wits to comment on ‘Cork’s first ever drive-in movie’? Or photographer Brian Lougheed’s amazing shot of a line of swans waddling through traffic on Merchants Quay?

Many years ago, on a bright evening at teatime, I bumped into my father in Patrick Street. I hadn’t seen him in a while and as we leaned on the electrical box outside Woolworths, my classical violinist father, who had studied under Aloys Fleischmann, looked in dismay at my hair growing down over my ears. As he habitually carried the broadsheet Echo folded over under his arm, he began to pontificate on the aural benefits of listening to early morning Mahler. Unexpectedly, a woman laden down with shopping bags approached and, tapping my father on the shoulder, said: “Thanks be to God boy, you have wan Echo left, I’d be kilt at home if I forgot it...”

Jack Lyons, Cathedral Road, Cork

FOR 130 years, The Echo has been at the heart of the Cork community. It has seen and reported on the defining events that have shaped our city region and, in particular, that have shaped our business and commercial community.

On June 14, 1892, when the (Evening) Echo printed its first edition, Cork Chamber operated under the title of Cork Incorporated Chamber of Commerce and Shipping. A lot has changed in the intervening years, but the Echo has remained a staple of the community.

The team (past and present) at the Echo have been invaluable to Cork Chamber over the years. Reporting on our changing times.

On behalf of myself and the team at Cork Chamber, a heartfelt congratulations on this important milestone.

Ronan Murray, President, Cork Chamber

AS a former employee in despatch, it makes me proud that I was part of The Echo’s history for 11 and a half years. I miss the old building in Academy Street, and most of all everyone I worked with. Congrats on 130 years.

John Kenneally, via email

JUST a short note to say - firstly, thanks for including my article in The Echo on your 130th anniversary on June 14. It meant a lot to me to be part of this birthday celebration.

And the supplement is absolutely fabulous - what a special time-capsule to pop in the post to those away from home. Maybe I’m a dinosaur, but the mystery of a rolled up newspaper arriving in the post from home will never be replaced by a ‘http’ online link.

I lived abroad in the late ’70s/’80s - in fact, seven of my siblings lived in the USA and Canada at one point - so my mother used to bundle up newspapers to all of us in various parts of the North American continent. There was a special newspaper surface post rate and they’d arrive a few weeks late - but it was all news from home.

And in those days, before internet and Facebook, when TickTacks were mints - it was such a special day when the newspapers from home would arrive.

Put it this way, you didn’t need rain for a day to be designated a day for the high stool.

I’m massive fan of The Echo - and by association the Holly Bough - and the magic of the 130th anniversary supplement is that it captures the essence and the magic of those two my favourite periodicals.

Class A All the Way. Echo Abú.

Conal Creedon, Cork city

AS a former Echo Boy, I was delighted that, as Lord Mayor, the Echo broke the story that the Queen had accepted my invitation to visit Cork in May, 2011.

The visit was a wonderful success, and thanks to Maurice and the team whose coverage of it was carried all over the world

Well done.

Michael O’Connell, former Lord Mayor of Cork

THE Echo has two musical claims to fame. It carried the first ever coverage of Rory Gallagher in the world, and carried what I think was the first ever dance music column in an Irish paper (when a far-sighted Eoghan Dinan commissioned an enthusiastic young lad to write a column called Dancewise).

I’m guessing he’s near-sighted by now, and I’m definitely neither enthusiastic nor young any more!

Des O’Driscoll, Irish Examiner Arts / Culture Editor

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