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Passage Celebrates Heritage Festival

Writes Leo McMahon

There’s an international flavour to the 2019 Passage West Maritime Heritage Festival this weekend, May 31st to June 2nd. Celebrating diversity and inclusion is the theme of an exciting programme of events at ‘the birthplace of Ireland’s steamship industry’.

The festival gets under way on Friday, May 31st, most appropriately from the new Passage West Maritime Museum with a historical walking tour of the town at 6.30pm led by Jim Murphy.  The cost, at only €5, also includes a tour of the museum plus tea or coffee with proceeds going to the museum.

 In conjunction with Cork Harbour Festival and the annual Ocean to City Race, Patrick Murphy Park, Toureen will be the venue for a big ‘ Picnic in the Park’ from 12.30 to 3.30pm on Saturday, June lst.

There will be music from St Mary’s Church Children’s Choir (conductor Mary Foley) and children’s games organized by Shane Deane and friends from Passage West Baptist Community, plus children’s art and storytelling in the nearby library.  The park is also the end point of the annual Harbour Pedal to Passage West starting from Lapp’s Quay at 10.15am and organized by Cork Cycling Campaign.  ‘Picnic in the Park’ is a lovely occasion for families to sit and view the race from Crosshaven to Cork.

Well worth visiting at the PACE Centre behind the Town Hall from noon to 3pm on Saturday is ‘Diversity on Display’ featuring art work from local schools and the community and more.

It’s a busy programme on Sunday, June 2ndstarting with the Seaman’s Memorial Mass in St Mary’s Church at 11am with celebrant Fr Sean O’Sullivan PP, followed by the Blessing of the Boats at 2.45pm at the pontoon.

The festival parade, which starts at 3.30, proceeds from Fr Collins Parish Centre (old Boys’ School) to Fr O’Flynn Park. Popular Maori singer, Robert Parrata, whom we’re told, is currently teaching Passage West Men’s Shed ‘The Haka’, is grand marshall. Thomas Kent Pipe Band will lead the way and many community and sporting groups will be marching in what promises to be a parade with a truly international flavour.

As stated previously, the emphasis for this year’s festival is on celebrating diversity and this will be well represented in music, food and dance on Sunday with multi-national group Citadel, a traditional Indian dance group Aatma as well as the Marina Melodics Choir. Attridge Academy of Irish Dance, the recently formed Men’s Shed Choir, the children’s choir and other local talent will also combine for a grand finale and closing of the festival.

 Leading up to the festival, there have been four intercultural dialogue workshops focusing on food, music, storytelling, faith and beliefs aimed at bringing people, especially newcomers, together in a locality that has 29 different nationalities. There’s also a new festival logo featuring an anchor and other positive activities about social inclusion etc with schools and others.

Great credit is also due to the other members of the 9th Passage West Maritime Heritage Festival, Jim andAngela Murphy and Walty Murphy, Nadia Moussed and Karen O’Mahony who thanked local sponsors, Cork County Council’s Library service, businesses and organisations for their support.

Cork Harbour Festival

Meanwhile, Cork Harbour Festival takes place from June 1st to 9th with over 70 events in 15 locations, the centerpiece of which is the Ocean to City rowing and paddle race run by Meitheal Mara with commentary, starting from Crosshaven at 10.30am and viewing points along the shore at Cobh, Monkstown and Passage West.

Happening also on land and water over the nine days are Camden Fort Meagher Family Weekend, Spike Island Tours, a Johnny Cash Tribute Concert on Spike, ‘3 for the Sea’ Community Beach Day at Fountainstown, Try Sailing and Open Day at Royal Cork Yacht Club, a Harbour Boat Tour with Ocean Escapes and Open Boat Cruising with the Drascombe Association.

Rib and kayak trips, scuba diving, currach rowing, power-boating, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, crab fishing, walking, orienteering, model boats, exhibitions, art and marine workshops, drumming, lectures and sea shanties plus Cobh Seafood Fest and SeaFest at the Port of Cork will all also be showcased. Details at and in free booklet.

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