Above: Charles R. Cullinane with his wife Aida.
Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce and An Súgan jointly hosted a special evening on October 13 to thank the volunteers of Clonakilty Tidy Towns and Dúchas for their contribution to the town over the last year. This was also an opportunity to present an award to Charles R. Cullinane to recognise his decades of leadership in developing tourism in the area.
Chamber Co-Chairs Noel Lawlor and Sinead O’Crowley welcomed all the volunteers before Noel explained why they had organised the event. “We wanted to recognise the trojan work of both the Tidy Towns, who have again achieved a Gold Medal in national competition and Dúchas who, under the stewardship of John Lochnane, organised a series of hugely successful historical walks in the summer months. The efforts of these organisations have embellished the town and it is Chamber members that gain the most from them.”
Mayor Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin commented that all the volunteers, “give selflessly with no personal benefit. They love where they live and want to make it better. Whether they have been here for generations or just a few years, their contribution is welcomed by all.”
Speaking about the recent success of Clonakilty Tidy Towns Chair Catherine O’Connor said that, “results from this year’s competition reflect the hard work that everybody put in, from my own team to John Brown and his team in FAS to Seamus Daly and his council workers. This year we were just three points behind the overall winner Letterkenny, despite the disruption of the roadworks. When those are completed we are in a very strong position to challenge one of the main awards next year.”
John Lochnane, Chair of Dúchas, introduced the award to Charles R. Cullinane or “Mr. Tourism” by outlining Charles’ lifetime of leadership and contribution to Clonakilty. “Amongst numerous other acheivements Charles was the first Chairman of Clonakilty Enterprise Board and led from the front when it came to realising the concept of the Model Village. He was so well regarded everywhere that he could pull the right people together; as a member of Cork & Kerry Tourism he was our inside man and could make things happen. That he was elected to the urban/town council every year from 1959-1994 and was Mayor five times is no mean achievement.”
“Today Charles continues to contribute his wisdom to the many committees and boards that he is a member of. This award is not out of nostalgia but out of recognition from the various organisations that benefit every day from Charles’ experience.”
In accepting the award Charles said that he was astounded at what had been said about him but also grateful. “This is an honour I will have for the rest of my life. I did what I did out of good faith and I’m extremely proud to still be living here. I have many stories from my time on the council but that is for my next book!”