Skibbereen harks back to 1800s in celebration of O’Donovan Rossa

Posted on: 6th July, 2015

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: President Michael D. Higgins, pictured at the official opening of UILLINN West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen

Skibbereen will be transformed into a 19th Century town on July 24, as part of a host of local events that will celebrate the life of Irish Patriot Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

The event will begin at 7pm, and to truly create the 1800s aesthetic and atmosphere, a torchlit parade will take place, with all participants to be dressed in 1800s attire. The parade will march from The Heritage Centre to The Maid of Eireann, and back to the Bridge. Local businesses will display photos and artefacts from the period; the staff of each business will also dress in 19th Century costume. The streets will be closed off to any traffic with the exception of ponies and traps.

The event will host pop-up history talks, pipe bands, and children’s games of the time, to all participants and spectators.

Jeremiah O’ Donovan Rossa was a local man to West Cork, and is noted as a remarkable Irish patriot and Fenian. In March 1863, O’Donovan Rossa organised a march through Skibbereen town in support of the Polish uprising against Russia. The Polish ambassador will be present at the event, as well as representatives of the Irish government. This year also marks the centenary of O’Donovan Rossa’s death.

This special event will also mark the opening of this year’s Skibbereen Arts Festival, which runs from July 24 to August 2. The popular festival will offer a variety of music, theatre, film, and kids events and activities, including:  Rock n’ Roll Camp for kids, Kayak by Starlight, 4 Plays in a Day, James Yorkston and Alasdair Roberts performing at the Abbeystrewry, and much more.

President Michael D. Higgins recently visited Skibbereen town to unveil the O’Donovan Rossa Memorial Garden. The event was seen as a huge success. The President also attended various other events that celebrated the patriot’s life and the remarkable efforts he made to society.

See or facebook/ SkibbereenArts for more information on events and listings.


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