Saturday 10 December 2016

Skibbereen goes back to the future for O'Donovan Rossa centenary display

Published 27/07/2015 | 02:30

Declan Mc Carthy as O'Donovan Rossa pictured in Skibbereen, west Cork at the torch parade celebrating the life of Irish patriot Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, a native of the town.
Declan Mc Carthy as O'Donovan Rossa pictured in Skibbereen, west Cork at the torch parade celebrating the life of Irish patriot Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, a native of the town.

Glowing pitchforks emblazoned with flaming turf greeted the people of Skibbereen.

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The Cork town's Main Street was caught in a time warp on Saturday as it stepped back to 1863 in honour of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.

A local GAA side paraded through the town with 40 members of Cork's Polish Association.

The torch-lit parade was held to mark the centenary of the death of Irish patriot O'Donovan Rossa in his native town.

More than 150 years ago, he organised a similar march through the town to show solidarity with a Polish uprising against Russian occupiers.

UCC Historian Declan McCarthy took up the role of O'Donovan Rossa, while 600 locals fulfilled roles of those who inhabited the town in the 19th century.

The parade also marked the opening of the Skibbereen Arts Festival, which runs until August 2.

Horse-drawn carts took to the bustling streets as ladies turned out in the fashions of the time. The townsmen were adorned with top hats.

A sickle-wielding priest waved his blade high above his head while the Polish community also turned out in traditional dress.

Children enjoyed Punch and Judy shows, market sellers plied their wares, and the music of bands from west Cork filled the air as darkness descended.

Irish Independent

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