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One hundred years on, Ford is planning a big celebration for Cork


Bill Ford and Ciaran McMahon.

Bill Ford and Ciaran McMahon.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford


Bill Ford and Ciaran McMahon.

It was a major event not alone for Cork but for Ireland in general. Ford's factory, on the Marina in Cork, opened in April 1917.

It gave employment, prestige and hope until decades later, sadly, it had to close it doors.

But with the centenary of its establishment not far away at all, preparations are already being planned to celebrate the anniversary of its opening - and the boost it brought to the region.

During his recent visit here, Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor company and great-grandson of its founder, Henry Ford, discussed the initial plans.

He did so with current chairman and managing director of Ford Ireland, Ciarán McMahon.

As is widely known, Henry Ford's father, William, emigrated to America from Ballinascarthy, Co Cork, in 1847.

Henry, the man who was to build Ford, was born in Michigan in 1863.

He was to come back to Ireland, more specifically to Cork, to open the first purpose-built Ford factory outside the US.

He named it Henry Ford & Son Ltd - the company remains the only one in the world to carry the full name of its founder.

Ciaran McMahon, pictured on the right with Bill Ford during his recent visit, said it is rare for an Irish company to be able to celebrate 100 years in business.

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"There are few companies that were as important to Ireland, and more specifically, Cork, as Ford. For much of the first few decades of the independent Irish state, the Ford factory was the largest employer in the country and the first example of Foreign Direct Investment."

He expects the centenary to be "a key celebration" - which explains why they have begun planning 18 months in advance.