A GRANNY with a flair for design was the toast of a port town yesterday as the wind filled the sails of the Clipper Round the World race celebrations.
Maria Kelleher, 87, who lives in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, was the guest of honour in Kinsale after she won an Irish Examiner competition to design the logo emblazoned on the main sail and hull of 68-foot Cork Clipper racing yacht.
Her red and green design features entwined shamrocks around the words “Cork” and “Fáilte Ireland”.
“It took me 10 minutes to design,” a proud Maria said yesterday.
The Cobh-born granny said it was inspired by her childhood days watching yachts sail in Cork Harbour.
She was joined in Kinsale by her three children, Michael, Liam, Sarah, and her 11 grandchildren.
They were treated to a banquet lunch in the Trident Hotel before the grandchildren aged over 18 experienced the thrill of sailing around Kinsale harbour on board the Cork Clipper.
Maria said her grandchildren have been following the Clipper fleet’s progress around the world on the internet and were delighted to finally meet Cork Clipper skipper Hannah Jenner yesterday.
Maria gave her a horseshoe and leprechaun for luck for the last leg of the voyage.
“We had a lovely day. The staff were so friendly. They made it a great day for us,” Maria said.
An estimated 45,000 people visited Kinsale over the weekend to view the impressive fleet and enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
And as the fleet prepares to leave in a parade of sail for Cork city tomorrow, work on the construction of a Clipper Race Village on the city’s Albert Quay is underway where an estimated 100,000 people are expected to visit, boosting the local economy by up to €10 million.
The fleet will depart Kinsale at 11am to arrive at the Port of Cork Marina at 5pm where the crews will be welcomed by Lord Mayor Mick O’Connell.
The race village will open at 10am tomorrow and host a range of food stalls and free street entertainment between 10am and 10.30pm every day until Friday.
John Spillane will perform on the main stage at 9pm, with Fred on Thursday night, and Crystal Swing and The Walls on Friday night.
The Clipper Race was founded by sailing legend Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the globe.
Cork is hosting for the penultimate leg of the global maritime challenge.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved