Gathering a passport to the first ever Rebel Week

Nice wan, like — the People’s Republic of Cork is getting its own “rebel passport” to mark the Gathering.

And you can brandish it proudly while downing a pint of Murphys over a feed of tripe and drisheen on the first International Cork Day.

But while the returning “Leeaspora” will qualify for a passport by providing proof of international travel, Leesiders at home will have to earn theirs through a points system.

Both quirky initiatives — the passport proposed by Cllr Laura McGonigle and Cork Day pitched by Cllr Emmet O’Halloran — were among a series of official Gathering 2013 events announced for Cork yesterday.

Rebel Week, from Oct 14 to 20, organised by event management specialists, Corporate.ie, which organised the US colleges football game in Dublin in September, will be the centrepiece.

Its CEO, Padraic O’Kane, said he hopes it will attract up to 5,000 visitors. “It’s all about community, business, sport and tourism events, all wrapped up in fun.”

“This has the potential to become a major national annual festival,” he said.

On International Cork Day, Oct 16, the county’s borders will be manned, and visas issued to visitors in exchange for donations to local charities.

Civic buildings will be lit up in red and white, and the birth of Michael Collins will be commemorated.

There are plans to host a dozen US schools and colleges marching bands in various county towns, culminating in a parade in the city.

Rebel week will also see a “mini Farmleigh-style” economic forum, proposed by Lord Mayor Cllr John Buttimer, featuring international business figures with Cork links take place in the city.

Cork Gathering ambassador and doyenne of Irish food, Darina Allen of Ballymaloe House, who is organising the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine next May, said the programme provides a fantastic opportunity to welcome friends, family, and international visitors to the rebel county.

“Although not born and bred in Cork myself, I consider myself an adopted daughter of this proud county and am honoured and humbled to have been chosen as an ambassador for the Gathering Cork,” she said.

Other new events during the year include a conference of key players from Silicon Valley involved in the Irish Technology Leadership Group in January, which aims to position the city as a leading European technology cluster.

Cork will also host the World Mini Games, featuring reduced format versions of up to 30 sports including five-a-side football and rugby sevens, from Aug 22-25.

And the people of Allihies have invited the copper-mining diaspora, especially those living in or around Butte Montana, to trace their roots in the village from Sept 12 to 15.

The Irish Redhead Convention will also take place in Crosshaven, with certificates of genuine ginger authenticity, freckle-counting contests and a redhead parade planned.

Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Fáilte Ireland, IPB, and Cork Airport are investing up to €1m to support the Gathering.

The passport

* How do I get a rebel passport?

Proof of international travel will automatically entitle you to the documents. Everyone else has to earn it by promoting Rebel Week, or volunteering at the events.

* What does it entitle me to?

The passport will give you access to discounts in shops, pubs, hotels, and leisure outlets across the county during the week.

You can get more details on www.corkrebelweek2013.com


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