Celebrate city’s humour and history with Reimagine Cork on Heritage Open Day

Alasdair Fitzgerald and Eoghan Ryan from Reimagine Cork. Picture: Larry Cummins

Reimagine Cork is staging a treasure hunt across the city as part of Heritage Open Day tomorrow, writes Colette Sheridan

A HERITAGE treasure hunt for adults will be one of the highlights of Cork Heritage Open Day tomorrow. As well as viewing over 40 buildings, including St Angela’s College and the 96fm premises on St Patrick’s Place, adults can compete for a special prize by taking part in the treasure hunt which will celebrate Cork’s history, heritage, and humour.

The treasure hunt is organised by Reimagine Cork, a group focused on transforming the city by turning neglected laneways and unused spaces into attractive places with art work and gardening spots.

Reimagine Cork was founded two years ago by Eoghan Ryan, whose day job involves solving social issues with the Social Innovation Fund, and Dr Alasdair Fitzpatrick.

Ryan, who returned to his native Cork in 2014 after being away for eight years, says: “I got a pretty big shock walking around the city and I wanted to do something about it. Alasdair, a proud Cork man, also felt the city didn’t celebrate its proud history enough. We had a shared vision to improve the appearance of the city while also telling its story a bit better. In particular, the historic heart of Cork City (North and South Main Streets) was being forgotten about. We picked up a bucket and sponge and just got stuck in.”

The civic-minded duo is helped by 50-80 volunteers, “people from all walks of life but mainly between the ages of 20-40. All are bound by a real sense of positivity and willingness to improve the city’s appearance. It’s good fun as well.”

With 35 projects completed to date, Ryan says the most rewarding ones were those carried out with the Life Centre, the COPE Foundation, and SHINE, “because we’re involving the often forgotten members of society in a fun and engaging way”.

Members of SHINE, the Irish Progressive Association for Autism, helped complete the full refurbishment of a city garden on Kyle St, close to the Coal Quay. Other projects include the use of lightboxes, some of which have the words ‘Welcome to Cork’ on them in different languages. “The light boxes are dotted all over the city; on the river, by the bus station, on the South Mall. There’s a set of light boxes that have Cork terms like ‘bazzer’ and ‘langerland’ spelled out on them. It’s about bringing out the local humour.”

Ryan has no axe to grind with Cork City Council, which, some might say, is responsible for the appearance of the city. “I believe modern societies work best when there’s involvement from everyone in the community. Pointing the finger doesn’t get things done. My experience is that Cork City Council is supportive of community-led projects because they demonstrate to them that the funding (from the council) will be well spent and more importantly, provides more sustainable solutions.”

The Reimagine Cork Heritage Treasure Hunt will take place primarily within the old medieval walls of the city between 10am-5pm on August 20.

Question sheets can be picked up at St Peter’s Cork, on North Main St, and answers must be returned to the heritage officer at Cork City Council after the event. Questions will be posed in the form of riddles that will be based on the heritage landmarks.

These landmarks will be linked to pieces of art works nearby, each of which will carry a letter. Put all the letters together to solve the anagram. The winner will receive tickets to the opening night of Disco Pigs at the Everyman Theatre on September 19 and a luxury overnight stay for two at the Ambassador Hotel in Cork.

www.corkheritageopenday.ie 


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