Free access to LÉ Aoife and buildings celebrating Cork City’s heritage

The public will have a last chance today to go aboard the LÉ Aoife in Cork, before the naval vessel is taken out of service early next year.

Free access to LÉ Aoife and buildings celebrating Cork City’s heritage

The opportunity for land-lubbers to see the deck and the bridge of the offshore patrol vessel — in service since being built in Cork in 1979 — is part of Cork Heritage Open Day.

It is unique among the 40 events as all the other doors being opened to the public are buildings around the city.

LÉ Aoife will be open for tours from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm-5pm. Previous vessel tours have attracted huge numbers and long queues along the quay to step aboard.

LÉ Aoife is expected to be replaced early next year by the LÉ James Joyce.

Among the buildings opening their doors is the Masonic Hall, home to Cork’s Freemason’s Lodge which regularly opens its doors for charity events, and has been hosting tours during this event for a number of years.

The organisers have already run out of tickets to some limited-capacity tours, including those of the Everyman Palace theatre, Cork District Court at the old model school on Anglesea Street, the nearby Elysian development and the former Cork Savings Bank on Lapp’s Quay.

But free access still remains open to dozens more throughout the day including military buildings like the museum at Collins Barracks on Old Youghal Road (until 2pm), religious buildings such as the Quakers’ meeting house and graveyard at Summerhill South, and Carpenters’ Hall — home to the Operative Society of Masons & Bricklayers — on Fr Mathew Quay.

A replica of a First World War trench opens in Cork Public Museum today, part of a new exhibition on local involvement in the war.

The Cork Heritage Open Day kicks off a week of events in the city and county where hundreds of talks, workshops and exhibitions take place up to tomorrow week, August 31 as part of National Heritage Week. There is also plenty of interest for enthusiasts of nature walks and wildlife, or those interested in learning about traditional crafts and local folklore.

There is a family theme to this year’s event, but also a number of talks and exhibitions connected to Irish participation in the First World War, which began this month 100 years ago, and to the early episodes of the Irish War of Independence.

More than 1,600 events are listed on the National Heritage Week website and a full county-by-county guide can be found in libraries, tourist offices, council offices and bus stations.

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