On Thursday 11th July, The Revd Paul Arbuthnot, Rector of Cobh & Glanmire Union of Parishes, alongside Fr John McCarthy, Administrator of St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, led the annual Blessing of the Bonnets in Cobh Heritage Centre.
This event, organised by Cobh Tourism, commemorates the 25,556 women who were deported to Australia from the port of Cobh / Queenstown during the 18th and 19th centuries. As a part of this act of remembrance, bonnets representing those women deported were blessed.
The blessing was attended by various civic dignitaries, including Cllr. Cathal Rasmussen, who was deputising for the Mayor of Cork County, and Michael McCormack, President of the Cobh Harbour and Business Chamber. Music was provided by local singer Niamh O’Connor.
There was also a large group of Australian visitors in attendance who had arrived in Cobh on the cruise liner ‘Sea Princess’ during the week.
The Rector of Cobh & Glanmire Union of Parishes, The Revd Paul Arbuthnot, commented:
The blessing of the bonnets is a poignant and moving occasion in the civic life of Cobh. It serves as a reminder of the often painful history of our island and the role that Cobh has in our national story. In such commemorations we are reminded of the importance of remembering those who were forced to emigrate from these shores. It was also a pleasure to be involved in this blessing alongside Fr John McCarthy, Administrator of Cobh Cathedral, and to further cement the excellent ecumenical relations in the town.