Irish anniversary festivals

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Memorial beside Cork City Hall, unveiled by President Patrick Hillery on the opening day of Cork 800

In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of areas in the Republic of Ireland held year-long festivals commemorating historic anniversaries. The country was in an economic depression at the time and these were excuses for some civic pride; the anniversaries chosen were often rather arbitrary[1] and were chosen by the relevant local authority to promote tourism.[2]

The "Dublin millennium" was proposed by city manager Frank Feely to be held in 1988, commemorating Gaelic King Mael Seachlainn II's conquest of the Viking city of Dublin.[2] The corporation agreed in December 1985, prompting a historian to point out that the conquest had actually occurred in 989 and to suggest the year "was chosen quite arbitrarily for the 'millennium' because it is coming up soon, not long after the Galway 500 and the Cork 800".[2]


  • The first such was Galway, with Galway 500 in 1984,[2] the 500th anniversary of the granting of a town charter in 1484[3]
  • Cork 800 in 1985,[2] the 800th anniversary of its charter of 1185[4]


  1. ^ a b Greeley, Andrew (December 13, 1992). "Ireland Wears Changes Like An Old Shoe". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 48. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f McDonald, Frank; Joe Jacobs (8 January 2010 [January 8, 1986]). "From the Archives: 8 January 1986: 'Bogus' selection of date to mark Dublin's millennium". The Irish Times. Retrieved 25 March 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Reagan, Ronald (23 May 1984). "Proclamation 5198 -- Galway's Quincentennial Year, 1984". Speeches. Reagan Presidential Library. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Silverman, J. Herbert (16 March 1985). "Cork: Ireland's second city celebrates 800 years". The Miami News. pp. C1–2. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Reynolds, Albert (8 November 1989). "Written Answers. - Border Projects Funding.". Dáil Éireann debates 392. Oireachtas. c.2047. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Clarity, James F. (18 December 1991). "Limerick Journal; An Irish City Bounces Back, in the Spirit of 1691". New York Times. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Malviya, Sanchey (2005). "Promotional methods in Tourism: Mayo Naturally". In B. K. Pandey. Tourism: policies, planning and governance. Rural Development: Towards Sustainability 3. Delhi: Isha Books. p. 134. ISBN 81-8205-315-3.