Kicking off the Gathering Ireland 2013 with a bang, a ceremonial 21 gun salute was performed on Spike Island in Cork Harbour on New Year’s Day, by soldiers from the 1 Brigade Artillery Unit based in Collins Barracks, Cork.
Chosen for its proximity to Cobh, which was once known as Queenstown and known as the last place where thousands of Irish immigrants left for a life abroad, Spike Island is a 104 acre Island that has in ancient times been home to a monastic settlement and a prison.
Yesterday’s spectacular gun salute was part of a broader gathering for those with an association to the Island, and was not the only gathering celebrations to be taking place, as in Dublin on New Year’s Eve, the people’s procession of Light, a torch lit parade through the capital and concert in College Green took place. A successful start to the Irish Gathering, several thousands of people from Ireland and from overseas, here on their Ireland Vacation took part in the parade of lights with many participating in workshops that allowed them make their own personalised lanterns. With thousands more events organised for the year ahead, 2013 really is looking to be the year long party to be part of!