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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Rebels to celebrate convicts on Australia Day

Better late than never – Cobh in Co Cork celebrates Australia Day this Sunday, six months after the event.

RESIDENTS IN COBH have been saving themselves since January for Sunday’s arrival of 1,500 Australians aboard cruise ship the Dawn Princess.

They’ll take the opportunity to throw several shrimps on the barbie, likely laying their hands on numerous cold tinnies at the same time.  Yes, it’s Australia Day… if six months’ too late.

It’s a national day Corkonians feel they can get behind because of the historical links between the two countries.  Cobh was the departure point for 26,500 Irish people transported to Australia as convicts, sometimes for offences as trivial as stealing food, or getting into debt.

Many of those destined for penal colonies on the other side of the world were locked up on Spike Island in Cork Harbour while they waited to be shipped out.

It has been over 150 years since the last shipload of people left Ireland for Australia, but it’s only the second time the Australians have sent a boatload back. (The organisers previously held a similar event in 2009, which they say was a resounding success.)

[caption id="attachment_180430" align="alignnone" width="805" caption="Australia Day celebrations in Cobh in 2009"][/caption]

Cobh’s shopkeepers are to turn their window displays over to the theme, with auctioneers set to advertise well-known Australian landmarks, while the Coast Guard will simulate an air-sea rescue and an army band will perform.

To round it all off the Cobh Confraternity Band and the CJ Kickham band from Tipperary will play the Dawn Princess out of harbour – it’s understood “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” features prominently on the playlist.

For more information, visit www.visitcobh.com

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