Focus Ireland announce Spike Island as host of Shine a Light Night 2019

Bord Gáis Energy confirms sponsorship of Focus Ireland’s Shine A Light Night 2019

The rate of homelessness in Cork is increasing at an alarming rate with 407 adults currently without a home. In response, Bord Gáis Energy has confirmed the extension of its longstanding partnership with homelessness charity, Focus Ireland, to sponsor its annual fundraising initiative – Shine A Light Night.


On Friday 18 October the eighth annual Shine A Light Night will see business leaders sleep-out at Cork’s historic Spike Island in addition to locations Dublin, Wexford, Waterford and Limerick. Employees of businesses around Ireland can also sign up to support the initiative by pledging to fundraise and sleep-out at their workplace.
Shine A Light Night challenges business leaders across Ireland to sleep-out for one night and in doing so, raise vital funds to help alleviate homelessness.
Speaking at event, Ger Spillane, Focus Ireland Services Manager Mid and South West said,

Focus Ireland works tirelessly with people experiencing homelessness to help them secure their home or to ensure they leave homelessness for good. We also work extensively across the area of prevention to make sure many other families and individuals never become homeless in the first place. We rely on the support of organisations like Bord Gáis Energy to make a success of fundraising events like Shine A Light Night and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their generous support.”

There are 1,733 families homeless in Ireland today and this number is growing. In Cork, Focus Ireland provides prevention and housing advice, support services for families, support services for young people, short and long-term housing, and research-based services.
Commenting at the launch of Shine A Light Night on Spike Island Nico Rourke, Regional Manager, Bord Gáis Energy said,

The current homeless crisis in towns and communities across Ireland is worse than ever. It is heart-breaking that 3,821 children in Ireland today have no home. Bord Gáis Energy are committed to supporting Focus Ireland in the crucial work it does to address the causes of homelessness and increase support for those who are at risk of losing their home.

“Shine A Light Night is an incredible initiative that has gathered more and more support year on year. However, with the alarming rise in homelessness, we need this year’s event to be bigger than ever in raising vital funds to support this devastating social issue. We are extremely proud to sponsor this year’s campaign. We urge every business in Cork to join us, sign up and give one night to make this the most successful Shine A Light Night yet. It may simply be one night of your life, but it can save suffering for those who are homeless.”

To date, Shine A Light Night has raised over €4m for people experiencing homelessness in Ireland. In 2018, this support enabled Focus Ireland to help over 15,500 people. With the support of the business community, every day Focus Ireland moves a family out of homelessness into a secure home of their own.


Concluding, John Crotty, Spike Island Manager stated,

“Spike Island is pleased to host Shine a Light Night 2019. It’s an historic venue that puts the modern crisis of homelessness into clear focus and I encourage the business community to join us on the 18th October here on Spike.”


For further information  please contact Dick White, Cork Area Fundraising and Marketing Executive  on 086 8223690 or  and to sign up to participate in Shine A Light Night 2019 visit

The Peoples’ Parklet on Douglas St is officially open! 

The Peoples Parklet on Douglas St was officially opened on Wednesday, July 24th. The Parklet is the ultimate city centre ‘chillzone’.


The project was brought to life following a funding application by the Cork Transport and Mobility Forum (CTMF)  to Cork City Council’s City Centre Placemaking Fund.


CBA President Philip Gillivan accompanied by Justine from Cork Flower Studio enjoying a well earned break in the Peoples Parklet on Douglas St.


According to CTMF, the People’s Parklet is an “amenity combining elements of seating, green planting, art and bike parking, it offers an alternative experience of the city and the street. It is an open and public space that invites residents and passers-by to interact, and to foster a sense of place, community and environment”.


Lord Mayor, Cllr John Sheehan said:

“There has been a great reaction across the city to the parklet and there was remarkable partnership between groups to deliver this particular project. The City Centre Placemaking Fund is aimed at supporting projects which will enhance, improve, and enliven people’s experience of Cork city centre, increase footfall and support the local economy”.


The parklet is moveable and will be in Douglas street until the end of September. The Transport and Mobility Forum and Cork City Council will consider requests from any local groups in the city centre who wish to locate the parklet on their street and who will support it on a day to day basis.


Benchspace Cork, The Transport and Mobility Forum, Mad about Cork, The Douglas Street Business Association, Cork Environmental Forum and a build team lead by Rory Drinan collaborated to bring Siobhan Keogh's design to life.


The City Centre Placemaking Fund was launched in January and sought creative concepts from business network groups and community groups operating in Cork city centre. The fund also strives to encourage collaboration in specific streets and neighbourhoods.


Other City Centre Placemaking-funded projects include the space exploration-themed mural at the Cornmarket Centre by Irish street artist, Shane Sutton (of the Walls Project). Led by Blackrock Castle Observatory, this was installed as part of last weekend’s Apollo 11 anniversary celebration.  The fund also brought about Curtis Hyltons stunning mural of a kingfisher with plastic in his beak at the entrance to Paul Street carpark.


La Cocina Publica, the pop-up Chilean dining event, held during the Cork Midsummer Festival was also made possible by the Placemaking Fund. As diners enjoyed supper alfresco, Chilean and Cork artists, storytellers, singers and musicians provided entertainment. The Cork City Centre Placemaking Fund also helped Cork Community Artlink bring the ‘Mr Everybody’ to the Grand Parade and to landscape and provide seating in the front garden of St Peters on North Main Street.

Crawford Art Gallery and Arup shortlisted for 2 National Awards

Crawford Art Gallery and Arup have been shortlisted for the prestigious Business to Art Awards in the Best Mid-Size Sponsorship category for ‘Earth, Wind & Fire: Made in Cork Contemporary’ a hugely successful exhibition held in the Gallery in 2018.

Crawford and Arup succeeded in their nominations in the 28th Allianz Business to Arts Awards which saw high levels of nominations from a diverse range of partnerships and events, spread across Ireland.


Arup, one of Ireland’s largest engineering consulting firms and strong advocates in the arts and cultural sector, teamed up with Crawford Art Gallery to support the exhibition and associated programmes which combined artistic excellence and technical skills.  As part of their support they financially contributed to a learning programme which saw Arup Director Peter Flynn interview Joseph Walsh. The conversation was unique and highly illuminating reflecting their close collaboration. “It was inspiring to team up with the Crawford Art Gallery for the Earth, Wind & Fire exhibition. Arup believes that arts and culture make a vital contribution to the community. Visitors to the gallery were treated to an outstanding display of creativity, encouraging people to think about art and design in a new way. We are delighted that the partnership between Arup and the Crawford has been shortlisted in the Business to Arts Awards,” said Eoghan Lynch, Chairperson of Arup in Ireland.

The exhibition curated by Anne Boddaert of Crawford Art Gallery included the breath taking intricacy of Nuala O Donovan’s ceramic work and the graphic poetry of Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely textile pieces to the wildly imaginative and expansive sculptural works of Joseph Walsh, Alex Pentek and Eoin Turner.

It attracted over 80,000 visitors and was greatly appreciated by diverse audiences.

In relation to the partnership with Arup, Mary McCarthy Gallery Director, had this to say,

"We are delighted to have this partnership nationally recognised Partnerships and Collaboration are key elements to Crawford Art Gallerys strategy .

Arup was a perfect collaborator as they were appreciative of the ways in which all the participating artists continually push material boundaries.

The company and it’s people got behind the project and the artists and invested time in the preparations, design and workshops. New friendships were formed. such collaborations are invaluable and inspire us to continue to work with our many partners to enable more direct contact between artists and various businesses”.

Arup have also been nominated for a Judges ‘Special Recognition Award for Portfolio of Arts Sponsorship for 'New Now Next' with Irish Architecture Foundation and 'Earth, Wind and Fire: Made in Cork Contemporary' with Crawford Art Gallery Cork.

Exciting New Mural Unveiled In Cork City Centre

CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory are proud to introduce the latest addition to Cork City Council’s Placemaking Fund. “Loves me, Loves me not” was installed this week at Cornmarket Centre by Shane Sutton, acclaimed Irish Street Artist, and the European Space Agency’s Artist in Residence for the 2019 Living Planet Symposium.


The piece features an astronaut plucking daisy petals against a backdrop of the vast expanse of space. As humanity started to venture out beyond our Earthly constraints in mid-20th century, we started seeing a whole new perspective of our beautiful blue planet. The inspirational power of these images for artists has been profound.


Commissioned by CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, it is funded through Cork City Council’s new City Centre Placemaking Fund.  In February 2019, Cork City Council issued an open call for submissions which would “enhance, improve, and enliven people's experience of Cork city centre" through this fund and ten projects were successful.  It follows on from the stunning kingfisher mural which was unveiled at the entrance to Paul Street car park in May.


The project is a collaboration with The Walls Project, who have an impressive track record of rejuvenating underappreciated urban spaces with incredible artworks. They showcase the very best of Irish and International artistic talent.


As well as serving as a source of beauty and inspiration for the people of Cork, the team at The Observatory will use the new mural as an anchor for City Centre outreach activities, including as a stop on a new walking trail, “The Moon Walk” that chronicles the events of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, using Cork City landmarks as milestones. The walk was launched earlier today as NASA Astronaut Dan Tani paid a visit to The Observatory.


For more information see :

Out of This World Celebrations in Cork as Historic NASA Anniversary Draws Near

Apollo fever is taking Cork City by storm, as CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory lead celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. While RTÉ are broadcasting a live commemorative show from the observatory itself on Saturday the 20th July, the BCO observatory team will bring the space experience to the heart of the city by transforming Nano Nagle Place and St Peter’s Cork into The Moon and The Earth respectively for the whole weekend.


Take part in a “Moon Walk” and travel between the two locations on a scaled-down walking tour that emulates the iconic mission. Enjoy a bumper schedule of events at each location, including special planetarium shows, workshops, and guest speakers including Leo Enright, Dr Niall Smith and Dr Niamh Shaw.


An exciting element of the celebrations is the installation of a space exploration themed mural by award winning Irish street artist, and 2019 Artist in Residence for the European Space Agency Living Planet Symposium 2019, Shane Sutton. Funded through Cork City Council’s City Centre Placemaking Fund to “enhance, improve and enliven people's experience of Cork city centre" the artwork “Loves Me, Loves Me Not” appears at Cornmarket Centre.


These celebrations are an important reminder of humanity’s most daring and impressive achievement” says Dr Niall Smith, Head of CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. “I know that seeing this event live had a deeply profound impact on me, and here at the observatory, we’re hoping that these anniversary celebrations will serve to rekindle that inspirational spirit for a generation that wasn’t lucky enough to see this incredible moment first-hand”.


In honour of the iconic anniversary, the observatory will host a brand-new exhibit from July 22nd, on all things Apollo. They will also open up a whole new area that allows visitors to observe some of the real-time research taking place in their labs.


To find out more about the celebrations in Cork, visit


To find out more about the RTE broadcast live from CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory

Cork’s longest running business association and the Irish Management Institute partner to “equip leaders to build the future” in Cork.

The Cork Business Association (CBA) are partnering with the Irish Management Institute (IMI) to continue their mission to support businesses of all sizes in Cork. Through sharing the latest information on upcoming executive development programmes running in Cork, the CBA will provide its members access to world-class professional development.


Founded by business leaders for business leaders, the Irish Management Institute (IMI) has been empowering world-class executives for over sixty years. This year, IMI was officially ranked as one of the top 50 executive education institutes in the world by the Financial Times.


IMI and University College Cork merged in 2016, allowing them access to UCC’s expert research faculty and an international network of thought leaders. IMI’s globally-ranked executive development will challenge, support and inspire Cork business people to unlock their potential and fulfil their ambition.


The IMI can provide access to high-impact short programmes in Cork for developing owners, managers & senior leaders, as well as access to their own in-depth professional diploma programmes that can be completed as part of a flexible development journey to achieving a master’s qualification.


Partnering with the CBA, the IMI and CBA will work together to share information on these programmes with the CBA members, and hopefully further afield.


One of IMI’s signature strengths is in designing programmes that meet the needs of a sector or individual business – they are the only Irish provider globally ranked for their custom programmes – and this is something both the IMI and CBA look forward to exploring together.


Speaking of this new partnership, Ciara Kissane, IMI’s Business Development Manager for the Munster region, said,

“IMI are delighted with the partnership with Cork Business Association.  We are committed to supporting individuals, organisations and industry as a whole and we see this partnership with the CBA as instrumental in engaging with and supporting local businesses in Cork.”


IMI works with a range of businesses, from multinationals to SMEs, and all their programmes work within the context of the individual participant; the programmes are designed to have real impacts on that person’s organisation. The values of both the CBA and IMI are very similarly aligned – both organisations deal with members on an individual level and work alongside their members on their journey of development and growth.


In 2019 the CBA has actively worked on creating events and workshops for its members that are both relevant and accessible, as well as providing networking opportunities for a broad range of industry sectors.


The IMI offers a membership community for businesses to connect under the banner of learning and development. Their membership events attract global expert speakers and are fantastic as networking and learning opportunities for organisations that don’t typically have regular access to these types of events.


The CBA are extremely keen to work closely with the IMI to provide its members in the Cork region with the highest level of speakers and panellists that will both educate and inspire attendees to propel their business forward through their own personal development.


The conversation has already been started and the IMI plans to partner with the CBA in bringing best practice & latest trends in leadership development to their members via a bespoke event later this year.


“This partnership between the CBA and the IMI allows for the creation and nurturing of an active community for business professionals in Cork. The IMI’s mission and passion, “to equip leaders to build the future”, is a statement we in the CBA wholeheartedly admire and firmly believe the IMI delivers on. It’s the CBA’s goal to now take full advantage of this progressive partnership with the IMI and work together towards ensuring Cork has the highest level of business professionals in the country.”

quoted Lawrence Owens, Chief Executive of the Cork Business Association.

34-storey hotel development ‘will include distillery and sky bar’

Plans for ‘the centrepiece of Cork’s new business district’ have been unveiled, complete with sky bar and a brand new micro-distillery.


Development management firm Tower Holdings Group has released details for the €150m redevelopment and revitalisation of the historic Custom House Quay site, which will link the peninsula to the centre of the city.

Developers hope to restore the existing landmark structures and add a new 34-storey hotel tower with unparalleled panoramic views across the city.

If planning is approved, it will be Ireland’s tallest building.

As part of the plans, the bonded warehouses will be opened up and transformed into retail units for local entrepreneurs, offering a unique cultural experience for locals and tourists and celebrating Cork’s rich history as a port.

The new visitor experience will be completed with the introduction of a micro-distillery at the eastern end of the site.



Designed by world renowned architecture firm, Gensler, in association with Henry J Lyons as local architects, the iconic new hotel tower will offer spa, swimming pool and gym facilities, with a sky bar and restaurant at the top floor.

"For the first time ever, this entire area will be fully opened up to the people of Cork.” said Tower Holdings Director of Operations (Ireland), Conor Lee.



“As the tallest building in Ireland, the hotel itself will be a focal point for the city rising. Equally, the design is aimed at preserving the existing infrastructure for future generations through the addition of new tourism and commercial offerings.”


Planning permission for the new development is expected to be lodged later this month. In the meantime, Tower Holdings is planning a public information event where members of the design team will be available to address any questions that members of the public may have.

The event will take place in the Custom House, Port of Cork on Saturday July 13th from 11am – 2pm.


“Chef Takeover” for Charity Cancer Fundraiser in The Bookshelf at the Elysian

Gastro Evening at The Bookshelf at the Elysian, in aid of the “Make Room For ARC” Project in aid of Cork ARC Cancer Support House

Pictured l/r: Paul O'Carroll, Owner, The Bookshelf at the Elysian, Joanne McCarthy, Marketing/Communications Manager, Cork ARC Cancer Support House, Monika Gieroszka, Manager, The Bookshelf at the Elysian and Rob Slowiaczek, Head Chef, The Bookshelf at the Elysian.


Thursday July 18th will see up to 100 guests attend an exciting dining experience at The Bookshelf at the Elysian Cork. The event is being held to raise funds for Cork ARC Cancer Support House.


The Head Chef on the night will be Rob Slowiaczek – the partner of Monika Gieroszka who is currently suffering from Breast Cancer. Monika is Manager at The Bookshelf at the Elysian and her team want to get behind her 100% and do whatever they can to support her through this challenging time.


The Bookshelf at the Elysian team, led by Rob, are aiming to raise €2,000 on the night which will go to one of the worthiest causes in Cork. Cork ARC provides a holistic centre in which people with cancer and their families can find emotional support, practical help and trust. Since Cork ARC opened their doors in 2003, they have supported thousands of families throughout Cork and the wider Munster region, through their drop-in centres, telephone support services, all available free of charge for cancer patients, their families and carers. Other services include counselling, therapeutic massage & reflexology, a dedicated Breast Cancer Nurse Counsellor and a wide range of group programmes, information and educational sessions. Cork ARC's services, complementary to the medical model, have been proven to have a positive effect on clinical outcomes, and provide a range of essential supports not only to cancer sufferers but also to their families.


Speaking ahead of the event Rob Slowiaczek,

We want to show our appreciation for local cancer support services through this fundraiser for Cork Arc by showcasing the quality of Eastern European food, to the people of Cork on a special night. Cork Arc have been a fantastic support for Monika and we just want to pay a small tribute to that work and to say thank you in the best way we know how.


Professor Seamus O'Reilly, Co-chairperson of Cork ARC says,

"We are thrilled to see that The Bookshelf at the Elysian are getting behind our #Room4ARC campaign. Since 2003, Cork ARC has been there to help people at the most vulnerable time of their lives, delivering free, non-clinical services that have been proven to have a positive effect on clinical outcomes, and providing a range of essential supports not only to cancer sufferers but also to their families. In 2019, these services are needed more than ever - since the first centre was developed, cancer has increased in Ireland by 7% per year. We’ve now outgrown the physical infrastructure of our current building. Sarsfield House will provide a more 21st-century appropriate infrastructure so we can better deliver the services that we know will have an impact on the lives of people with cancer - that is our mission. We are delighted to witness the groundswell of support in Cork for #Room4ARC and wish The Bookshelf at the Elysian the very best of luck with their Chef Takeover event."


On the night:

  • Rob will tailor make and design a 4-course meal with wine pairings.
  • Guests will enjoy a 4 course Eastern European inspired menu, paired with specially selected wines as well as a dessert cocktail which will be designed especially for the night.
  • Music entertainment will be provided by the fantastic Stevie G.
  • All profits will go to Cork ARC.


Paul O’Carroll, Owner of The Bookshelf at the Elysian, spoke of the involvement in the event,

We are all so invested in making this night a huge success in honour of Monika and in recognition of the great care Cork ARC are providing her with, in this difficult time. We are calling on the people of Cork to get behind this event which promises to be a night for the senses to remember – and all in aid of such a good cause. Monika has been an integral member of the team at The Bookshelf at the Elysian for the past 5 years and we all just wanted to show her some support while she is going through her treatment. It is great to be able to do that whilst also helping one of Cork’s most important charities.”


Monika spoke about Cork ARC’s support to date in her cancer journey:

“When I got the news of my diagnosis I really did not know who to talk to who could give me good advice on what to do next. My friends and family were great of course, but I needed to talk to somebody who could tell me what to expect, what to do in the meantime and how to come to terms with the news on a personal level. Cork ARC were such a big help, they just gave me simple things to do on a day-to-day basis, such as my diet, tips to help my mindset and so much more that made me feel like I was actually getting somewhere.”


Tickets for the event cost €45 (food only) or €65 (including paired wines and a cocktail) and can be booked by calling The Bookshelf at The Elysian on 021 4311591.

Developers say newly-announced multi-million Docklands project will be ‘transformational’ for Cork

Cork’s south docklands could be transformed after O’Callaghan Properties reached a conditional agreement to purchase 31 acres of land for €47.5 million.

The site is zoned for urban development and is being disposed of by agri-services group Origin Enterprises.

R&H Hall from the opposite quayside. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The deal is subject to conditions including the facilitating of the relocation of Origin Enterprises relocation to an alternative location at an “economically viable” cost.

Origin CEO Tom O’Mahony said: “We look forward to actively working with O'Callaghan Properties and the wider stakeholders to unlock the potential of this highly strategic asset to support the sustainable and progressive development of Cork City in line with the Government's National Development Plan 2040."

Councillor Des Cahill (FG) welcomed the announcement and said the site could potentially be used for a hospital and residential uses but cautioned that “necessary measures” will have to be taken - including VAT reductions for developers - to stimulate housing builds on the docklands.

Sources have told The Echo that what can be built on the site will be determined by Cork City Council’s New Local Area Plan (LAP) for the docklands to be published by the end of the year. The previous LAP provided for approximately three million square feet of residential, commercial and mixed-use development but no planning proposals have yet been formed.


The old Odlums flour building on the docks. Pic: Gavin Browne

Councillor Kieran McCarthy (IND) said he hopes the iconic redbrick Odlums building contained within the site can be turned into a cultural centre, while Mr Cahill believes the site could be a potential location for one of two new hospitals to be built in the city under the National Development Plan.

The site also contains the R&H Hall grain silos and other buildings of historical significance.

In a statement O'Callaghan Properties said: “[We are] delighted to be working with Origin Enterprises plc to unlock the potential of the largest development site to come on stream in the city centre. The development of this pivotal 31 acres site will be transformational for Cork Docklands and the city as a whole.

"The scale of residential, commercial, public space and amenity possible will introduce an exciting, new dynamic and help to accelerate development and inward investment generally. Taken in conjunction with other projects planned or underway, the development of this site will move the city significantly closer to realising the ambitious targets set out for Cork in the Government National Development Plan 2040.”



Source: Robert McNamara writing for