This week, a delegation from the Cologne-Cork Sister City committee visited Cork and were guided around the city with Cllr Kieran McCarthy as part of twinning activities with Cork. The 45 strong delegation arrived here on the Roald Amundsen tall ship from Cherbourg. It docked on the city’s quays for a number of days with support from the Port of Cork and Cork City Council. The tall ship is no stranger to Cork and is a training ship for those who wish to train in aspects of sailing. The tall ship, originally, named Vilm, is a German steel-ship built at the Elbe River in 1952. Having worked in different area, she was refitted in 1992 to 1993 as a brig – two masted square-rigged sailing ship, and now serves as sail training ship. During summer she usually operates in the Baltic Sea, and usually embarks for journeys to farther destinations for winter, including several-Atlantic crossings.
Cllr McCarthy on his walking tour outlined the history of the port, the harbour and the development of the city upon a set of estuarine marshes. He highlighted the history of Cork City Hall, streets such as the South Mall and St Patrick’s Street, and bringing them on top of the ramparts of Elizabeth Fort. During the tour, member of Cologne City Council discussed their interest in developing a twinning project for the upcoming 30th anniversary of the twinning. In previous years, Cork and Cologne have has success in school exchange programmes, council swop officer schemes and environment, artist and enterprise programmes.
Cllr McCarthy noted; “the twinning with Cologne has brought not just the title of twinning but connected Cork into the EU Continent. I am very impressed by the energy put into the twinning arrangement on the Cologne side. Interestingly both cities have aspects in common – for example the colours of Cork and Cologne are red and white; St Finbarre’s Cathedral was inspired by the beautiful Cologne Cathedral. As we approach the 30th anniversary in two years time, I think there is really great scope to secure more opportunities between the two cities. Every year, Cork City Council has a twinning grant schemes and there is scope within these schemes and outside these schemes for entrepreneurs, cultural creatives and sporting groups to explore possibilities and connections with North West Germany. Any ideas can be emailed to myself or written to the chair of the International Relations Committee.