Eoin McGettigan, Chief Executive Officer, the Port of Cork Company; Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Deirdre Forde; Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Deirdre O’Brien at the Crawford Art Gallery to celebrate the Port of Cork Company’s 250 year heritage. Photos: Diane Cusack

Maritime heritage celebrated

Niamh Áine Ryan

An evening to celebrate the maritime links between the Port of Cork and the Crawford Art Gallery took place recently.

As part of National Heritage Week celebrations, The Port of Cork Company (PoCC) hosted the event celebrating its 250 year history at The Crawford Art Gallery which was built in 1724 as the original Cork Custom House.

In commemoration of this heritage, The Port of Cork Company gifted a significant collection of maritime paintings and artefacts, known as The Port of Cork Collection, worth an estimated €1 million to The Crawford Art Gallery in November 2021.

Guests were offered a guided tour of The Port of Cork Collection, to learn about the port’s history and how it has played a vital role in keeping Cork connected as an international gateway for trade for many centuries.

Speaking at the event, Eoin McGettigan, Chief Executive Officer with PoCC, said: “As a company, we are very proud of our heritage, which spans over 250 years. These unique maritime artworks, by renowned artists, offer a fascinating insight into the operations of Cork Harbour at that time and underscore the Port of Cork’s long-standing international significance for commerce and trade.

“Not only does the collection signify the history of our great port and harbour, but it also showcases how far the port has come, in terms of leisure, operations, scale and trade. We are delighted this collection has found such a welcoming home at the Crawford Art Gallery over the past 6 months.”

The exhibition displays a range of 17 paintings, dating back to the 1800s by a number of renowned artists, such as Cobh-born, marine painter, George Mounsey Wheatley Atkinson.

The collection also includes a ship’s register from the Cork Harbour Commissioners dating back to 1912 referencing both the Titanic and Lusitania, an illuminated address to Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891), and a silver Admiralty Oar from 1686.

Mary McCarthy, Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, said: “I would like to thank the Port of Cork Company for the donation of this collection of maritime history. It has been an honour to showcase the Port of Cork Collection in the gallery for the last number of months and it has been one of our most popular exhibitions. This special collection of unique maritime artworks acts as a visual reminder of the time and this building's connection with Cork’s maritime past as well as showcasing the strong heritage of this great port, city and county.”