16 August 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Historic “Aud” anchor must not be moved from Cobh
The Cobh 1916 Commemoration Committee has expressed concern that plans may be afoot to remove the iconic anchor from the historic 1916 arms ship Aud from the town where it was placed on public display last year and place it instead on Spike Island which incurs an entry charge of €18 for adults and €10 for children.
The committee, which organised and oversaw a series of events in Cobh last year to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising, including the installation of three new monuments, said it was essential that the Aud’s anchor should remain in Cobh town and continue to be free of charge to view there.
The Aud was a disguised vessel carrying arms for the Irish Volunteers and which accompanied Sir Roger Casement who landed at Banna Strand, Co. Kerry. The capture of Casement and the subsequent discovery of the Aud and its sinking near the mouth of Cork Harbour by its German crew dealt a deadly blow to the chances of the 1916 Rising’s success.
Paul O’Sullivan, secretary of the Cobh 1916 Committee said: “Just over a year ago we and the people of Cobh were delighted to attend the formal installation of one of the two anchors from the Aud in a public part of Cobh Heritage Centre where it could be freely viewed without the need to pay an entry charge. We understood that this positioning of the Aud anchor was part of an agreement between the National Museum, Cork County Council, Cobh Heritage Centre and the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in line with binding conditions pertaining to that departments’ licence for the recovery of the two Aud anchors”.
“We became concerned recently when we noticed that the Aud anchor had been moved from the public part of the Heritage Centre to a location inside the display area of the centre where payment is required to enter. We are now dismayed to learn that plans may be afoot to remove the Aud anchor completely from Cobh town and to relocate it inside the fort at Spike Island which can only be visited on foot of a payment of €18 (adult) and €10 (child) fees. This in our view would be a breach of faith on the part of Cork County Council and the other parties to the agreement and would be a major slap in the face for this town which played an important role in the struggle for Irish independence”.
“Cobh 1916 Commemoration Committee fully supports the Spike Island project. We were delighted to work with them during our events last year, however we feel that the Aud’s anchor must remain in Cobh and must continue to be free to visit. We are frankly not impressed with the response of Cork County Council to our queries regarding the anchor’s future. They have been vague and evasive. For that reason we feel compelled to publicly ask Cork County Council and the other bodies involved if they intend to remove the Aud anchor from Cobh and to explain how they can justify this decision which would remove a key historical artefact from where they agreed to place it and place it at a location where entry requires payment of a hefty fee.”.
“We are now calling for a statement of clarity from Cork County Council and we further call on the people of Cobh and the general public to support our call for the retention of the Aud anchor in a public place in Cobh which does not require an entry fee”