The Association of Irish Floral Artists (AOIFA) staged its National Flower Festival “Splendour in Flower and Stone” in Saint Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Co. Cork over the weekend. This iconic building in all its splendour, celebrating the centenary of its consecration, was the ideal setting in which to stage the event. Cobh looked resplendent as people arrived to the Cathedral greeted with the panoramic views of the town, harbour and visiting cruise liners, while accompanied with performances by Adrian Gebruers on the 49 bells Cathedral Carillon.
By closing time on Sunday, more than 4,500 visitors passed through the Cathedral. They travelled from all over Ireland for the two-day event. Passengers from Canada, the USA and the Continent, who were on the Cruise Liner, docked in Cobh, were most impressed and described it as “World Class”. Hundreds of local parishioners who attending masses over the weekend also got to enjoy this stunning spectacle of colour.
The magnificent floral displays adorned every part of the cathedral. These were created by 170 members of AOIFA, who depicted titles inspired by Art, Literature, Scriptures, the Sea, Autumn and the many people associated with the Cathedral’s construction and history. The entrance to the Cathedral was graced by elegant designs in stone pedestals by Griffins Garden Centre and the scene was set by three huge mobiles, suspended from the ceiling of the Nave.
The Festival was opened by Senator Joan Freeman, Pieta House, which is the charity being supported by the Festival. Fittingly one of the exhibits featured “From Darkness into Light”. Vestments from the Cathedral collection also featured in the displays.
A concert featuring Amanda Neri, Ireland’s Multi Award Winning Singer and Bella Voce, supported by the Cork Retired Teachers Choir enthralled a huge audience on Saturday night and had them participating in many songs. Further performances by “Violini”, Violin Duo and young local musicians enhanced the occasion. The immensely talented Cobh Cathedral choirs also performed throughout the weekend.
Monsignor Jim Killeen concelebrated mass at 12 noon on Sunday and theme of his homily was “Laudato Si’ (encyclical letter by Pope Francis on the care of our common home), the theme of one of the exhibits.
Mary O’Brien, Chairperson of AOIFA and Festival Designer said that this Festival was for her a dream come true, the result of two years of planning and is very grateful to Bishop William Crean for the use of the cathedral and to the local community and sponsors for all their support.