In order to usher in The Gathering, the much anticipated tourism initiative for 2013 in Ireland, Spike Island off the coast of Cork will host a ceremonial 21 gun salute.
The First Southern Brigade Army will conduct the ceremonial salute, the first one to be held from Cork Harbour in nearly 30 years. Cork Harbour is distinguished as one of only two fixed national saluting stations in Ireland, with the other being at the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire. Thus, this Cork event will also be a national event.
The 21 gun salute is meant to mark the beginning of The Gathering 2013 in Cork, as well as to send a call to all the Diaspora to come home to visit Cork in 2013. Cork has amped up their efforts to host an array of events in conjunction with The Gathering, and boasts 220 pledged events, second only to Dublin.
Cork Harbour and Spike Island was the starting point for many emigrants, resulting in a natural link between Cork Harbour and the Diaspora, making the locale very appropriate to kick off The Gathering 2013.
The 1st Southern Brigade of the Army will fire the ceremonial 21 gun salute from the recently restored saluting battery on the southern rampart of Spike Island at 1pm on New Years Day.
Minister Simon Coveney is expected to attend this event, the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Barbara Murray, the Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr John Buttimer, Cork County Manager, Martin Riordan, Cork City Manager, Tim Lucey, Senior Officials from both the Navy, Army and Fáilte Ireland, Councillors from Cork County and City Councils, TDs and Senators are amongst others being invited by Cork County Council to this historic and spectacular event.