Skibbereen to welcome its Great Olympians

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | August 28, 2016 0


Walking around Skibbereen on Saturday there was a palpable sense of excitement at the homecoming for local rowers brothers Gary and Paul O’Donovan. That excitement became a crescendo as I strolled around the excellent Saturday morning Farmer’s market and word came through that Paul O’Donovan had clinched the gold medal in Rotterdam. Preparations are well under way for the bother’s homecoming with bunting, welcome home notices and decorated shop windows adding to the atmosphere. gp6gp7

All roads lead to Skibbereen this Monday evening, 29th August with up to 10,000 people due to attend the homecoming of Olympic silver medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan and their coach Dominic Casey. The brothers captured the hearts of the nation in the lead-up to the final race, where they revealed their winning strategy: Close the eyes and pull like a dog.


Speaking after the semi-final race, Paul said: “It isn’t too complex really. A to B as fast as you can go and hope for the best. Close the eyes and pull like a dog.” On top of their Olympic haul Paul O’Donovan has won Gold in the men’s lightweight single sculls final at the World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam. O’Donovan pulled away from his rivals in the final 500m to claim victory by over four seconds. In more kudos for Skibbereen Rowing Club Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan were placed fourth in the final of Lightweight Men’s Pair at Rotterdam.


A number of big screens will be erected around the town to allow locals to watch the brothers being interviewed on stage by RTÉ’s Jacqui Hurley. It will be the largest ever celebration to be held in the West Cork town. The brothers hail from Lisheen on the outskirts of Skibbereen. Lisheen National School, which the brothers attended, will now stage a special Olympic ceremony to mark the opening of the school year.

The homecoming parade will start in the Cork Rd at 7pm with an open top bus carrying the Olympians along the Cork Rd, into North St and then turning right onto Main St before arriving at the Fairfield where you will once again get the opportunity to relive the excitement of the race on the big screen and also see Paul and Gary being interviewed on stage by RTÉ’s Jacqui Hurley.

Parking on the day

Please Note that the FairField / Old Mart will not be available for parking on Monday 29th August due to preparation for the event and restrictions will be in place on Sunday 28th August.  All entrances must be kept clear

Parking will be available at the following locations:

Travelling into Skibbereen from Cork/Clonakilty:

Car Park in Skibbereen Show Grounds

Travelling into Skibbereen from Bantry/Schull:

Car Park in- Skibbereen Rugby Club

O’Donovan Rossa GAA Ground and the Marsh

Skibbereen New Mart Marsh Rd

Morgan O’Driscoll’s (beside Hurleys’Garage) Ilen Street

Parking will also be available at West Cork Distillers on Market St and supermarket car parks in Skibbereen will remain open until 11 pm to facilitate the event.

skibbrowingThe Olympics and the Rowing World Championships are a remarkable result for a small rowing club along the banks of the lovely River Ilen in “Sweet Skibbereen.” Two of the O’Donovan brothers  Skibbereen colleagues Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll also finished fourth behind the gold medallists France in the lightweight pairs final in Rotterdam. Skibbereen Rowing Club is  the most successful club in country with 163 National titles, Leaders in the overall National titles record. Founded in 1970, following a strong local tradition of rowing in the area the club promotes the sport of rowing in West Cork. We are located on the outskirts of Skibbereen Town on the banks of the river Ilen, a tidal estuary entering the sea at the village of Baltimore. skibbtshirtgp8gp10

The O’Donovan brothers have frequently said that they row in a team of three. Their breakthroughs owe much to the work of Dominic Casey, who has been ‘Mr Rowing’ in West Cork for many years.

Now these affable Corkmen are planning one hell of a homecoming, saying that Skibbereen is going to need an extension when they finally arrive home on Monday. “It’ll be massive, I tell ya – put an extension on to the town for the night, we’re a bit worried about what’s going to happen,” said Paul, speaking on Cork 96FM’s The Score. “We’ll take it as it comes, sure it’ll all be a bit of craic anyway and hopefully everyone will enjoy it, and there’ll be some kids out that’ll enjoy it as well and they might take away something for future years as well, get a bit of inspiration you know? That’s what it’s all about, really.” P1130692Skibbpull

So a final health warning, don’t go to Skibb on Monday night unless you are prepared for serious shenanigans and have a feed of Shteak and Spuds beforehand to fortify you for a long night of partying. See yah there, Up Skibb!!

Please see map also:


Skibbereen Town Map courtesy of Tom Halliday


The Skibbereen Eagle

In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

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