Festival Rewind

The 2021 festival has now come to a close. But don’t worry if you’ve missed some of our digital talks! All online talks and lectures are now available to watch back below.


Mná na Mara

Mná na Mara

In association with Meitheal Mara.

Join us for a conversation with two special and inspirational women with an appetite for pushing physical extremes and a love of the sea: swimmer Nuala Moore and kayaker, cyclist and oarswoman Karen Weekes. Reporter Lorna Siggins will join them to discuss their motivations, ambitions and fears. All three women have circumnavigated Ireland at different times – Nuala by swimming in a relay team, Karen in a single kayak and Lorna by sail.

Nuala Moore is an Irish Open Water swimmer, with two Guinness World Records and World firsts. Over the last decade, she has pushed boundaries in some of the most dangerous icy waters and remote locations in the world. Nuala was a member of the relay team to swim the Bering Strait from Russia to the USA, as well as the only team to ever swim around the Island of Ireland 1,330km. Nuala is a pioneer, a cold water safety specialist, a coach, a mentor and a swimmer who has pushed the boundaries for women in extreme sports. She is inspirational, motivational and mostly unassuming.

Karen Weekes aims to be the first Irish female to row solo, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in December 2021. Completing this distance will also make Karen the 20th woman in the world to row across an ocean solo. Endurance exploits have been a passion for Karen for all her life and have included both water and land based journeys. Karen is a lecturer at Munster Technological University with a PhD in sport psychology. She has worked extensively with both elite and non-elite athletes, specialising within the endurance genre.

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western and marine correspondent. She has a strong love of the sea and a deep knowledge of people who make their living by it. She is the author of Everest Calling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

The Future of Port Cities: Post Pandemic Recovery, Resilience & Renaissance

In association with UCC Civic & Community Engagement.

Across our UNIC European Alliance of City-University partners, we believe ports and port cities have a particularly unique role to play in helping us to rethink and redesign the future of our urban centers – in a citizen centered, diverse and ecological manner.

Join us for an international roundtable discussion on the Future of Port Cities, chaired by Irish Times Journalist Lorna Siggins, that will bring thought leaders into conversation around this ambition.

Free for all to attend, the event will open with a cultural performance from UCC student and Harpist Síofra Thornton.


– Professor Amanda Brandellero, Erasmus University Rotterdam School of History, Culture and Communication and member of the ‘Port City Futures’ group in the Netherlands.
– Feargal Reidy Director of Strategic and Economic Development, Cork City Council
– Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer, Port of Cork Company
– Lar Joye, Port Heritage Director, Dublin Port Company

This UNIC CityLabs event takes place as part of the Cork Harbour Festival programme, hosted by Civic & Community Engagement at University College Cork.

‘Convict Hulks and Transportation from Cork Harbour in the Nineteenth Century’

Lunchtime Lecture: ‘Convict Hulks and Transportation from Cork Harbour in the 19th Century’

In association with UCC School of History & Dr. John Borgonovo.

Speaker: Dr Anna Lois McKay, University College Cork

Cork Harbour was a centre of forced migration, especially Irish convicts transported to British penal colonies in Australia. This lecture will examine aspects of the use of floating prisons in the harbour, and what lay in store for those transported overseas.

Dr Anna Lois McKay is a Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of English at University College Cork. She researches confinement and the British maritime world. Her PhD examined British prison hulks (floating prisons) in England and Bermuda, and she is expanding her work to include case studies on Ireland.

Bridges of Cork

Bridges of Cork – Online Talk

In association with Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

Cork City’s growth on a swamp is an amazing story. The city possesses a unique character derived from a combination of its plan, topography, built fabric and its location on the lowest crossing point of the river Lee as it meets the tidal estuary and the second largest natural harbour in the world. Indeed, it is also a city that is unique among other cities, it is the only one which has experienced all phases of Irish urban development, from circa 600 AD to the present day. Hence its bridges all date to different times of urban growth and possess different architectural traits. This zoom presentation explores the general development of the city’s bridges and why they were historically so important and are still so important in connecting the different parts of Cork City together.

‘Big Ships: the heyday of the Royal Navy in Irish waters’

Lunchtime Lecture: ‘Big Ships: the heyday of the Royal Navy in Irish waters’

In association with UCC School of History & Dr. John Borgonovo.

Bantry Bay acted as a key mustering point for the Royal Navy, in the late 19th and early 20th century. This talk will explain the use of Irish waters by British Dreadnoughts and other large warships at a time when Britannia still ruled the waves.

Speaker: John Ware, University College Cork
John Ware lectures in the UCC School of History and the Adult Continuing Education (ACE) programme. His research engages with aspects of the Medieval and modern maritime worlds, including naval warfare. He recently published his debut historical novel, ‘Dirty Shirt’, about Irish troops in the First World War.

“A Ship is a Most Unpleasant Thing”: Mary Delany and the Irish Sea

In association with Nano Nagle Place.

Kristina Decker, a Ph.D. Candidate in History at University College Cork, will talk on ‘’a ship is a most unpleasant thing’: Mary Delany and the Irish Sea’ and will be joined afterward to discuss sea travel in the 18th and early 19th century by Professor Claire Connolly (University College Cork) and Dr Gillian O’Brien (Liverpool John Moore’s University).

Make a Model Boat - Award Ceremony

In association with Cllr Kieran McCarthy & Meitheal Mara