Holly Bough Exhibition

stpeters cork
stpeters cork

Holly Bough Exhibition

Date: November-January

Place: St Peter's Cork

Tickets: Free Entry, All Welcmome

HAPPY birthday to the Holly Bough!
The Cork Christmas institution is celebrating a big anniversary in 2017 as it chalks up its 120th year as an integral part of the city and county’s festive season. St Peter’s Cork is thrilled to be hosting the latest exhibition from the Evening Echo which looks at the touching and often thought-provoking images of Christmases past from the front pages of the Holly Bough.
Ahead of your visit to St peter’s to catch this gorgeous exhibition that celebrates all things Festive in Cork, check out these fun facts!
  • It was first published in 1897, by the Cork Weekly News, when it cost one penny.
  • The 1897 edition also contained a ‘Mission Statement’ which, apart from some technological advances in the printing industry, has continued unbroken down the ages.
  • It stated: “The Holly Bough has been produced entirely in this office, set with our type, and printed from cover to cover on our machines. Apart from its great literary merit, we claim that, from the typographical point of view, it is a distinct advance on anything of its kind previously attempted in the newspaper offices in this city. It is bright, novel, and original, and should at once win its way to popularity among the Christmas issues of the season. Encouraged by its success we will even do better in coming years.”
  • That 1897 publication also promised to carry “varied and most attractive entertainment and the work of some of the first story-tellers of the day” and contained a children’s section and puzzles.
  • A copy of that first edition was unearthed by Holly Bough reader Hugh Connolly in Ottawa, Canada, a few years ago, and the next evidence of the publication was in a photograph of Lower Glanmire Road in 1915, which showed an advert for it in the background.
  • In 1932, Thomas Crosbie purchased the title of the Cork Holly Bough from the Tivy family, former owners of the defunct Cork Constitution, for his Examiner and Echo stable.
  • At the time, the Examiner had its own, inferior Christmas product, known colloquially as “the Christmas number of the Cork Weekly Examiner” and for many years after, the Holly Bough had the strap-line “Christmas Number” to encompass both products.
  • The Holly Bough has appeared in all 120 years since it began, apart from during the Emergency (1939-45) and in 1948, when there was a paper shortage. The oldest copy in Cork City Library is from 1924, while reader Michael Lenihan contacted the Holly Bough this year to reveal he had copies from 1933 and 1935 in his care.
  • The printing of the Holly Bough in the days when it was produced on the Academy Street presses could often be a fraught process. In 1953, it took three days because of a breakdown in the process that stitched the publication together, and there were 15,000 spoils on the printing room floor.
  • Editors down the years have included Stephen Coughlan and Walter McGrath, and the Holly Bough’s continued success is down to hard work by generations of people, from writers to in-house editors and photographers, from printers to distributors, advertisers and contributors.

Happy 120th birthday to the Holly Bough!
Here’s to the next 120 years!


St. Peter's Cork
N Main St
Cork, City in the Republic of Ireland H62 DV76

Telephone: (021) 427 8187