Cork celebrates its 'Latin Rebel' with Colombian Ambassador Visit

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The Colombian Ambassador to Ireland will help Cork celebrate one of the city’s unsung heroes, General Daniel Florence O’Leary, during ‘Daniel Florence O’Leary Day’ this Saturday.

Daniel Florence O’Leary’s impact on the political history of Latin American is widely recognised at the highest levels nationally and globally. 

O’Leary, as aide de camp to Símon Bolívar was one of the key figures in the struggle for the liberation of a number of Latin American nations including Colombia, who are this year celebrating their 200th anniversary of independence. 

Ambassador Patricia Cortés Ortiz will join descendants of O’Leary as guests of honour at a series of events on Saturday Sept 21st, to mark ‘Daniel Florence O’Leary Day’. Ambassador Cortes Ortiz and Sally O’Leary and Deirdre (nee) O’Leary will be welcomed to City Hall by the Lord Mayor John Sheehan on Saturday afternoon. They will be joined by Richard Lynch, Chairperson of the Daniel Florence O’Leary Historical Society, Cliona Maher, International Officer UCC, Liam Ronayne, City Librarian and Willie Mc Auliffe, co-chair of Cork Learning City.

Lord Mayor of Cork Councillor John Sheehan said:

‘We are honoured to welcome Ambassador Cortés to Cork, and look forward to connecting with Colombia in the 200th year since their independence, through a son of the city who made such an impact in that nation and throughout Latin America. 

O’Leary, our ‘Latin Rebel’ demonstrated the spirit of his birthplace through his achievements in the struggle for independence in far away lands. And through his writings and memoirs he left Latin America and Ireland with an important record of that time, and of Símon Bolívar himself, who he served under and who became a friend and mentor to him.  We are very honoured that descendants of the O’Leary family will join us on the day.’

A lecture and panel discussion involving president of the Society for Irish Latin American Studies Dr. Margaret Brehony, UCC Professor Emeritus Dermot Keogh, writer Cónal Creedon and members of the O’Leary family will be held in the Council Chambers on O’Leary’s adventures, life and legacy. Afterwards, the delegates will travel to Barrack Street where he was born and will pay a visit to the nearby17th century Elizabeth Fort.  

A rare collection of the memoirs - all 32 volumes - translated into English, a collection of emeralds donated by O’Leary to UCC in 1850, a portrait and other artefacts will be on display in City Hall during the day. 

Daniel Florence O’Leary Day will conclude with free concert at the Triskel at 8pm featuring Julio Victoria and band, courtesy of the Colombian Embassy. This is a unique opportunity to see an act that has a huge following in Colombia. Tickets are still available on Eventbrite.

A delegation from UCC, CIT, Cork Education & Training Board and Cork City Council will travel to Colombia at the end of this month to attend the 4th UNESCO Learning Cities Conference in Medellín. Cork hosted the 3rd UNESCO Learning Cities conference in 2017.