Background to the Bonfire Night Project
Bonfire Night, or Bonna Night as it is known in Cork, is celebrated on June 23rd. It involves many communities burning bonfires across the City on the night. The tradition is an old pagan Celtic celebration to honour the goddess Aine. As with many pagan traditions, the Catholic church worked with the event and linked it to the birth of Saint John the Baptist. According to the Church, John had baptised Jesus and so brought the world out of darkness - hence the bonfire element.
In the mid 2000’s, Bonna Night was causing difficulties in many neighbourhoods where there were incidences of anti social behaviour, damage to green areas, littering etc. Various community groups approached the City Council to explore options to deal with the negative side effects of the night.
In 2007, a pilot Bonfire Night Project was initiated, whereby 5 safe family friendly events were organised in the City’s parks. The project, supported by the City Council, involved local community groups, the Council, youth groups, the Gardai etc putting together a diverse range of fun activities on the night in each park as an alternative to the illegal bonfires. The project was very well received and continues to this day, having made a very significant impact on reducing the number of problem fires throughout Cork.