The 2020 Holly Bough is out now!

It’s been a year like no other, but, like an old and trusted friend, the Holly Bough will always be there for you, through good times and bad. We have another jam-packed edition lined up for your festive reading this year — full of brilliant and fascinating stories and photographs depicting Cork in times past, many with a festive flavour: prepare to be gripped, moved, surprised, and entertained!


Of course, we have all the favourites you have come to love — the Diffney Quiz, the food and drink section, the Photo Gallery, the prize crossword, and so much more besides!
Among the contributors in this, the 123rd year of the Holly Bough, are author Kevin Barry, broadcasters John Creedon and George Hook, journalist Eoghan Harris, and politicians Maírín Quill and Micheál Martin – who took time out of his hectic schedule as Taoiseach to write a personal message for readers. Find out about the Cork cop in Chicago who saved Al Capone’s life – and the mobster repaid the favour.  And did you know there were no less than 100 air raid shelters in Cork city during World, War II?


This year, we also commemorate the centenary events of 1920 and 1921 in Cork, and there is a special five-page tribute to Christy Ring, born 100 years ago during another era of turbulence. Now, like then, Cork and Irish people will persevere and prevail.


Happy reading, and all the best for 2021.

Readers worldwide


Years a Cork tradition


Pages bursting with great stories and photos


Christmas publication in Cork


About the Holly Bough

The Holly Bough has been an annual tradition in Cork since 1897.
In that time, it has become a staple of the Christmas season in city and county, and among the diaspora around the world.
It has appeared in all 122 years since it began, apart from a few years during the world wars, and in 1948, when there was a paper shortage. The oldest copy in Cork City Library is from 1924.
The Holly Bough contains a plethora of historical stories and photographs about Cork and its people, as well as festive articles, a food & drink section, a junior section including puzzles, fictional short stories and poems by local people, and a sports section.

The magazine is now larger than it has ever been in its history – 164 pages.
Editors down the years have included Stephen Coughlan and Walter McGrath, and the current editor, John Dolan, has been at the helm since 2002.
He attributes its continued success to hard work by generations of people, from writers to in-house journalists, editors and photographers, from printers to distributors, advertisers to contributors. The latter are the backbone of the Holly Bough. “The Holly Bough is written by Cork people, for Cork people” he says.

Holly Bough editor is Cork Person of the Month

JOHN DOLAN, the editor of the annual Holly Bough newspaper, has been named January Cork Person of the Month.
The Holly Bough, published by the Evening Echo, a famous Cork tradition since 1897, tells the stories that delve into the memory banks of all Corkonians and is as much a part of Christmas as Santa and Christmas turkey.
John Dolan, assistant editor and features editor of the Evening Echo, said it was a great honour to take over as Editor of the Holly Bough back in 2002. The Holly Bough, even though it has input from professional writers and historians, contains, in essence, stories that are written by ordinary Cork people who have extraordinary stories to tell, it is written by the people for the people. said John at the award presentation.
Circulation of the Holly Bough has bucked all trends in print journalism by tripling its circulation and expanding its size from 60 pages to a 164-page full-colour publication. It is indeed a 122 year Cork institution that is part of all our lives in Cork and even follows us abroad when necessary, said awards founder and organiser Manus ‘Callaghan.

There is a great tradition of sending the Holly Bough abroad to the Cork diaspora, and locals also bring it abroad on summer holidays for a selfie and then get their holiday snaps published in the Holly Bough at Christmas.
John Dolan, born in Cheshire, now lives in Carrigadrohid near Macroom. He spent many years in print journalism in England, working on such newspapers as the Lancashire Evening Post and the London Metro. He moved to Cork in 2001, and with the backing of Evening Echo chief executive Dan Linehan and Echo editor Maurice Gubbins was appointed the editor of the Holly Bough a year later.
His name now goes forward, with the other Persons of the Month chosen this year, for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at a gala awards lunch in January 2020.


Holly Bough Gallery

Every year, we publish photos of Holly Bough readers posing with the publication all around the world. Here are some of our editor’s favourites down the years. Email your photo to [email protected] or follow the steps below where it says Submit story or photo’.



Minister receives
Holly Bough

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, has been presented with the 2018 Holly Bough by Ireland’s Counsel General to New York and native of Bishopstown, Ciará¡n Madden.

Minister Zappone was in the city in December for meetings with the Irish community. She said: “I know the reach of the Holly Bough is far and wide, connecting many who cannot make it home to loved ones in Cork during this special time of year. I congratulate all behind it and wish it every success for many years to come. Being part of this festive Cork tradition is a privilege.”


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Evening Echo Photosales

Purchase photos from the Holly Bough here – or you can purchase them at our counter sales office at Irish Examiner, 80, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork: Tel 021 4802393.

Photo Archive

Have a look at our brilliant photographic project which compares pictures of Cork in the past and the present’.

Irish Examiner Photosales

Purchase photos from the Holly Bough here – or you can purchase them at our counter sales office at Irish Examiner, 80, Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork: Tel 021 4802393


Submit Story or Photo

If you have a story
to submit to the
Holly Bough, or
a photo for the
Holly Bough
Picture Gallery,
you can do it here

Submit Story

Submit Photo


Please contact us by email

Email: [email protected]
Postal: Holly Bough, The Echo, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork
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