It's arrived!

The 2019 Holly Bough is now on the streets. Make sure you pick up your copy in shopping outlets across Cork or via this website. This year, the annual Cork publication is 122 years old – and as popular as ever in Cork households during the festive season!
Editor John Dolon and his team of helpers have excelled themselves this year in delivering an extra-large bundle of Yuletide joy for your delectation: A rattling good read, with some of the best writing and photographs you will find anywhere. They have unearthed some amazing stories to grip, move, shock, and entertain you.

The 2019 Holly Bough also celebrates and commemorates the people of Cork who were involved in the conflicts that racked this island a century ago, and salute locals who were involved in the world wars.
And, of course, who can forget the joys of getting your teeth into our famous Diffney Quiz and prize crossword…
The wonderful cover art was designed by Kinsale illustrator Don Carey, and depicts a Christmassy scene based on an actual photo of Patrick Street taken more than a century ago.

It’s all here, and so much more besides. Happy reading!


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.


Solutions and winners for Holly Bough crossword and Diffney Quiz 2018

Holly Bough Crossword

THE winner of the €250 prize for the 2018 Holly Bough crossword was Elizabeth O’Donoghue, of Mallow.

Solutions below
Across: 1. Splash the cash 7. Haggis 12. Omerta 14. Eclipsed 16. Inter 17. Aled 18. Duo 20. Swig 21. Youghal 23. Muscadet 26. Obi 27. In the bag 28. Tie 30. Ulna 31. King 34. Feta 36. Delivery 37. Splendid 40. Navan 41. Rush hour 44. Presents 45. Magi 46. Mail 48. Trot 49. Gel 52. Decorate 53. I do 55. Rooftops 57. The full Irish 60. Film 61. Tow 62. Thai 64. Evens 65. Brand new 67. Manger 69. Donate 70. Stiletto heels
Down: 1. Snowdrop 2. Air 3. Heal 4. Heeded 5. Celestial navigation 6. His 8. Adieu 9. Get the bird 10. Surely 11. Eddy 13. Tassie 15. Point of sale terminal 19. Omit 22. Opal 24. Aquarium 25. Meets 32. God 33. Peru 35. Aperitif 38. Niece 39. Iota 41. Rum 42. Skibbereen 43. Razor 47. Bell 49. Gloria 50. List 51. Forwards 54. Attend 56. Outwit 58. Upset 59. Lobe 63. Ambo 66. Ass 68. Nee Kop

Diffney Quiz

THE winner of the €500 prize for the 2018 Diffney Quiz was Noreen Spillane, of Ballinagree, Macroom.

Solutions below
1. 100 Cent in a Euro
2. All Ireland Camogie Final, Cork 0-14, Kilkenny 0-13.
3. the Roaring 20’s.
4. James Bond 007, Licenced to kill.
5. the General Post Office, 30 Oliver Plunkett Street.
6. the 5 Pillars of Islam
7. the Nutcracker and the 4 Realms.
8. the Rockies, Blackrock National Hurling Ciub, Founded 1883.
9. 1,2,3, Lucha Beaga Buí.
10. 10 Years in a Decade
11. 1 of the Good Ones by Mick Flannery.
12. the River Danube is 2,850 Kilometres Long.
13. Just 1 Cornetto, Give it to Me.
14. the 1/2 Moon Theatre.
15. 40/40 is Deuce in Tennis.
16. 2002 by Anne-Marie.
17. 1 Under Par is a Birdie in Golf.
18. Black 47.
19. 39 Minutes by Microdisney.
20. Leo (23rd July-22nd August).
21. an Chéad Bhróg le Máire Mac an tSaoi.
22. The N40 Ring Road.
23. 3 Little Kittens have Lost Their Mittens.
24. A 2nd Hand Car.
25. 25/08/18 Pope Francis Visits Ireland.
26. 1st Aid Kit.
27. 3 Points for a Green Ball in Snooker.

28. The 12 Step Program.
29. 1st Past the Post.
30. Bus Route 209a, St. Patrick Street to Ballyphehane.
31. 3 Sisters by Anton Chekhov.
32. the Last Tram Ran in Cork on 30/09/1931.
33. 2018, Chinese Year of the Dog.
34. Hotel Transylvania 3: a Monster Vacation.
35. 6 Feet in a Fathom.
36. 7 Lá.
37. Hugh Lane, Born in County Cork on the 9/11/1875.
38. Mont Blanc is 4,809 Metres High.
39. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
40. 12 Stars on the European Union Flag.
41. Who Fears To Speak of 98.
42. Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connacht the 4 Provinces.
43. the Sinking of the Lusitania, 07/05/1915.
44. Youngblood by 5 Seconds of Summer,
45. Beaufort Scale 11 is a Violent Storm.
46. Cúla4 na nÓg.
47. 15/04/1912,the Sinking of the Titanic.
48. 8 out of 10 Cats.
49. Cork Opera House 1st Built in 1855.
50. 2 Points for a Conversion in Rugby.
51. Timoleague Friary, Founded 1240.
52. 12 is the Cube Root of 1728.
53. Fauscoum, 792 Metres High.
54. 1st Time Ever I Saw Your Face.
55. 10 a Penny.
56. 2017 Cork City Win League and Cup Double.
57. the 12th of never.
58. No Man Can Serve 2 Masters.
59. the 15.17 to Paris.
60. the 3 F’s, Fair Rent, Free Sale, Fixity of Tenure.


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

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Submit Photo


Please contact us by email

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