Redhead festival hopes to welcome thousands to Co Cork

Crosshaven Redhead Convention has grown in numbers since inception seven years ago

Aoibhe Sheehan (8) from Lisgoold in Co Cork getting red-y for the upcoming Irish Redhead Convention with the Highland Cow at Rumley’s Open Farm. Photograph: Darragh Kane

Aoibhe Sheehan (8) from Lisgoold in Co Cork getting red-y for the upcoming Irish Redhead Convention with the Highland Cow at Rumley’s Open Farm. Photograph: Darragh Kane


What would John Hinde have made of it all? Hinde, the photographer whose iconic image of two foxy-haired children and their donkey on a Connemara bog, would surely think he was after hitting the postcard jackpot if he turned up in Crosshaven this weekend.

Why ? Because over 1,000 redheads of every age, shape and shade are descending on the seaside village at the mouth of Cork Harbour for the annual Redhead Convention where they will celebrate their red-ness amid a flurry of competitions.

Now in its seventh year, the Crosshaven Redhead Convention is the brainchild of local redhead Joleen Cronin, who explained that the festival has been growing in popularity year on year with every increasing numbers.

“We all share common experiences as redheads and there is an understanding and camaraderie as we all stand together - for once we are the majority in the crowd and to be part of that is an incredible, fun, empowering and life changing experience,” said Ms Cronin.

“This year we are expecting a record attendance of over 2,500 redheads along with their families and friends - we have redheads coming from all over the world - we had one girl arrive from Belgium this morning and we have a guy coming in from Hawai,” she added.

Among the redheads making the trip to Crosshaven is Pepi Mara and his father, Harry from Magnetic Island in North Queensland in Australia where they can suffer for their red-headness in summer temperatures which regularly hit over 35 degrees.

“The climate at home can be a bit too hot and too sunny for us though - I suffer badly from sunburn - ten minutes in the sun back home wrecks me whereas here the climate is a bit kinder so I’m really looking forward to the festival - it promises to be good fun,” said Pepi.

Significantly the Irish Redhead Convention partners with the Irish Cancer Society every year and to date has raised over €30,000 for the charity as well as highlighting the message for all redheads to be safe in the sun, seek shade and wear sunscreen.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival will be an exhibition of photographs taken by German photographer, Jorg Koster of some striking redheads of all shades and ages taken at previous festivals which got a great response when displayed at Cork Airport earlier this year.

Among the other highlights will be a series of concerts by redheads including Orla Gartland, Miles Graham and Gary Lamont, the redheaded actor and star of Scottish soap opera, River City while there will also be a céili for redheads with music by Ginger Nutz.

“We also have Jacky Collis Harvey who has written Red: A Natural History of the Redhead and she will speak about the most influential redheads in Irish history and explore red hair throughout the ages including in science, religion, politics and literature,” said Ms Cronin.

Among the other novel items are an appearance by “Red Shearin” where redhead farmer, Michael O’Sullivan will give a sheep shearing demonstration while redhead magician, Rua, star of TG4 ten part series, Draiocht will also work his magic on the audience.