Cork–Berlin Initiative (CBI)

Cork–Berlin Initiative

Image design by Lara Riemann  

Our most recent initiative is a petition
to reinstate the direct Cork–Berlin flight.

Within only a few weeks more than 1000 signatures were collected in support of a direct flight from Cork to Berlin. Even though the goal of 1000 signatures has been achieved, the petition is still online and you are welcome to add your signature and/or comments. For details click here

The Cork–Berlin Initiative was started in 2014 and aims at forging strong links between the cities of Cork and Berlin. 

We invite individuals and groups to inform us about existing connections and projects. To date an interest has been expressed to work towards strengthening the Cork–Berlin connections in the following areas: 

  • Academic / Education (currently incl. research collaboration with Free University Berlin; University of Potsdam; student exchange programmes/fieldtrips)
  • Energy&Transport
  • Theatre
  • Design
  • Film
  • Music
  • IT Sector
  • Broadcasting
  • Architecture
  • Literature / Poetry
  • Health
  • Science
  • Diplomacy (Irish Embassy Berlin)

 CBI – Contact address:

 CBI - Coordinators:

Manfred Schewe, Department of German / Department of Drama and Theatre Studies, UCC 

Stephan Koch, Buildings and Estates Office, UCC  

Why support the Cork-Berlin Connection?

We have begun to conduct short interviews with CBI supporters to increase an awareness of the rich opportunities associated with the strengthening of ties between the cities of Cork and Berlin.

CBI supporters represent different professional settings and areas of interest. In the section below they explain why from their perspective closer ties between Cork and Berlin make a lot of sense. If you wish your perspective to be added please contact us at

We wish to thank Josephine Rutz for her assistance with compiling this information. 



Bernadette Cronin

Bernadette Cronin lectures in Drama and Theatre Studies at UCC and first went to Berlin as a scholarship-holder during her Bachelor studies.

For her, the exchange between Berlin and Cork is hugely important in the area of theatre and creative arts. In addition to the draw of her familiy ties, she visits Berlin for a theatre field trip with her Drama and Theatre Studies students every year. In her view Berlin is the city where you can experience the best of central-European theatre with its leading directors, for example, Thomas Ostermeier and Falk Richter. Visits to the Bertolt Brecht House, former home of Iconic 20th century playwright and theatre director Bertolt Brecht and his world-famous theatre, the Berlin Ensemble, are further features of the field trip.

Besides her acitivities as Lecturer she would like to cultivate an exchange for her own Cork-based theatre company – GAITKRASH – with Berlin-based companies and arts organisations. Cork offers an enormous wealth of cultural acitivities and collaborative possibilities relative to its size and the potential for exchange with Berlin-based initiatives is considerable.

The current situation impedes trips to Berlin and increases the effort in planning and the costs. Bernadette, is therefore, keenly supporting the connection between Berlin and Cork and the opportunity to create mor live connections between theatre companies and students in Cork and Berlin.

Birgit Greiner

Birgit Greiner is a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at University College Cork. Originally from Berlin she is now living in Cork but didn’t give up the connection to her hometown, her alma mater and her family.

Not only because of her private trips to Berlin is Birgit supporting the idea of direct flights between Cork and Berlin, but also because of her academic activities. Planning a conference between UCC and universities in Berlin tends to be very complicated, because the cities are not well served with flight connections. Furthermore, there are a lot of students in her department in UCC who are interested in exchanges and experiences abroad.

If there were a direct flight connection between Cork and Berlin it would be a great improvement for both students and lecturers.

Paul Hegarty

Paul Hegarty, Professor of French at the UCC, has been involved in numerous collaborations in the Berlin experimental music scene, first playing there in 2012, in the AV format series at Waterloo. He has also performed in sound and poetry events. His record label has been supported by the Rumpsti Pumsti shop and label in Neukölln. He is currently organising events to take place in Berlin and Hamburg next year, in collaboration with Berlin-based sound and noise artists. 

In Cork his main academic interests are critical/cultural theory and music and he focuses on visual and audio culture, contemporary art and music, French Philosophy from the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as philosophy from the mid-20th century to the present.

Given the fact that he extensively works in the French experimental music scene and is involved in music, noise and sound art in Cork as well as in Berlin he supports the Cork-Berlin Initiative and encourages artists in the music sector to become involved in collaborative projects. 



John Godfrey 

Berlin is one of the world’s busiest and most innovative cities in the field of contemporary art music. It is particularly characterised by musics that embrace improvisation, new sonic resources, and experimentation, all characteristics that may be found in Cork’s highly unusual improvisation and Sound Art scene.

Cork has, in fact, been repeatedly likened to Berlin in the liveliness and radicality of its underground improvisation scene. While Ireland’s capital looks West and has allied itself with the Bang On A Can movement out of the USA (now a rather institutionalised and increasingly populist musical movement), Cork  maintains a healthy respect for innovation.

One of the UCC Music Department’s Research Affiliates, composer Dr. Karen Power, was awarded a highly prestigious Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) residency in Berlin: she spent a year in the city forging musical links that are still highly active. She arranged to export Cork’s unique improvisation event, Sonic Vigil: a team of 6 Cork improvisers joined local musicians for a ‘Sonic Vigilette’ in the renowned free improv club Ausland to great acclaim. My own Quiet Music Ensemble also has strong aesthetic relationships to much of Berlin’s musical outlook. There are strong musical links between Cork and Berlin, and there’s plenty of room to make them stronger!

John Godfrey is Head of the Department of Music, UCC



Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney is an Irish poet who has lived in Berlin for a period of his life and he is strongly supporting the connection between Cork and Berlin and the resumption of the direct flight connection.

Berlin is kown as an impulsive city and is a very important place for artists and writers. As poets often are not rooted in one place, Matthew was very happy to take part in the German Academic Exchange Artists-in-Berlin Program, lived there for a year and met a lot of other wirters from Ireland, the UK and also from Eastern Europe.

In Matthew Sweeney’s view, Berlin has a great influence on writers, artists and people from all kinds of walks of life; it is a city that offers a culturally rich environment and good living conditions. The cultural space is a special one where you can meet a lot of different people from all over the world. For Matthew Berlin is unique and offers him a great deal as an artist and a human being. The connection between Cork and Berlin is very important to him and he was dismayed when the connection was lost, in his own words:

‚When the direct air link between Berlin and Cork was cut down I felt like one of my legs had been cut off.‘


Cónal Creedon

I travel from Cork to various destinations throughout Europe on work related projects.

Absolutely the Cork-Berlin flight needs to be re- introduced. Cork as a regional hub has been downgraded and marginalised – not only as a tourist destination – but also from the perspective of those wishing to come here to work and study. 

This notion of bus-ing airline passengers from Cork to Dublin is a disgrace. 

Take for example the 22.35 arrival to Dublin Airport from Berlin – and – the implications of this flight for a Cork bound passenger: The passenger arrives on Patrick’s Quay quayside bus stop at 3.00am. This is a desolate destination – badly lit, without shelter, security, toilet facilities, taxi rank, food or drink. Passengers are literally dumped on the side of the quay and the bus drives off. 

I have travelled on this route – and once encountered a mother with two children having come from Berlin. It was wet and windy when we ‘landed’ on Patrick’s Quay in the early hours of the morning. Passengers were scrambling for bags to get home to their beds – and - there was this mother competing with the usual scrum to retrieve her luggage and baby buggy from the hold of the bus – and as the passengers melted off into the darkness – and the bus disappeared into the night – this mother with two small children was left standing there in the wet and cold darkness - asking passers-by in broken English for directions to the River Lee Hotel – WELCOME TO CORK.

Fleets of airport coaches leave Patrick’s Quay every half hour, ferrying passengers to and from Dublin Airport – so clearly this must offer an indication of the potential demand that exists, a potential that could be tapped into and increased with the introduction of direct flights, proper marketing and management. 

I believe this is a much greater issue than just the Cork - Berlin flight. Cork commerce and culture is suffering due to a lack of direct links. The joke doing the rounds in Cork at the moment – is – “ The only way to fly out of Cork is by bus’ – I guess it would be a joke if not so true.

[BTW – I have always found the Air Coach staff to be courteous, accommodating and professional.]


Michael McGrath

Michael McGrath is a TD and Fianna Fail's Spokesperson for Finance with a Constituency Office in Carrigaline.

"I fully support the development of a Cork-Berlin flight connection. It would be of tremendous benefit and open up very significant opportunities for both cities in the areas of economic development, tourism, cultural and educational exchanges." 



 Berlin is central to the European and Global art world. With over 10,000 artists the creative environment in Berlin is the dynamic force in Europe. 

Berlin like Cork is known for its independent spirit and for lens based artists like myself the Berlin arts scene is loose, experimental and dynamic.

 A direct link Cork/Berlin air-link would be a watershed for Artist in the Munster region and would bring together artists who may otherwise never meet.

The influence of Berlin on the avant-garde is unquestionable, whether it is music, film, or fine art direct access to the central hub of the European art scene has always been key for artists from around the world.

About the Artist:  The Cork based conceptual artist S H Bean (b.1954) presents a radically new approach to Photography and this approach begins by asking: “What do things look like when we don’t look at them? Over the years he has worked with internationally acclaimed artists such as James Turrell Franz Staehler,  Marshall Hutson, Gerd Kever and Patrick Bradfield. He teaches Photography for the Adult Centre for Continuing Education in University College Cork.





Department of German


First Floor, O' Rahilly Building, UCC