This past September, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who is of Chinese descent, visited Cork City where he met with Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald. The two mayors signed a Memorandum of Understanding to carry out Sister City exchanges aimed at strengthening relations and cooperation between the two cities, which were first designated Sisters Cities in 1984. The City of Cork is situated on the River Lee, so it was a homecoming of sorts for the San Francisco mayor.
“I think the contributions of immigrant families is the story of the connection between Cork and San Francisco and because of that we will always be a sanctuary city,” Lee told the Cork Evening Echo. “That’s just part of our DNA and who we are and what made us.”
Irish and the Chinese immigrants made many contributions to the development of San Francisco, helping to build the tunnels for the City’s early public transportation systems and working to erect the Hetch Hetchy Dam, the fresh water source for San Francisco.
The historic ties between San Francisco and Ireland were formalized in 1984 with the creation of the Sister City relationship between San Francisco and Cork. ♦