William Clay Ford, Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. and great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, traveled to Cork, Ireland and unveiled a plaque and bench in Ballinscarthy to commemorate 100 years of Ford in the country.
The ceremony took place in the center of Ballinscarthy, a small village about 25 miles from Cork, where Henry Ford’s father, William Ford, and his family lived before emigrating to the United States.
During his visit, Ford will also participate in a civic reception at Cork City Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Cork City, where the contribution of employees of Henry Ford and Son Limited over the past 100 years will be recognized. More than 300 current and former employees are expected to attend.
“I am excited and honored to be coming home to Cork to celebrate 100 years of Ford in Ireland,” says Ford. “Ford has deep roots in Cork, not only through my family’s historical connection, but also through the impact that the Ford factory has had as an engine for prosperity for the area over many decades.”
The company that Henry Ford legally established in 1917 was entitled Henry Ford & Son Ltd., and that continues to be the legal name of Ford in Ireland to this day – the only Ford entity in the world to include the full name of the company’s founder in its title. Henry Ford was quoted as saying there was “some sentiment” to the decision to establish a factory in Cork, due to his family connection and the “wonderful harbor and abundance of fine industrial sites.”
The Fordson tractor was initially the main product manufactured in Cork, and the factory became the largest producer of tractors in the world in 1929. The factory also produced passenger cars including the Model T, Model A, Model BF, Model Y, Prefect, Anglia, Escort, Cortina, and Sierra models, until the plant’s closure in 1984.
Ford today has the widest network of dealers of any automotive manufacturer in Ireland, with 52 dealerships providing direct and indirect employment to 1,000 people across the country.