“On the 9th May we will celebrate Europe day which is also the 70th anniversary of the Schuman declaration , which is the basis of the European Union we have today. When Ireland joined the European Communities in 1973, few people could foresee that it will evolve in the union we have today.
This sense of community needs to be the centrepiece of the conference on the future of the EU. The conference cannot be a top down exercise but a real participatory mechanism which embraces the needs of the citizens whether they are in Cork or Corsica; in Brussels or Białystok.
Local and regional authorities can build bridges between the EU institutions and the citizen and I hope the European Committee of the Regions can be pivotal in these discussions.
As vaccinations roll out we need to look towards the recovery in our communities and allowing people a step towards normal life. This is why we welcome the Digital Green Certificate as a step to allow European citizens to visit family and friends in different regions or allow business to recover, in particular in our tourism sector.
The Next Generation EU is now available for boosting our recovery, this needs to be made available to finance local projects. This is how we will ensure local sustainable and green jobs which will help the social and economic development of our cities, villages and local communities. The CoR is a willing partner to make this happen.
Finally, after a long way, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we need to #HoldFirm and #Staysafe,Kieran”
Much reference is given in the
newspapers of Spring 1921 to Cork Volunteers from across the batalions of the
Cork IRA Brigades being rounded up and sent to Ballykinlar Internment Camp in County
Down. Monaghan born Frank O’Duffy was interned in Camp II, Ballykinlar from
January to December 1921 and acted as Prisoners’ Commandant in that camp from
June to December 1921.
In his witness statement in the Bureau
of Military History (WS665), Frank describes that there were two internment camps
at Ballykinlar – Camp I and Camp II. Though these two camps adjoined each other
for a short distance at one end being separated only by the double fence of
barbed wire, which encircled each camp they were isolated from each other, and
communication between the prisoners in one camp and those in the other was banned.
Frank relates of this latter issue: “This regulation was overcome, however, by
the simple plan of throwing messages (attached to a stone) from one camp to the
other at the place where the two camps adjoined. To prevent these messages
falling into the hands of the British a code of signals was arranged to
indicate ‘coast clear’, and safe receipt of the message”.
Each camp was self-contained, apart
from the fact that there was only one hospital for sick prisoners. This was
located in Camp I, and this fact was availed of for discussions of important
issues of policy between the prisoners’ leaders of the two camps: a reliable
person from Camp II “went sick” and got transferred to the hospital.
It was also availed of to transfer men who were wanted by British crown forces
from one camp to the other. Though there was a British medical officer on the
staff of the Camps, the medical treatment of the prisoners was left mainly to
their own doctors, of whom there were a number among the prisoners. So, names
could be changed on documentation.
Each camp contained (when full) 1,000
(one thousand) prisoners. These were divided, for purposes of administration,
into four companies (250 men each), and each company was housed in ten huts (25
men to each hut). The companies in Camp I were described as A, B, C, and D, and
those in Camp II as E, F, G, and H. In addition to the huts, in which the men
slept, the camp buildings included large central huts for use as chapel,
dining-hall, recreation (concerts etc.), canteen, cook-house, work-shops, etc.
The sanitary arrangements were very primitive with latrines and buckets.
At first no objection was raised to
the prisoners’ drilling in the camp, and all (especially the younger men) were
drilled for some time each forenoon. A roll was made (and checked, as far as
possible) of all prisoners who were Volunteer Officers, and lectures and
training. Frank details: “Prisoners who had taken part in ambushes or other
military events gave an account of them, and discussions on tactics, etc. took
place. After a few weeks, an order was issued by the British forbidding drill
in the camp, but military training continued secretly”.
Formal classes in subjects such as Irish maths and
surveying also took place. Examinations were held and certificates issued at
the end of some of the educational courses. Lectures, debates, and discussions
were frequently held. Frank describes that historical anniversaries for Wolfe
Tone, Robert Emmet, and host of other names were faithfully celebrated.
Dramatic performances were also staged frequently. Some of the prisoners
devoted all their spare time to the preparations for these performances, (making
costumes, scenery, etc.), and the results of their work sometimes reached a
In his witness statement Frank also compliments the Irish
classes section – who have as he notes, “the most faithful and hard-working of the Irish
teachers” – being Cork’s Cllr Micheál Ó
Cuill (of Cork Corporation). Micheál’s obituary in the Cork Examiner on
19 September 1955 describes that he was a native of the Macroom district,
he came to Cork circa 1910. He was connected with Countess Markievicz in
the founding and organising of Fianna Eireann and a few years later was largely
responsible for the formation of Cumann na mBan.
Micheál was one of the Cork volunteers who paraded at
Easter 1916 hoping to take part in the Rising. When circumstances prevented
Corkmen from playing their part he set out alone for Dublin and had got to the
neighbourhood of the city when the surrender took place. He was arrested and deported
Micheál was a close friend of Terence MacSwiney
and TomásMacCurtain and worked closely with them in the Irish
Volunteers. He became a member of Sinn Féin’s bench in Cork Corporation in
January 1920. It was he who, speaking in Irish,
proposed Tomás MacCurtain for the office of Lord Mayor on 30 January. On
Terence’s death Micheál was sent to be among the Guard of Honour to the deceased
Lord Mayor in London. He also acted tor some time as Deputy Lord Mayor
following Terence’s death before Donal Óg O’Callaghan took on the position. In
late 1920 he was arrested in Cork City and sent to Ballykinlar.
Micheál was an ardent lover ofIrish and
a fluent speaker of it, He was one of theprominent Gaelic League
organisers and teachers in the country and later in time became Vice President
of a Cork branch of the Conradh na Gaeilge. For many years he conducted classes
at An Dún, Queen Street (now Fr Mathew Street). About 1930, he joined the staff
of the Cork County Vocational Education Committee as Irish inspector. He became
very well-known at the summer courses of Ballingeary, which hesupervised
First World War the City of Cork Steam Packet Company lost six vessels, and the
company were determined to replace the losses with the construction of new vessels.
In particular, the new ships were designed to meet the requirements of the
cross-Channel trade, especially the cattle trade. One of the ships replaced was
the SS Ardmore, which was hit by a torpedo on 13 November 1917. It was replaced
by the SS Ardmore II, which looked very similar in design to the original.
On 28 April
1921 at noon, the SSArdmore II made her maiden visit to Cork with
flags flying and decorated with bunting. She was welcomed by the sirens of all
the vessels in the river. She was the largest of the fleet of the Steam Packet Company’s
cross-channel steamers and was built by the Ardrossan Dry Dock and
Shipbuilding Company, Ltd North
Ayrshire, Scotland. From
1919 for a time, Harland & Wolff Ltd managed the yard on behalf of the Royal Mail Group.
Ardmore II was launched in August 1921 in the presence ofdistinguished
company at Ardrossan Port. The Managing Director of the City
of Cork Steam Packet Company Sir Alfred Read, at the launching ceremony, was
very anxious not only to restore their pre-war position in that trade, but to
improve on it, and that they were “contracting for vessels that would give the
maximum of service”.
christening ceremony was performed by Lady Margaret Pirrie. At the event, she was
presented with a silver chalice as a souvenir that looked like the Ardagh
Chalice. Margaret Pirrie was
Belfast’s first woman justice of the peace and the first woman to
receive the freedom of that city. Pirrie was also involved in charity work,
working as president of the Royal Victoria Hospital. She also served on the
Senate of Queen’s University, Belfast, and as president of Harland &
Wolff’s, the Belfast shipbuilding firm of which her husband was chair.
Ardmore II was fitted to carry about 1000 mixed cattle. In addition, she could
carry 75 first-class passengers, and also accommodate for steerage passengers. The
ship was fitted with five steam cranes for handling cargo. The Cork Examiner
described the vessel and its sea route: “She is a beautiful vessel, and most
up-to-date in every way, and an idea of her well-appointed
accommodation may be gathered from the fact that she cost over a quarter of a
million…The Ardmore will ply between Cork and Liverpool, and on her first visit
to Cork to visited and inspected by a fairly largenumber of
people who greatly admired her beautiful proportions. She leaves or Liverpool
to-day at two o’clock”.
the unfortunate strike of joiners, which began in November 1920, the City of Cork
Steam Packet Company was forced tobring the steamer into commission
before her saloon and cabin accommodation were properly built.
The SS Ardmore
II was to be the first oil-burner to be used by a cross channel company between
England and Ireland with a speed of 14 knots. Previously the first steamshiptocross the Atlantic was in 1838 when Cork’s SS Sirius
established the record.
insulation was by the J D Insulating and Refrigerating Company, Ltd, Liverpool,
and the cooling system was by the Thermotank Company, Glasgow. The ventilation was
through the use of tempering batteries by James Keith Blackman Company, Ltd.
and the ventilation arrangement in the cattle spaces was created by the same
Fast forward to 11 November
1940, the SS Ardmore II had on board 500 cattle, about the same number of pigs
(which were deck cargo), and a quantity of agricultural produce. The actual
crew of the vessel numbered 20 and with them were five cattle or bullockmen. Still
owned by the City of Cork Steam Packet Company she was commanded by Captain
Thomas Ford of Liverpool. Thomas had been with the City of Cork Steam Packet Company
for sixteen years. He was well known in Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, Fishguard and
other ports through his lifetime at sea.
On 11 November 1940, the SS Ardmore II departed Cork for
Fishguard with a cargo of livestock. Hours later she was reported missing with
her crew. An uneasy vigil was maintained. Air and sea searches proved futile.
On 26 November one of her lifeboats, unfilled, was washed ashore on the Welsh
coast. The body of Captain Ford was discovered near Aberystwyth on 3 December.
Ten days later that of Seaman Frank O’Shea was retrieved from another Welsh
beach. His remains were returned to Cork for burial.
What caused the loss of the
ship was not verified for nearly sixty years. In February 1998, the wreck of the
SS Ardmore II was found by divers three miles south of the Saltee Islands, off
the Wexford coast, in 183 feet of water. The hull showed signs of a large
explosion from a mine near the engine room. In the Second World War section of
the Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition in Collins Barrack Museum, Dublin there is a
model of the SS Ardmore II and a plaque on Cork’s Penrose Quay also
remembers the 1940 tragedy.
1097a. SS Ardmore II, c.1930 (source: Cork City
1097b. Plaque commemorating the sinking of SS
Ardmore II, Penrose Quay, Cork (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
Douglas Road and Independent Cllr
Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the eleventh
year of McCarthy’s Make a
Model Boat Project. This year because of COVID all interested participants
once again make a model boat at home from recycled materials and submit a
picture or a video of it to the competition organisers. All models should be photographed or
videoed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 23 May 2021.
The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival Team. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘At Home by the Lee’, which is open to interpretation. The model must be creative though and must be able to float. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. For further information, please see the community events section at www.kieranmccarthy.ie
McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “I am encouraging creation,
innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits
for all of us to develop. I am going to miss this year seeing the models float
at The Lough. The Make a Model Boat Project is part of a suite of community
projects I have organised and personally invested in over the years– the others
include the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project with Cork City Council,
the Community local history walks, local history publications, McCarthy’s
Community Talent Competition and Cork City Musical Society.
Journeys to a Truce: The
Ambush of Tadhg O’Sullivan
Targeted round ups of IRA members by the RIC and Black and Tans continued right throughout April 1921. Company Captain within the 2nd Battalion, Cork City No.1 Brigade and Kerry native, Tadhg O’Sullivan was shot on the evening of 19 April 1921. Originally Tadhg was reared on a farm north of the village of Barraduff, County Kerry and was passionate in the study of Irish being inspired by his national school teacher. In his teens, he set off for Cork City, where he was employed on the clerical staff of Messrs Dowdall O’Mahony, butter merchants. Later he transferred to Fords.
joined the IRB and enrolled as a Volunteer. He took an interest in the
organisation of the Fianna – the youth section of the Volunteer movement. He
was active in organising recruitment meetings throughout the county.
eventually rose to becoming Captain of C Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1
Brigade. He was constantly on duty and participated in many major operations in
the City. He was one of the two Kerry men on the inquest jury of the murdered
Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain. Florence O’Donoghue was the other
Kerryman. In the summer of 1920, Tadhg participated in the attack on Farran RIC
Barracks and also in the Barrack Street ambush on 9 October 1920. He was again
to the fore in the Parnell Bridge ambush, which took place on 5 January 1921. He was also one of the Belfast
hungers strikers in 1920. Tadhg was also one of those taken in the big round-up
at Cork Union hospital. However, he was released on that occasion.
Michael Murphy, Commandant, 2nd
Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade in his witness statement to the Bureau of Military
History (WS 1547), describes of Tadhg’s death on 19 April 1921:
“One of my best company captains named Tadhg Sullivan was
held up in Douglas Street by two British intelligence officers in mufti. He
made a dash to escape and got into a house No. 80 Douglas St. He ran upstairs
and got out on the roof through a landing window, closely followed by the two
British officers. Sullivan got on to the roof of the adjoining house when the
officers appeared at the landing window and shot him dead. He was unarmed”.
The Cork Examiner on 20 April 1921 describes that the tragic
occurrence took place in the course of a general roundup in the south and
south-west side of the city, which began about 7pm. Numerous parties of police
from Union quay and Tuckey street stations visited the district, which they
practically enveloped up to Friar’s Walk and Barrack Street.
At 7.30pm pedestrians coming from every point converging on the
district were held up, questioned and searched, and about fifteen
persons were temporarily detained, one man, Liam Barry, residing in White
street, was arrested.
The extensively drawn cordon gradually closed in towards Douglas Streetvicinity. There was quite a large number of passersby, and amongst them, was
Tadhg. He was observed by a party of about eight or nine police. They called on
him to halt, but instead he started to run away, whereupon the police pursued.
As he ran a short distance along the street Tadhg seems to have escaped
the bullets of his pursuers, and then he was seen to suddenly dash into a
house. The police by this time were reinforced by a second party of constables,
coming from an opposite direction. Tadhg was followed into the house – the hall
and stairway of which bore the marks of considerable firing. Cornered as he
was, Tadhg made a desperate effort to escape, and rushing into a back room,
endeavoured to get away through a back window.
Tadhg was in the act of
descending into the yard below, which offered an avenue of escape, when he was
overtaken by his pursuers and shot dead. His dead body with several bullet
wounds was subsequently found in the yard below. Fr
McSweeney, CC, St Finbarr’s South, and Fr Father Nunan, CC, were immediately
summoned, but on their arrival Tadhg had already passed away.
Tadhg’s remains were then conveyed
to Union Quay Barracks, and afterwards transferred in a
military lorry to the Victoria Barracks, where the circumstances of his death were
to be the subject of an inquiry.
On the afternoon of 22
April 1921, Tadhg’s funeral took place from the South Chapel to St Finbarr’s
Cemetery where they were interred in the Republican plot. The cortege was
limited in extent by order of the military and armed soldiers walking on foot
at both sides of the hearse, in three lorries, and accompanied by anarmoured
car. The order was served on the Administrator of the parish about one hour
before the funeral was timed to start was obeyed. Despite the warnings, the
streets from the church – over Parliament Bridge, along the South Mall, Grand
Parade and Washington Street – were lined with people. The coffin was draped in
the tricolour flag.
Have a story of relative
to tell involved with the War of Independence in Cork, get in touch with Kieran
1096a. Portrait of Tadhg O’Sullivan, c.1921 (source: Cork
1096b. House of Tadhg
O’Sullivan’s death, second from the right with plaque above front door
(picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1096c. Gravestone of Tadhg
O’Sullivan, St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
Debate on “The New European Bauhaus and its territorial dimension” high-level event with Ms Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth and Ms Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms. 14 April 2021