“Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the beginning of the phase 1 of the Passage Railway Greenway Improvement Scheme on next Monday 22 February. Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding. There is a deep affection for the old railway line walk and in these COVID times is used regularly by locals”.
“The widening of the footpath is to be welcomed and one which locals have called for. I am personally excited that the old Blackrock Station platform is to get conservation works. It is in a poor state and it would be a shame to lose the platform completely due to neglect. I am also excited by the planting of 60 semi mature trees and over 2,000 saplings along the phase 1 from the Mahon Point to The Marina. It is also welcome that the greenway will be kept open to the greatest possible extent throughout the works”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
This presentation outlines the history and recent refurbishment of the iconic ‘Shakey’ Bridge which was originally built under the stewardship of the City Engineer, SW Farrington, who was also the first Chair of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland. Kieran McCarthy, an Independent Councillor in Cork City and a noted local historian with an avid interest in the architectural and industrial heritage of his native city outlines social and economic context of the original construction which opened in 1927 to replace an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. The bridge remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland.
Michael Minehane, Chartered Engineer and Principal Engineer at RPS details the recent rehabilitation of the bridge which re-opened in December 2020, including the special inspection and structural assessment, site investigations and material testing, rehabilitation works, the approach to conservation, structural dynamics and aspects of design and construction.
to a Truce: An Engineering Student Speaks
Cappoquin born Michael O’Donoghue was a final
year student in early 1921, who was studying for his Batchelor of Engineering degree
(mechanical and electrical) in UCC. He was Engineer Officer of the 2nd
Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1. In his witness statement to the Bureau of
Military History (WS1741), he provides insight into his life going between
student and IRA member.
At UCC, Michael details that his class was a
small one, about eight or so, and only three or four were Volunteers. University
College, Cork had at that time great teams competing in the Cork County Senior
Championships in hurling and football. In the years 1919-20-21 UCC teams
reached the Cork County finals more than once. During January and early
February 1921 Michael describes he put in a little hurling practice at UCC’s
Gaelic grounds in the Mardyke. Selection of players for the University’s
hurling and football championships – the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups – were
due for decision. He had not played much in Cork, but he had already competed
in the Waterford championships in 1919 and 1920.
Turning up for hurling practice with Michael was Jerome Twohill,
medical student, an ex-radio operator of the First World War and IRA member,
and who also ‘digged’ in the Shamrock Hotel or lodgings at 31 Grand Parade. Mick
Crowley, too, of Kilbrittain, afterwards second-in-command of Tom Barry’s flying
column in West Cork, also turned up for hurling practices with John Joe Joyce
of Midleton, a good friend of Michael.
Late in January 1921, Michael and volunteer Jack Daly met
Raymond Kennedy, who was acting Officer in Command of the 2nd Battalion.
They asked him to arrange to have them redeployed to the Brigade flying columns
in the county. Raymond told them that the county’s active service unit columns
were at full strength and that scores of City Volunteers were offering their
services for flying column operations in rural areas. He told them that we were far more valuable in
Cork City where the two city IRA battalions were holding down strong crown
According to Michael, Cork City’s IRA members aimed to keep
crown forces occupied and preventing them from being thrown into the campaign
against the Flying Columns in areas from West Cork to North Cork to East Cork. As
well as that British forces in Cork City hardly knew a single IRA officer
either by name or by description.
During January and early February 1921, Michael kept a
Colt .45 with ammunition in his lodgings in the Shamrock Hotel at 31 Grand
Parade. The Shamrock was located above Miss O’Brien’s Restaurant. Many a night the
landlady Mary O’Brien took the gun from him and concealed it herself during the
long night hours, handing it over to him in the morning. There were a number of
IRA men in the building sharing its 6-8 bedrooms, including her own
However, the 1921 Martial Law Ordinance decreed that all
heads at households had to list the names and occupations of all those residing
in their house and that they should hang this list for military inspection on
the inside of the front door. Absentees or fresh arrivals or new residents were
to be especially noted. The penalty for evasion of this blacklisting decree was
all the rigours of a British military court martial. Miss O’Brien had complied,
as did every other householder.
One day when Michael was at the university, a British
military officer with about ten armed soldiers visited 31, Grand Parade. The
officer removed the list of names, questioned Miss O’Brien about the then
whereabouts of all the residents – who were out and noted the names of the men
who were in. He ordered Miss O’Brien to show him to the rooms of these in turn,
leaving his armed soldiers below in the hallway and at the door. He queried
each man of those in about his name, age, occupation, and reason for being in,
and checked, with particulars on list. Satisfied, he returned the sheet to Miss
O’Brien and withdrew with his troops.
That night Michael remembers he kept the gun loaded in his
overcoat pocket hanging in the wardrobe of his room. He shared the room with
Mick O’Riordan, an IRA man with B-Company, 2nd Battalion, who worked
as a draper’s assistant over in the South Main Street.
The night passed without incident and next morning he
brought the gun, loaded and all, with him to the Crawford Municipal Technical
Institute where he was to do some practical work and study in the electrical
Michael’s two IRA class-mates were Bill O’Connor and Ned
Enright. During the morning laboratory work Michael did not feel at all at
ease, carrying in his trouser pocket the big Colt .45. At lunch break, he decided
on going ahead to the University College to hand up his gun to the
quartermaster, Jerry Wall, of A Company, and then return to his digs. Enright,
who was in digs down the Mardyke Walk, volunteered to accompany him as a scout
and look-out. However, on route up College Road, both ran into a group of Black
Both passed through a group of Black and Tans with
nervousness speaking aloud being late for classes. They reached the College
safely and gave the Quartermaster for safe keeping the gun for the company’s
1087a. Former site of the Shamrock Hotel, 31
Grand Parade, Cork City, present day, blue building in the centre (picture:
“Last week’s announcements by the National Transport
Authority (NTA) are really positive for the Marina area and the Old Railway
Line Walk through to Bessboro. Firstly phase 1 of the Greenway has been given
funding of e.3.2m to progress construction. It comprises widening of the existing surfaced area along
the old railway line path from 3m to 5m, the installation of new public
lighting and CCTV, emphasising the heritage of the railway (especially at
Blackrock Station) and producing a biodiversity corridor along the railway
Secondly, it is also really great to see funding
following the public consultation and its vision for the Marina and the Council’s
subsequent vote to pedestrianise the Marina walk full-time.
of e.240,000 has received from the NTA to progress preliminary design,
planning, design team appointment & detailed design for the Marina
Promenade Pedestrian and Cycle facilities project. Many people have complained
that is very difficult to walk over certain sections of the Marina’s road plus
the need to have a think about public lighting after dark and the counter
balance of that with protection of natural habitats around the Atlantic Pond
and eastwards. The project will also seek funding for some
repairs to the quay wall and some general improvement to the public realm
including seating, bike parking etc.
In March/ April this
year, the Infrastructure Development Directorate of Cork City Council will be
publishing a notice seeking tenders from suitably qualified and experienced
Design Consultants for the upgrade and enhancement of the Marina (Centre Park
Road to Blackrock Village).
By the end of 2021
City Hall officials aim to present a recommended layout to Council members with
construction to follow in early 2022 subject to the necessary consents and
Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding”.
On Tuesday, 16 February at 7pm the latest in a series of online talks by Engineer’s Ireland will be available: The History and Rehabilitation of Daly’s Bridge (The Shakey Bridge) presented by Michael Minehane, Chartered Principal Engineer at RPS and Kieran McCarthy, noted local Cork historian.
“As part of the Cork Regional 80th Anniversary celebrations, we are delighted to host this presentation on the history and refurbishment of the iconic “Shakey” Bridge which was originally built under the stewardship of the then City Engineer, SW Farrington, who was also the first Chair of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland” says Ronan Keane, current Chair.
The presentation will outline the social and economic context of the original construction, first opened in 1927, replacing an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. It remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland. Michael Minehane says, “I will be giving the second part of the talk which will outline the recent rehabilitation of the bridge which re-opened in December 2020, including the special inspection and structural assessment, site investigations and material testing, rehabilitation works, approach to conservation, structural dynamics and aspects of design and construction.”
Kieran McCarthy will talk about the history of the bridge “of all the bridges in the city centre island, one can argue that Daly’s Bridge is the one which holds the fascination of the public the most. The removal of the main body of the bridge to deep clean it off site caused a large tinge of public sadness. Its return to the Banks of the Lee in the spring of 2020 heralded hope, and almost a sense that a valued family member had returned. The bridge’s essence has transcended time from a physical bridging point to one of playfulness, one of fun, and one whose shakiness is a key part of Cork’s Cultural Heritage.”
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has warmly welcomed €29.6 million in funding announced by the National Transport Authority to improve sustainable transport across Cork City in 2021.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “Funding has now being unlocked by Cork City Council to progress projects such as building a pedestrian bridge from Grange to Tramore Valley Park (e1.5m), improvements along the greenway of Old Railway Line Walk (e3.2m) from the Marina to Rochestown. For Douglas, funding has also been unlocked for extending the Ballybrack valley walk (Mangala) further uphill (e800,000) as well as pedestrian design works at Donnybrook Hill (e500,000), Coach Hill (e375,000) & Clarke’s Hill (e375,000)”.
Chief Executive of Cork City Council, Ann Doherty said: “The National Planning Framework 2040 envisages that Cork will become the fastest growing city region in the country with a projected 50%-60% increase in population in the next 20 years. This demonstrates unprecedented confidence in Cork and its future but such significant projected growth means that we need more sustainable transport options so that the increased numbers living, working and visiting our city can move around easily and sustainably.”
9 February 2021, “In a response to a question posed by Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy ahead of Monday evening’s full council meeting, Cork City Council’s Director of Housing Tadhg Keating outlined the investment in homeless services last year”, Estimated €9m to be given to homeless services in Cork city this year, Estimated €9m to be given to homeless services in Cork city this year
to a Truce: The Compensation Claims Begin
This month, one hundred years ago, the
Recorder or Chief Magistrate for Cork City, Matthew Bourke, began
the municipal hearings for the compensation claims arising out of the Burning
of Cork in December 1920. A total of 682 claims were before him and they were
to occupy the court for several weeks. A handful were written up in the Cork
Examiner and reveal the depth of the damage done but also the early steps
being taken to rehabilitate livelihoods and building stock in the city centre.
On 17 February 1921, the first case taken was
that of the proprietors of the Munster Arcade – Messrs Robertson, Ledlie,
Ferguson and Company, who claimed losses of £405,000. On top of this there was
a claim by the landlord of the premises Charles Harvey. The two sets of solicitors
present J J Horgan and Messrs Staunton and Sons put forward their respective cases.
Mr Horgan described uniformed crown forces, converging on the Munster Arcade in
the middle of St Patrick’s Street on 11 December 1920 after setting Grants and
Cashes on fire. He continued to detail the blowing in the front windows and the
throwing in of explosives. With the front on fire, the five or six employees in
the building made their way to the door leading to Elbow Lane.
The employees were met by several uniformed men
and held up. Some of the men entered the premises taking with them explosives
and tins of petrol and a bag containing some heavy substance. They went upstairs
and set fire to the other parts of the premises. Meanwhile, the employees were
let go at the door but were met by another party of uniformed men who told them
to go back and shots were fired at them. They finally managed to escape into
Cook Street and took refuge in a house there.
The Munster Arcade also had premises in Oliver
Plunkett Street, where a furniture business was mainly carried on, and these
were destroyed completely. With regards to damages, it was estimated that it
would cost at least £93,450 5s 1d to rebuild this latter building. They had a
cabinet factory at the other side of George’s Street, which would cost £7,774
5s 9d to rebuild. Then there was a laundry and shirt factory held under a
yearly tenancy in Robert Street, the contents of which were valued at £583 9s
2d. They were not making a claim for the reconstruction of these premises as
they were only yearly tenants, but he understood that a claim had been lodged
by the owner.
Then there were the interior fittings and
equipment on the St Patrick’s Street site. With regard to the stocks, every single
item was destroyed, but fortunately the books were kept in a fireproof room,
and they were saved. The company desired that not one halfpenny more that they
had lost should be awarded. They wished to make no profit as regards these
stocks. Their last stocktaking was on 31 July 1920 and the stock at that time
was taken at the cost price, except where the value was less than cost price by
reason of certain goods having been a long time in stock. That value was
£74,507. Since that date there was added stock at the cost price of £59, 626 5s
10d, which was brought up to £59, 895 11s 1d by freight and carriage charges,
making a total stock of £134 402 11s 1d.
Sales in the same period and from 31 July
amounted to £45,855 15s 4d. Some goods that were also on approbation at the
time of the fire brought the net loss as regards stock-in-trade to £88,146 15s
In addition, the company had erected
temporary buildings, but they felt that the temporary trade pursued in them
would only pay its way. They estimated that there was no probability of getting
a place of the magnitude of the Munster Arcade into operational order under a
period of about three years. The company did not expect in substance to make
any profits of the company for three years totalling £37,341 or an average
roughly of £12, 447 per year. The auditors considered that the figure would be
a very reasonable and moderate claim for the injury done to the business.
The company had also taken a shop at 97 St
Patrick’s Street, for which they had to pay £406 subject to a yearly rental of
£130 and they had to erect temporary wooden premises costing £3,500. During the
cessation of work they had to pay salaries for a month, as well as paying the rent
of the destroyed premises for two months.
Evidence was then presented by Patrick Barry
who was a dispatch employee, Mrs Gaffney who was a housekeeper at the premises,
and Finbarr McAuliffe, who was an apprentice. Mr Robert Walker was also
examined. His father, Robert, was the architect of the original Munster Arcade
premises and Robert (Junior) presented the original plans of the premises.
Robert had prepared a detailed estimate of
the cost of re-constructing the premises as they were before. The Arcade, he
said covered three-fifths of an acre, and noted that the cost to rebuild it
would be £119, 742 and it would take three years to complete the work. Mr Denis
Lucey, Building contractor, Denis O’Sullivan, Furniture Department, Patrick
Barry on the cost of plumbing, heating, and gas fitting. John Rezin gave
evidence of the value of the claim for customers goods in possession of the
company at the time of the fires as well as the employee tools and personal
Matthew Bourke, the Recorder,
ended the Munster Arcade cases and the following day gave his verdict. He
deemed that some of the figures given bordered on excess and gave a
compensation figure for £213,647. However, with the British government not set up to give compensation.
The Munster Arcade, and the rest of the 681 claims would have to wait until
after the treaty was signed in January 1922 before any movement was made on
resolving compensation claims. Indeed, reconstruction only began at the Munster
Arcade in 1924 it was to be in late 1926 before the new premises was finished.
1086a. Munster Arcade pre Burning of Cork, December 1920 from Stratten and Stratten’s Dublin, Cork, and the South of Ireland 1892 (source: Cork City Library).
1086b. The reconstructed Munster Arcade building,
present day, now Penneys (picture: Kieran McCarthy).