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15 Jan 2018

Cllr McCarthy: Joined-Up Thinking Crucial for Future of Cork’s Coal Quay

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Press Release:

    A call has been made on Cork City Council that a Coal Quay Stakeholders be created to bring together the various traders and residents on this historic street. Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has made the call following some discussion between stakeholders on the street; “It is clear that some plans by different stakeholders are similar but others are not aligned; there are tensions on the street between the aspirations of the traditional traders and the larger restaurants and pubs on the street. A lot more harmonisation of ideas needs to take place, a lot more joined up thinking”, noted Cllr McCarthy.

    The City Council Executive recommended that the setting up of Cllr McCarthy’s call for a Coal Quay Stakeholders Forum be postponed for the short terms and be reviewed again when present initiatives have concluded. Replying to Cllr McCarthy at the City Council’s recent planning functional meeting with councillors, the Director of Services Pat Ledwidge detailed that in 2014 the City council published the City Centre Strategy and subsequent yearly action plan. A key part of this has been the division of the City Centre into Quarter Areas and the assignment of a Quarter Champion and Area Planner to each area. The Coal Quay/ Cornmarket Street is part of the North Main Street and the Marsh character area/character.

   Over the past 12 months the Quarter Champion, Area Planner and City Centre Co-ordinator have met on numerous occasions with representatives of the residents and businesses on the street. Part of this process has been together all of the various needs of these stakeholders with a view to building up key networks on the street, which will inform and facilitate the future development of the street. Mr Ledwidge noted: “The process has worked well to date and will be continued going forward. It would be appropriate to allow this process to move towards a logical conclusion prior to engaging in any other local initiatives”.

   Cllr McCarthy responded: “it is important that each of the stakeholders gets to listen to other stakeholders. The removal of tensions around the future of trade on the street, securing the vibrancy of the street should be ultimate goals, whilst drawing on an enormous heritage. There is massive scope to really push more the market feel on the street, which would be a real shame to lose. It is the DNA of this three-hundred-year-old street and should be woven into its future”.


14 Jan 2018

RTE, Kieran McCarthy, Significant Siking Settlement found in Cork City Centre, 13 January 2018

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Cllr Kieran McCarthy, news piece with RTE News, 13 January 2018 on Late Viking Age Finds under former Beamish and Crawford site, South Main Street


12 Jan 2018

McCarthy’s 2018 Ward Funding

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    Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon and South and Front Douglas Roads, with an interest in sharing in his 2018 ward funding to apply for his funds. A total of E.8,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s ward funds.

   Application should be made via letter (see www.kieranmccarthy.ie for address) or email to Kieran at info@kieranmccarthy.ie by Friday 9 February 2018. This email should give the name of the organisation, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact telephone number, details of the organisation, and what will the ward grant will be used for?

   Ward funds will be prioritised to community groups who build community capacity, educate, build civic awareness and projects, which connect the young and old. Cllr. McCarthy especially welcomes proposals where the funding will be used to run a community event that benefits the wider community. In addition, he is seeking to fund projects that give people new skill sets. That could include anything from part funding of coaching training for sports projects to groups interested in bringing enterprise programmes to encourage entrepreneurship to the ward. Cllr. McCarthy is also particularly interested in funding community projects such as community concerts, coffee mornings and those that promote the rich history and environment within the south east ward. More guidelines can be viewed under ward funds at his blog at www.kieranmcarthy.ie.

11 Jan 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 11 January 2018

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928a. Ad for Cork Butter Merchants 1919, 1919, from Cork: Its Chamber and Commerce

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 11 January 2018

Stories from 1918: Matters of Sugar and Butter


    As World War I raged, rationing of food stuffs continued. The British Ministry of Food set up a food control committee for Ireland on 31 August 1917 and many of its regulations, in theory, applied to this country. In Great Britain there were Local Food Control Committees whilst in Ireland the administrative duties were initially entrusted to one control body, the Food Control Committee for Ireland. However, the Committee eventually on 13 December 1917 conferred local committees with the authority to fix retail prices of food supplies.

    One hundred years ago this week, the second week of January 1918, the Food Control Committee of Ireland issued an order, and published it every major newspaper including the Cork Examiner. Entitled “The Sugar Order (Ireland), 1917”, it contained provisions with reference to a rationing scheme of sugar distribution in Ireland, which were similar to those contained in the Sugar Order 1917, relating to Great Britain. Under the provisions of the Irish Order from 6 January manufacturers and caterers in Ireland had their supplies of sugar regulated by the authorities and institutions, and from 3 March retailers and wholesalers were restricted. It was an offence from these respective dates to supply the different “classes of purchasers” with sugar except against vouchers duly issued.

   The task of the distribution of sugar cards in Cork was entrusted to the members of the Royal Irish Constabulary. By the second week of January, the task was almost completed – except for a few cases where persons were absent from their places of abode during the Christmas holidays, or where some last moment persons were just too late in making their needs known to the authorities. Provisions were made for everyone.

   By mid January, all sugar card holders in Ireland had to be registered with their respective grocers who retained half the card. Grocers in the weeks before the scheme came into operation made their arrangements with the Ministry of Food for a regular supply of sugar to meet the needs of their customers, in accordance with the number of cards lodged with them. Questions were asked as to what quantities of sugar were to be given to adults and children. It was taken for granted that the adults’ ration would be half-a-pound per week, as was the case in England. It was believed that in the case of children under, sixteen that a slightly larger allowance was to be made. The system of receipt and checking of the rations as sold by the retailer to his customers was also an issue.

   As sugar cards were been shared with the general public, the Irish Food Control Committee issued an appeal to the public to “exercise as much economy as possible in the use of essential foods, especially bread, butter, milk, and sugar”. The Committee suggested that bread and butter should be served only at breakfast. Eating bread at luncheon or dinner was according to them “merely an unnecessary habit for those who can afford fish, meat and vegetables”. Butter it was stated, was so scarce that “any saving in the quantity hitherto used would be of assistance”.

   To discuss the butter shortage crisis, a meeting of the members of the Irish Butter Trade Association was held on the 9 January at the Cork Butter Market. Mr D Horgan presided. Compared to one hundred years previously, the Cork butter trade was on a slow decline. Further national regulation or even control of the market was not welcome. The Chairman at the outset said the meeting had been called to consider the “attitude of the Irish Food Control Committee” in connection with the distribution, control of grading and rationing of Irish butter, and the possible surplus supply during the ensuing season. The matter was of great consequence to the dairy farmers of the country, and to all connected with the butter trade. Mr Horgan expressed a view on behalf of all the members, that it would be a terrible blow if the Government assumed control and set the direction of the butter trade of Ireland, and that “if it became permanent it would be a disaster”. Cork butter had been locally inspected and graded for over 150 years. He publicly called for strong efforts of their Parliamentary representatives, to invoke their influence on stopping the giving over a great deal of power to government to control the butter trade.

   The following resolution was proposed by Mr Dale: “That the Irish Butter Trade Association are of opinion that the Government should make arrangements to have all grading of Irish butter carried out at this side, but if such an arrangement could not be made Irish butter should be sold at one flat price”.

   A debate ensued by several members. Mr Roche said they all approved of the resolution to a certain extent—that the grading should be done at this side, but that within the British export market, finance because of the war was invested in lower quality grade butter, which decreased support for high quality products, and ultimately eroded the grading process. Ultimately if the demand for Irish butter deteriorated at the other side it would be hard financially on Irish exporters.

   Mr Dale proposed an amended resolution: “The Irish butter trade are strongly of opinion that the grading of Irish butter is quite unnecessary in Britain as shippers will ship under their usual brands; but in the event of grading being insisted on, the trade believe it would be disastrous to Irish trade interests were it to be done outside Ireland”. The resolution was agreed to and sent on to the Irish Food Control Committee.


928a. Ad for Cork Butter Merchants 1919, from Cork: Its Chamber and Commerce (source: Cork City Library)

928b. Ad for Cork Butter Merchants 1919, from Cork: Its Chamber and Commerce (source: Cork City Library)

928b. Ad for Cork Butter Merchants 1919, from Cork Its Chamber and Commerce




10 Jan 2018

Fears over revised heritage site plans for former Beamish and Crawford site, 10 January 2018

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by Eoin English, Irish Examiner Reporter, published 10 January 2018


Above: Part of a Viking piece found on the Beamish and Crawford site.

Concerns have been expressed about a scaling back of heritage space in a landmark building earmarked for regeneration on a site in the medieval heart of Cork.

It follows the release of a new report on the archaeological excavations at the former Beamish and Crawford site on South Main St which has yielded evidence for the earliest urban layout for the city.

Tree-ring dating from samples in one area of the site have dated the remains of a house to AD1070 — 15 years earlier than the urban layout in Waterford. The foundations of a 12th-century church have also been found.

However, developers and site owners BAM, who are behind the €150m Brewery Quarter regeneration plan — student apartments, offices and the controversial events centre — have lodged a planning application seeking amendments to a previously granted planning permission relating to the site’s historic Counting House brewery building.

The original plan had just over 1,400sq m of heritage space within the building to tell the story of the site. The developers want to reduce it to just over 800sq m.

Cllr Kieran McCarthy, a historian, said he has concerns about this move, especially in the wake of the report which shows that archaeologists have found:

  • Evidence for the earliest urban layout archaeologically proven for Cork;

  • Stone foundations representing about two thirds of St Laurence’s Church. Preservation of the remains in situ is unlikely however due to unfavourable tidal and environmental conditions;

  • Evidence of land claim and reclamation levels dating from AD1120 to AD1150.

It was reported last year that an impressive wooden weaver’s sword, a wooden saddle pommel and a distinctive wooden thread winder, all of which were well-preserved and elaborately decorated, were also found.

The report notes that there is a “willingness” to see some form of cultural heritage exhibition housed in the redeveloped site but discussions on how that will be achieved are still ongoing between BAM and city planners.

Cllr McCarthy said it was vital that the rich history of the site was told — and told properly.

“The material found on this site is the story of all of us. It is the story of the origins of Cork and we need to ensure that the site’s history is told properly,” he said.

“We need to harness this archaeology, and this history, for the city. The events centre controversy must not be allowed affect how we develop the heritage of this site. This is where the city began. For any other city in the world, this would be a huge showcase.”

Maurice Hurley, who led the archaeological investigations on the site, will deliver a public lecture at the Crawford Gallery on February 7.

It is also hoped that an exhibition of some of the material found on the site could be staged later this year — in May at the earliest.

10 Jan 2018

McCarthy: Advance Planning needed for War of Independence Commemorations

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     Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy at a recent City Council meeting has called for planning for the commemorations of the Irish War of Independence to be advanced and proposals should be sent to Government so that finance can be allocated. Information has been received from the Commemorations Unit the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht regarding a consultation around the next phase of commemorations. Between 2018 and 2023, the State will recall significant historical events that took place between 1918 and 1923. The State’s approach to commemorating the significant historical events during the first of the Decade of Centenaries, underpinned by a supportive structure of public consultation and guiding principles set out in the initial Statement of the Expert Advisory Group to the Government on Commemorations.

     Cllr McCarthy noted: “A consultation process is now underway to create a public conversation around how the significant and sensitive historical events that took place during 1918 and 1923 and related themes might be appropriately remembered. Todate I feel that the commemorative programme has been inclusive, respectful and authentic and these elements need to be retained. The objective of promoting a deeper understanding of differing perspectives on this sensitive period in our shared history has been very positive. Each local authority is now invited further to participate in the ongoing public consultation process”.

    In the Second Statement of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations there are guiding principles to support interested parties navigate the turbulent historical period that followed the 1916 Easter Rising until the admission of the Irish Free State into the League of Nations in 1923. Cllr McCarthy noted: “Cork City Council needs to provide feedback on the importance of recognising the contribution of the City and Region to many of the important events of this time”.

9 Jan 2018

McCarthy: Speed Display Signs to Challenge Drivers to Slow Down

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    Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the roll out by Cork City Council of a number of speed display signs for the purpose of increasing awareness and encouraging drivers to reduce their speed. The presence of a speed display sign will tell drivers to adjust their speed to suit the road conditions and environment. The speed display signs are intended to be located at sites where there is a perception of speeding or a history of collisions.

   Cllr McCarthy noted: “speeding is a large problem in our city and is highly dangerous in residential areas. These new signs will publicly show drivers they need to slow down. It is intended to rotate the use of the available signs across a number of sites. A number of locations were identified and assessed in consultation with An Garda Siochana and a number of bases have been installed at these locations. Signs would remain in place for sufficient time to accommodate monitoring of the impact/effectiveness and the work involved in siting and dismantling the signs”.

   Speed Display Signs are currently in place erected at Boherboy Road, Boreenmanna Road, Harbour View Road and Western Road. These signs have been in place for a number of months and they will be moved in the new year to the following locations; Douglas Hall lawn, Douglas Road on approach to junction with Langford row, Togher Road, Skehard Rd and Glen Avenue. Further rotation of the signs will occur during 2018. Areas being examined for the next rotation include Wilton Corridor, Blackrock to City Corridor, Magazine Rd / Glasheen Rd and Fairhill area.

8 Jan 2018

Kieran’s Question to CE, Cork City Council Meeting, 8 January 2018

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 Question to CE:

To ask the CE on progress made on drawing down government funding to replace fallen and damaged trees in the city after Storm Ophelia? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

8 Jan 2018

From Docklands to the North Mall Walk, 7 January 2018

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A great sunny day on Sunday 7 January to stroll the North Channel of the River Lee.

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

Custom House, North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

North Channel Walk of River Lee, Cork, 7 January 2018

4 Jan 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 4 January 2018

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927a. Postcard of the old Cork Opera House, early twentieth century


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 4 January 2018

Stories from 1918: Entertaining the Citizens


    The column for this year will continue to try to highlight everyday events and local history nuggets from this period of centenary commemorations. The year 1918 brought continuing challenges and opportunities to Cork and Ireland – elements such as rationing, war fatigue, renewed Sinn Féin vigour, the war ending – all offer lenses in telling the story of life in Cork one hundred years ago.

    The first week of 1918 was filled with a host of entertainment options for Cork citizens at a variety of venues, all of which were described in the Cork Examiner. On New Years Eve, on 31 December 1917, the delightful musical comedy The Maid of the Mountains, by the George Edwards Company continued to attract an audience at Cork Opera House. It was the closing week of this company’s visit. George Joseph Edwardes was an English theatre manager and producer of Irish ancestry who brought a new era sin musical theatre to the British stage and beyond. Edwardes started out in theatre management and soon worked at a number of West End theatres. By the age of 20, he was managing theatres for Richard D’Oyly Carte and for the next three decades, Edwardes ruled a theatrical empire. He sent touring companies around Britain and abroad to entertain audiences with performances from Burlesque and Comic Opera to Musical comedy.

        After the George Edwardes Company, the boards of Cork Opera were to be thread by The Warblers, the Cork Pierrot Concert Party. This was a variety show performed by a local company of actors and singers – they sang songs and made up their own parody songs. They performed at the Opera House for six nights and a matinee. A concert party, also called a Pierrot troupe, was the collective name for a group of entertainers, or Pierrots, popular in Britain and Ireland during the first half of the twentieth century. The variety show given by a Pierrot troupe was called a Pierrot show.

   Mr Frank Pitt, manager of the Opera House, having the theatre vacant on Saturday night, 5 January 1918 offered free of cost, to the Society of St Vincent de Paul the space for a concert in aid of its funds. The concert had several singers. Selections were also given by the Butter Exchange Band, under the direction of Mr A K Ogden.

   At the Palace Theatre on King Street on New Year’s Eve, another variety show took place. Amongst the more acclaimed acts was “The Great Como”, the Irish-American Illusionist. His feats had been seen before but were characterised by a “skill and smoothness”. The O’Brien Brothers as comedians and dancers entertained the crowds. The singer known as Wardini and Kathleen O’Mara represented the vocal contributors. The orchestra was under the baton of Mr R H Richards. Short films were also shown.

    Further along on King Street was the Coliseum, which in 1918 had been five years in operation. On New Year’s Eve another variety show was presented. In addition to a fine picture programme, the group, The Cheeros, who were Pierrettes and Pierrots, were performing. They played to crowded houses. Mr J F Mullane was the musical director of the troupe, and the composer of the opening and finale choruses. The film side of the programme consists of a Human Sacrifice, a powerful drama in four parts. The manager, M Tighe was acknowledged in the Cork Examiner at securing a great programme.

   In the city centre at the Father Mathew Hall the pupils of Mrs J F Lyons performed on the first week of January. The piece they presented was In the Days of Tara, written by Mr B McCarthy, Crosshaven. It was an interesting romantic piece and interspersed with popular Anglo-Irish songs with an elaborately well-dressed stage. On 30 January 1907, the Fr Mathew hall was opened on what was then Queen Street. There was a good auditorium for plays and concerts and plenty of rooms for activities such as a billiard room, a card room, a reading room. For a time, attempts were made to run pictures – it was called a Picturedrome. The Christmas Pantomines became popular – the cast being hall members and monies that were made defrayed expenditure. At different times, members organised dramatic societies, bands, orchestras and choral groups. Classes were held in cookery, sewing and needlework, gymnastics and first aid. Outdoor recreation comprised hurling, football and cycling.

     On 4 January 1918, at Cork City Hall a treat was provided for the school children of the city. It was organised by the ladies of the Temperance League. The vestibule and entrances of the City Hall were besieged by an eager and excited throng of juveniles long before the hour arrived for the starting of the concert. Between three and four hundred were admitted but many more hundreds of children had to be refused admission. Their disappointment was somewhat relieved when they were told that the performance would be repeated in the afternoon, and those turned away would be prioritised. Greenmount Industrial School Band lent an added feature of entertainment and the magic lantern picture display, presented by Mr C Fielding was also enjoyed by the children. The other contributions included those by Fr Christy O’Flynn, the girls of the North Presentation Convent and St Marie’s of the Isle school, as well as Greenmount Dancing Class, and Mr Dan Hobbs.

Note: All the 2017 Our City, Our Town columns can be accessed on my website www.corkheritage.ie under the index to the Cork Independent column section.



927a. Postcard of the old Cork Opera House, early twentieth century (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen; Cork City Museum)

927b. Old Cork City Hall, c.1910 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen; Cork City Museum)

927b. Old Cork City Hall, c.1910