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12 Dec 2018

Heritage Podcast with Kieran

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Thanks to Ainle O Caireallain at the Rebel Matters Podcast for interviewing me on my passion for Cork Heritage and creating a whole podcast! It is over an hour long!

http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/7825355

 

8 Dec 2018

Cllr McCarthy: New Art Graffiti Space Found

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Kieran’s Press Release:

   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed news that Council officials from the Tourism, Events Arts, and Marketing Directorate have met with the Graffiti Artists who were involved in the development of the graffiti space at White Street car park. It has been agreed that the relevant stakeholders would to work together to identify a suitable site. A wall near Fitzgeralds Park has been identified as the preferred location by all. Further engagement with the artists is ongoing to agree on any works that may be necessary for the new location to be made fit for purpose.

   Cllr McCarthy noted; “I had two reasons for my recent motion. Firstly I am conscious of how used the former Whites Street carpark was for graffti art; much of it was very good and some walls were changed every month. The walls did reduce the amount of graffiti in town, providing a space for artists. All in all the works pursued on the carpark walls were possibly underestimated and not celebrated in any great way. Much of it was high quality. Secondly I am also conscious of the very positive response to the Mad About Cork murals about town on traffic and ESB boxes. In my own opinion all are tastefully done and don’t aim to insult anyone. In that light my recent motion aims to capture the work of large scale street art in a new space in the city”.

6 Dec 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 6 December 2018

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975a. Recently renovated house, formerly a residence of mathematician George Boole on Batchelor's Quay, present day

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 6 December 2018

Stories from 1918: Plans for the Marsh

 

     Discussions on the influenza epidemic, poverty and housing prevailed across the meetings of Cork Corporation in late November and early December 1918. At the public health committee of Cork Corporation on 26 November 1918 Mr J Horgan (vice-chairman) presided. Dr D D Donovan, Superintendent Medical Officer of Health, reported that the dispensary medical officers had reported 117 cases of influenza in their districts during late November as against 500 cases in previous reports. The spread of influenza still| continued, according to the doctor, in a “mild character”, with a few exceptions. It was visibly on the decline and not in epidemic form. Dr O’Donovan noted: “sporadic, cases, however, must be expected to occur for some time, and I hope that in a week or so the disease will completely disappear”.

     The number of deaths registered from influenza, and pneumonia for the four weeks ending Saturday, 16 November were as follows – 30 deaths occurred from influenza, 17 civil and 13 military and from pneumonia, 14 civil and 5 military. The Vice Chairman said on the whole the report was very satisfactory. He thought that Cork had escaped the worst of the epidemic. Alderman O’Sullivan agreed with the chairman and said the fact that they had escaped so well was due largely to the precautions taken by the committee.

    A joint meeting of the Public Health and Housing Committees of the Corporation was also held on 26 November 1918. Alderman Sir Edward Fitzgerald presided. Alderman P Stack said that during previous years a number of houses had been demolished in the West ward, and all Hanover Street had completely disappeared so far as housing accommodation was concerned, including the lower end of Grattan Street, Portney’s Lane, Broad Lane, Thomas Street, and Bachelor’s Quay. There was no part of the city more in need of housing accommodation than the West Ward and he expressed the need for new housing schemes.

    The Chairman Sir Edward Fitzgerald said he intended to bring before the Committee what he considered was a want left unfulfilled for the previous 30 years. Whenever a housing scheme was on hand the strongest argument in its favour was to get rid of the slums on a proposed site. There was no trouble securing sites outside the city. However, he deemed the flat of the city – the Marsh and the Coal Quay was being forgotten about. There were a number of people living in those localities who could not go to live in proposed places such as Gurranabraher, Mayfield, or elsewhere. He suggested that they should offer a prize of £150 for an accepted design scheme of overhauling the Marsh and Coal Quay districts, and the “rookeries” in the adjoining lanes and alleys. He noted: “The houses should of course be as cheaply built, as possible, but the need was immediate. They could first build a dozen or two, and then continue to build others when they had those completed”.

    The City Solicitor present highlighted the West Ward scheme had not been shelved and was quite as advanced as any other scheme. He detailed that the trouble was that the Corporation were unable to get any information as to the intentions of the Government. He was certain that the moment it became known what the Government meant to do with regard to the financial part of the Housing question, on what terms they could borrow money or what contribution the State was going to make, if any – the Council schemes in Cork could be pushed ahead; “it would not be his fault, or, he was sure, the fault of the Committees, if their schemes were not the most advanced in Ireland”.

    The Chairman said the City Engineer should be directed to make plans in connection with the Marsh site from the Main Street to the Mercy Hospital, with a view to having information of the fullest character preparatory to the holding of an inquiry later on. His suggestion was agreed to. The City Engineer submitted photographs of small open spaces in the city, and the Medical Officer of Health was asked to inspect those, and report whether they were suitable sites. From a development perspective it would take another 30 years before new social housing was developed in the Marsh area of the city.

    Alderman O’Sullivan reported that he attended the Conference of the Irish Municipal Authorities in Dublin. A report presented strived to allocate 1,250 new houses to Cork. It was discussed, and those present maintained that the minimum number of houses should be double that number, namely 2,500 not including the reconstruction of old houses which the City Engineer estimated at 2,000. Mr Cowan, Chief Inspector of the Local Government Board, agreed that the Cork demand for 2,500 new houses was, in his opinion, “reasonable”, and in his report to the Local Government Board he recommended it. Alderman O’Sullivan did not wish to make anything in the nature of political capital out of it, but he thought this scheme demonstrated the necessity of having Irish members in Parliament when the Bill came before the House. When the Bill formerly came before the House it was intended as a purely British measure, but Ireland was included as a result of the continued pressure of the Irish Nationalist Party.

Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.

 

Captions:

975a. Recently renovated house, formerly a residence of mathematician George Boole on Batchelor’s Quay, present day (pictures: Kieran McCarthy)

975b. Wintry perspectives, Banks of the Lee Walkway, from North Mall to the Mardyke, present day

975c. Batchelor’s Quay, c.1900 – former late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century dwellings became slums hosting 15-20 families at a time over a hundred years; many of such buildings were demolished in the early twentieth century.

975b. Wintry perspectives, Bank of the Lee Walkways, from North Mall to the Mardyke, present day

975c. Batchelor's Quay, c.1900

29 Nov 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 November 2018

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974a. Ruined Bishop’s Church, present day

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 29 November 2018

Cork in 50 Buildings

 

   My new book for 2018 is entitled Cork in 50 Buildings (Amberley Publishing). It explores the history of this venerable old city through a selection of its greatest architectural treasures, from the St Anne’s Church, Shandon, regarded as a symbol of the city, to more recent additions such as the tower of the County Hall, once the tallest building in Ireland. This book offers a glimpse to explore behind fifty of Cork’s historic buildings. Below I outline some of my favourite buildings in order to plug the book!

Building #6 The Bishop’s Church

    Protestant Bishop of Cork Peter Browne occupied the See of Cork and Ross, 1710-1735, and lived in a house he personally financed in the south west countryside of Cork City. Bishop Browne was buried in a chapel adjacent his mansion on his estate. The little chapel still exists in the heart of Bishopstown. There was a belfry on its eastern side, now gone. The western side also had a small porch ascended by a semi-circular flight of five steps of cut limestone. In the centre of the Court-yard was the Crown and Mitre set in the pavement with a yellow-coloured stone.

Building #8 The Butter Market

   In 1849, an elaborate Roman temple style portico was added to the front of the butter market and this was designed by Sir John Benson. In the late 1800s, there was a distinct decline in the economic fortunes of the city. The profits of the export provision trade of agricultural products such as butter and beef declined. In 1858, 428,000 firkins of butter were been exported per annum and by 1891, this was reduced to 170,000 firkins.

Building #18 The Distillery

   The house at the junction of the North Mall and Wise’s Hill was the residence of the distiller Francis Wise, after whose family the hill is named. The detached five-bay three-storey former house, built c. 1800, is now in use as a university building. The building retains interesting features and materials, such as the timber sliding sash windows, wrought-iron lamp bracket arch, and interior fittings. In the 1870s Francis Wise of Cork owned 9,912 acres in county Cork and 9,636 acres in county Kerry.

Building #33 The Pepperpot Tower

   St Anne’s Church Shandon was built in 1722 with a distinctive tall tower. It was only in 1752 that its famous bells were installed. Indeed, their fame is worldwide especially with the immortal words of Fr Prout’s poem “The Bells of Shandon” echoing behind their history. Fr Prout was the pen name for Fr Francis Mahony who spent many years of his childhood living nearby, listening to the bells in the early half of the nineteenth century.

Building #34 The Philanthropic Spirit

  The Cork Improved Dwellings Company also built housing in the city. This was a group, which favoured the idea of British philanthropic industrialists building workers’ housing.  Established in 1860 through a shareholding idiom, one could speculate and invest, and get a return whilst at the same time providing an escape for many impoverished families from slum ridden areas of the city. The company eventually built almost 420 houses – Prosperity Square & surrounds, Rathmore Terrace on St Patrick’s Hill and Hibernian Buildings on Albert Road became their flagship projects.

Building #39 The Roman Catholic Cathedral

   The present Cathedral of St Mary’s and St Anne’s is the fifth church on the site since the early 1600s (1624, 1700, 1730, and 1808). The story of the present-day structure is as follows. In 1820, an immense fire greatly damaged the fourth cathedral so much so that it was really the skeleton structure of the burned cathedral that survived. However, all was not lost and shortly after, the bishop of that time, John Murphy delegated to architect, George Pain, the rebuilding of the then 12-year-old cathedral, inside and outside. George Pain was also responsible for the design of buildings such as Holy Trinity Church, St. Patrick’s Church and Blackrock Castle.

Building #42 The Shopping Arcade

   The beautiful Winthrop Arcade opened in March 1926. It connects Winthrop Street and Oliver Plunkett Street by a glass covered way and consists of twelve shops. It was the first Arcade constructed in the Irish Free State.

Building #45 The Toll Booth

  The old St Luke’s Toll Booth is a beautiful freestanding octagonal-plan structure, built c.1880 and is the last reference to an ancient system of paying tolls in the city. The toll booths were owned by the Corporation of Cork and leased out to the highest bidder. In the late twentieth century, the highest bidder for the St Luke’s Booth was Mr Michael Hennessy. His father ran a newspaper business from the tiny building with the family having a nearby news agents shop there for several years.

 

Building #47 The Viewing Tower

The idea for Callanan’s Tower was inspired by the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London, which Michael Callanan visited in 1851. A high limestone tower would be the central point of Callanan’s proposal. The estimated cost of the scheme was £50,000. Ornamental gardens were designed, and the tall tower was constructed approximately, 25 to 30 metres in height, which assumed the shape of a medieval tall castle.

Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.

Captions:

974a. Ruined Bishop’s Church, Bishopstown present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

974b. Callanan’s Tower, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

974c. Toll booth, St Luke’s Cross, Present Day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

974d. Front cover of Cork in 50 Buildings by Kieran McCarthy

 

974b. Callanan's Tower, present day

 

974c. Toll booth, St Luke's Cross, Present Day

 

 

28 Nov 2018

Cllr McCarthy: Pedestrianise Cork’s Marina on Sundays

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Press Release:

    Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for the pedestrianisation of the Marina on Sundays from the Atlantic Pond to almost Blackrock Village.

“The four weeks in October whereby almost 60 per cent of the walkway was pedestrianised has shown that there is public support for the initiative. The play areas on the road added to the enjoyment of the space by families. Great credit is due to local volunteers who manned such areas and traffic barriers. The calm weather of October brought hundreds of people out to experience the Marina in a different light whereby people could enjoy the space without the cars passing through”. 

    Cllr McCarthy, who gave a historical walking tour along the Marina as part of the pedestrianisation project, highlights that the potential to create other activities such as history walks and nature walks is quite high; “It is an area with a rich cultural and natural heritage, elements of which could be further mined. Part of The Marina began its life as a dock for shops called the Navigation Wall in 1761. You also can view the enigmatic sixteenth century Dundanion Castle from the Marina and the gorgeous Blackrock Castle as well as reclamation projects such as the Atlantic Pond from the nineteenth century and railway projects such as the Cork Blackrock and Passage Railway Line. Add in elements such as the story of the rowing clubs and one gets a rich kaleidoscope of stories and memories”.

“In the last few weeks, I have had sustained correspondence by constituents in Ballintemple and Blackrock to move the project of pedestrianisation. There was a recent debate in the Council Chamber whereby the sentiment expressed by the Directorate of Recreation and Amenity is of support but to tie the pedestrianisation to the development of Marina Park. Knowing the timeline of Marina Park is one of a 5-10 year strategy, momentum could be lost with the Marina project. It is my intention to keep the pressure on officials to answer the calls in the short terms from constituents for part pedestrianisation on a Sunday, in line with the methodology developed during October’s Sunday closures”.

For more up to date news on Kieran’s ongoing work and lobbying, check out his new Facebook page, Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

26 Nov 2018

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 26 November 2018

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Question to CE:

To ask the CE about progress on Boole House on Batchelor’s Quay? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Motions:

That Cork City Council enter the European Youth Capital initiative for 2022. It is a title awarded by the European Youth Forum. It is granted to a European city for a period of one year that puts young people at the core of the city’s social, economic, cultural and political life (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That exploration be begun on parking voucher schemes in the Council City Centre carparks – that potentially a person who buys in a city centre shop gets a discount off their parking in a Council multi-storey carpark (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

22 Nov 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 22 November 2018

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973a. Former Cork Lunatic Asylum Our Lady’s Hospital, present day

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 22 November 2018

Stories from 1918: The Struggles of the Cork Lunatic Asylum

 

    November and December 1918 notably coincided with a focus on the Cork Lunatic Asylum in Shanakiel as it struggled to look after its high number of patients whilst at the same time keep its staff happy in their work. Cork was one of the 24 District Lunatic Asylums in Ireland plus it had an auxiliary asylum at Youghal.

   The Annual Reports of Inspector of Lunatics (Ireland) for 1917 and 1918 reveal circa 20,000 patients in the district asylums and auxiliary asylum. Circa 1,000 patients contributed wholly or partly to their support. Over 360 criminals were maintained by state funds whilst the remainder were maintained partly out of the Government Grant and partly out of local rates. Patients in private licenced houses and what were called mental hospitals were supported entirely out of private funds. In the reports, a marked increase in the death rate is noted at the asylums – on average a ten per cent increase, which was put down to cold winters, the advent fever, and/ or the adverse effect of war on the provision of food and the lack of other supplies to already feeble patients.

   At a meeting of the Committee of the Cork Lunatic Asylum on 21 October 1918 the Acting RMS Dr Cashman reported that the total number of inmates in the Asylum was 1,694. The minutes of the meeting, as published in the Cork Examiner, noted that the gathering had under consideration a letter from the Asylum Workers’ Association demanding the limitation of the hours of duty of the staff of the institution to 56 hours per week and £1 weekly over the pre-war rate of wages. Dr Cashman denoted those proposals would need an increased expenditure of between £5,000 and £6,000 a year, which the Cork asylum did not have. In a letter he received from the staff they pointed out that after strikes of brief duration in the asylums of Ennis and Limerick, their wage demands were acceded to in full. Dr Cashman detailed that Ennis and Limerick Asylums were small institutions, where the increase was only a matter of £50, but Cork was a large populated asylum. The only other asylum that Cork could compare with it was Richmond in the North Inner City of Dublin where the latter institution gave the male staff an increase of 19s per week on pre-war rates and female attendants 12s 6d per week. Dr Cashman held the belief that the Cork Asylum had the best paid staff in Ireland.

   By 29 October 1918, the threatened strike at the Cork Asylum had been amicable settled. Negotiations were conducted over a few hours by Fr Thomas Dowling of Holy Trinity Church (who was written about in this column in June of this year). After the meeting it was announced that the Committee of Management and members of the male and female staff had arrived at a settlement. This comprised an increase for the term of the war at 17s per week to all male attendants and 12s per week to all female attendants. All past bonuses were to be cancelled.

   An advertisement seeking female attendants on 11 November 1918 sought female attendants on a salary of £15 per annum, rising to £35 5s per annum and a war bonus at 12s per week and emoluments consisting of board, lodging, uniform and laundry. Applicants had to be over 20 and under 30 years of age and had to be nominated by a member of the Asylum Committee. An applicant’s height had to be not less than 5ft 4ins. There was an examination at the Asylum where reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, and Elementary Irish. Successful candidates were to undergo probationary training for six months, when if unsuitable, their services could be dispensed with.

   On 19 November 1918, Dr Cashman reported that the Asylum had been safeguarded from the prevailing epidemic of influenza. Not a single member of the resident staff was confined to bed. The only officials that had been attacked were those who lived out, and they had been isolated and treated in their own homes, where necessary, by outside medical men, and in these cases the attack had been of a mild type. He recommended that none of the precautions taken should be relaxed. The general health of the inmates he deemed “was excellent for the time of the year”. The typhoid fever that recently attacked the Asylum with such grave results had completely disappeared.

   Rationing of food supplies was ever present. Subsequently, the food supply was of poor quality; the eggs received had been of such a poor quality that they had been refused by patients and staff. They discontinued their purchase and adopted substitutes. The butter supply was also unsatisfactory and rejected on many occasions. The sugar supply was also not being maintained by the contractors.

   Financially the asylum was not living within its financial means. The manager of the Munster and Leinster Bank wrote to the committee with reference to an application for an overdraft of £12,000 to be paid off by April 1919. The manager sought information on what had occurred to prevent this arrangement being carried out and the request for an increase in the overdraft. The committee decided that a letter be written to thee bank acquainting them of the arrangements made to clear off the overdraft.

Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.

Captions:

973a. Former Cork Lunatic Asylum Our Lady’s Hospital, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

973b. Former Our Lady’s Hospital site from the top of Cork County Hall, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

 

973b. Former Our Lady's Hospital site from the top of Cork County Hall, present day

21 Nov 2018

Cllr McCarthy: Stronger Online City Centre Shopping Portal Needed

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Press Release

   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for a stronger online city centre shopping experience. At a debate at the recent City Council meeting Cllr McCarthy raised that 50 per cent of the Republic’s population shop online and spend on average e3000 per year; “eCommerce has had a significant impact on Cork City’s shopping experience. For many people with busy working lives it is easier to buy online. For the young generation, many of them shop online. It is heartening to hear of the Cork. Business Association’s online Cork City shopping portal plus to hear that Cork City’s Local Enterprise Office is helping 50 businesses in the city his year to go online, as well as the Council developing a Digital strategy. All of these strategies need to speed up”.

  “There is still alot of work to do when it comes to promoting City Centre shopping online. Much debate has been had on the need for parking measures. But little debate has happened that more and more we are seeing research reports that to connect with younger consumers,  retailers must develop engaging and relevant social media strategies, as 94 percent of 18 to 24 year olds find their inspiration to purchase on social media.

   Almost two-thirds of those surveyed by Paypal this year used a mobile device for shopping in the last year, which represents a growth of 61 percent of mobile spending in Ireland in 2018 to €2.8 billion. This is a clear indicator that having a mobile-friendly website is no longer an option, but rather a critical success factor for retailers”.

19 Nov 2018

Switching on of the Christmas Lights in Cork, 18 November 2018

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Switching on of the Christmas Lights in Cork, 18 November 2018

15 Nov 2018

Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s Comments, Cork City Council Budget Meeting, 15 November 2018

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Lord Mayor,

Can I thank the CE, the Finance Officer John Hallahan and Cllr Martin, the chair of the Finance Functional Committee for their work on this draft annual budget book.

History is being made this evening as this marks the last budget of over 60 years of the city in its current size. But within the word history are the words Hi Story. And the realities of our future story are mapped out in this document this evening.

At the 2020 budget meeting next November 2019 the members of the Council will budget for 210,000 people and a city five times more in size with more challenges and more calls for funding. This City is ready to take on the challenge of an expanded city. I firmly believe our directors of the various service directorates are ready for the transition and added work. I might clash with them at times and call for more from them on certain elements, but I always respect their frankness and honesty on what can and can’t be done whilst outlining their pride of their staff and their vision of the future.

Reading through the various sections you can see the strengths of our directorates and the ongoing work programmes – the 30 per cent of our income spent on Housing with several hundred social housing constructs coming on stream in the next two years – 17 per cent on roads with several construction and enhancement projects ongoing.

I have been vocal that our staff at the housing desk everyday at reception, community wardens and homeless outreach team are collecting the voices of citizens and acting upon them for those who need support in the accommodation sector. I do believe that once the city expands that much work needs to be done on where we can build mixed housing projects.

On roads, I believe firmly that the city has seen nothing yet in terms of traffic problems as the economic bounce continues to reach citizens on the ground. I am content that we are on the right track regarding our mobility measures but I am going to take this opportunity this evening to re-iterate strongly my call for more parking incentives and marketing measures. It has also become clear that there has been a break down in communication between the small trader and the Council, where much work needs to be done to resolve it.

When you read through service divisions such as water services – you can see the extent of the drainage operation and maintenance, you can see read about the economic development programmes and the depth of the EU programmes we are part of.

I have been vocal that this city needs to be more aware of its southern capital position and being a European Regional Hub. So I am proud that members of staff have got stuck into a range of Interreg projects from start-ups to social innovation plus from a budget perspective the added funding the city can garner from EU urban funding projects.

In environmental services, a glance through the draft budget you can find out about waste planning, recycling measures, the great work of the Lifetime Lab Education Programme and Fire Department. I think sometimes we don’t always state that this is a budget not only about services but a budget for those who carry out tasks and who want their wish list answered.

In recreation and amenity, you can read about our tourism projects in Elizabeth Fort and Shandon, the myriad of festivals, arts projects, libraries projects, capital park projects. I have been vocal to get Tramore Valley Park open plus have a strong Urban Forestry programme. I am happy that we are edging more and more towards them.

And you can also read about agriculture, health & welfare and aspects such as our ongoing work on the expansion of the boundary.

Indeed, from this budget document you can see the range of work that Cork City Council does to make a living city – it is clearly outlined in this document this evening. It is a very difficult task to respond to the myriad and myriad of asks of customers and citizens. Those in the County suburbs worried about inclusion in the city can from this document see clearly that Cork City Council has a vision. We have the ambition. We have the work ethic. Ultimately, using our own wordage, We Are Cork. However, with that accolade comes much work and responsibility especially with the new canvass of satellite county areas entering Cork City next year.

Thanks.

Ends.