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20 Sep 2017

McCarthy: New Access Ramps to Railway Line a Positive Step, September 2017

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    Cllr Kieran McCarthy has expressed his concerns that a happier balance needs to be maintained between cyclists and pedestrians on the Old Railway Line. To facilitate improved access, new access ramps between Mahon & the Passage to Docklands Greenway will be complete and ready for use very shortly. The ramps are designed at a shallow gradient to facilitate ease of access for pedestrians & cyclists. The work was funded by the National Transport Authority, designed by Cork City Council Roads Design Office and constructed by McGinty & O’Shea Ltd. A follow-on landscaping contract (sponsored by a local developer) will be undertaken in the coming weeks. This larger project is currently under development with Part 8 Planning, detailed design and construction tendering scheduled for 2018.The overall objective of the package of work is to enhance the attractiveness of the greenway and optimise the number of pedestrians & cyclists using it.

   Cllr McCarthy noted: “The project is phase one of a larger plan to enhance and improve the full length of the Greenway including additional access ramps, widened and improved pavements, public lighting, cctv, landscaping etc. When complete, the greenway will serve as both a recreational and commuter route for cyclists & pedestrians only living in the city centre (or along the route) and working in Mahon”.

    In addition, the Mahon Bus Gate, situated at the eastern end of St Michael’s Drive, is now complete and operational. Mahon Point Shopping Centre now serves as the terminus point for the very popular 202 Route. The terminus is situated in close proximity to the Mahon Point Shopping Centre entrance thereby facilitating passengers comfort and convenience as they can wait within the Centre until their bus arrives.

    Cllr McCarthy notes; “I welcome the erection of a real time passenger display panel to inform passengers of the expected arrival time for the next bus. It is great to see national funding being invested into the south-east ward. The Bus Gate was funded by the National Transport Authority, designed by Cork City Council Roads Design Office and constructed by McGinty & O’Shea Ltd.

19 Sep 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 28 September 2017

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914a. SS Inniscarra berthed at Penrose Quay, c.1915


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 28 September 2017

The Wheels of 1917: The Irish Convention in Cork


    In the wake of the Easter Rising, British Prime Minister Lloyd George summoned a convention of representative Irishmen to try to solve the ‘Irish question’. The Convention was first suggested by Lloyd George in May 1917 as a way to break the deadlock around the issue of Home Rule for Ireland. Its membership comprised of the following categories; Government nominees (15 members), Irish episcopate (7), Irish Party (5), Ulster Party (5), Irish peers (2), Southern Unionists (5), Lord Mayors and Mayors (6), County Council delegates (32), Urban district councils (8), Chambers of Commerce (3) and Labour delegates (7) Sinn Fein (members did not attend). From the outset, intentions, reservations and expectations differed considerably. The Nationalist MPs T P O’Connor and Stephen Gwynn came to the conclusion that a Conference might be the Irish Party’s only hope of salvation.

    The Irish Convention was invited to Cork by the Lord Mayor, Thomas C Butterfield. The Cork meeting, the first to be held outside Dublin, was held on Tuesday 24, Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 September 1917. The debate was held at the Crawford Technical Institute at Sharman Crawford Street. The majority of the delegates reached the city on the evening of 24 September by a special train which left Kingsbridge, Dublin at 2 o’clock, and completed the journey in three hours. Between Dublin and Cork one stop was made – it was at Thurles, where Bishop Harty, Archbishop of Cashel, joined the train. At the Glanmire terminus in Cork the delegates were received by the Lord Mayor and members of the Cork Reception Committee, and escorted to motor cars in waiting outside the main building of the railway station. The delegates were motored to their lodgings during their stay in Cork.

    MPs John Redmond and J Devlin did not travel by the special train but reached Cork by motor car shortly after six o’clock. Though no public announcement had been made regarding the delegates’ arrival in the city, a large crowd assembled inside and outside of the station, and extended to the distinguished visitors a very cordial welcome. Three days were allotted to the Cork Convention, and hopes ran high that the visit would help delegates acquire a grasp of political leanings and its challenges in the south of Ireland.

    Every effort was made by the public boards of the city to impress the visitors. Indeed, one of the recreational activities was heading down the harbour and viewing the Lord Mayor engage in the Throwing of the Dart ceremony. One hundred years ago, the ceremony was performed every three years, and was always regarded with interest by Corkonians. A distinguished company always joined the Lord Mayor in asserting the ancient rights of the Mayor as admiral over the port.

   The City of Cork Steam Packet Company’s fine steamer, SS Inniscarra left the Custom House quay about l pm. The Inniscarra, which had a gross tonnage of 1,412, was built at Newcastle by Wigham Richardson, and Co. in 1903. In making the journey down the river the visitors admired the scenery of the river and the buildings and histories on each river bank each with their own narrative of the ancient past, change, struggle and opportunity within the Cork region.

   Spectators noted with interest the preparation work ongoing for the Ford Factory, passed through the sweeping spaciousness of Lough Mahon, admired the big houses and woodlands at Glanmire on the one side and Rochestown on the other. They were inspired by the dockyards at Passage, Rushbrook, and Haulbowline. It was 2pm when the steamer, decked with flags, passed by Queenstown, and the visitor enjoyed the beautiful peal of bells in St Colman’s Cathedral. American and English destroyers, and various other craft moored in the harbour, were also objects of discussion.

    As the ship journeyed out past Roche’s Point, the civic procession made its way to the bow of the ship. There the Lord Mayor, in his robes of office, and wearing the Mayoral Chain, took the Dart in his hand, and saying: “In assertion of the ancient rights of the Lord Mayor and citizens of Cork over all places in and to which the sea ebbs and flows between Cork Head and the Western part of the Port of Cork, and Poer Head on the Eastern part of the, same port, and as far as the Castle of Carrigrohane on the western side of the City of Cork. I now cast this Dart,” he threw the javelin into the sea.

    Ironically eight months later, on 28 May 1918, news broke that the SS Inniscarra bound from Fishguard to Cork had been sunk by a German submarine. All on board were lost except the captain the chief engineer and three seamen who were landed at Queenstown. The captain was injured. The remaining 37 men who were on board went missing. The vessel sank within a very short time after being torpedoed and some of the ropes attached to one of the boats got entangled and the occupants were thrown into the water. One of the survivors succeeded in getting into a boat and was taken on board the submarine. Another reached a raft.



914a. SS Inniscarra berthed at Penrose Quay, c.1915 (source: Cork City Library)

914b. Participants of the Irish Convention on board the SS Inniscarra, 1917 (source: Irish Life, 1917)


Upcoming Walking Tour: Saturday 30 September 2017, Blackrock Village, historical walking tour with Kieran, meet at Blackrock Castle, 12noon (free, duration: two hours, ends near the village)

914b. Participants of the Irish Convention on board the SS Inniscarra, 1917

18 Sep 2017

Songs from the Heart, An Evening of Musical Theatre, Sunday 24 September 2017

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Songs from the Heart, An Evening of Musical Theatre, 24 September 2017

17 Sep 2017

San Francisco Delegation to Cork, September 2017

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   Mr Edwin Lee, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco will lead a delegation of over 80 from the Golden Gate City to Cork. The delegation represents a wide cross section from the business, political, education, government and art and culture sectors. San Francisco is a sister city of Cork with the relationship between both cities having been established in 1984.

   Last September, Mayor Lee accepted an invitation to attend the 3rd UNESCO Learning Cities Conference which is being held in City Hall, Cork September 18- 20. Mayor Lee will address over 600 national and international delegates who will share experiences and explore how Learning Cities can foster sustainable development for all our cities.

   This delegation, the largest of any to date to Cork, will further foster the strong links between San Francisco and Cork. In particular, two areas for future further collaboration have been identified- education and food.  On Sunday afternoon, the formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the fields of education and lifelong learning will take place at City Hall. On Wednesday morning, another MOU, or agreement, will be signed in the English Market between The English Market and The Ferry Plaza, San Francisco.

   The MOU’s will put on a formal footing both cities commitment to strengthening relations and enhancing cooperation in the areas of lifelong learning and the artisan food communities.

   The delegation has a very busy itinerary while in Cork.  This itinerary includes among many a visit to Pairc Ui Chaoimh, meetings and events with Cork City Council, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, Cork Chamber, UCC, Port of Cork, An Garda Siochana and various arts bodies in the city. Various site visits and walking tours will also take place including visits to Apple, Johnson Controls and Voxpro, a Cork company with a base in San Francisco.  This will provide both cities with the opportunity to discuss best practise in a wide variety of fields.

16 Sep 2017

Cork Culture Night, Friday 22 September 2017

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Culture Night 2017 will take place on Friday 22nd September. On Culture Night, arts and cultural organisations open their doors until late with hundreds of free events, tours, talks & performances.



16 Sep 2017

UNESCO Conference – Cork Learning City 2017

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   Cork has been successful in its bid to host the third UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities Conference in Sept. 2017. The two previous conferences were held in Beijing 2013 and Mexico 2015, each involved over 600 delegates from countries worldwide. The conference will be presented by UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning, held in Cork City Hall, from Sept 18th -20th 2017, supported by Cork City Council and Cork ETB hosted with its Learning City Project partners, UCC, CIT, and other agencies in the city.

Sept 20th Learning Festival Showcase Programme

This is a first for Ireland and for Europe:

    Cork is the only Irish city currently recognized by UNESCO for its excellence in the field of Learning, and was one of just 12 cities globally, and 3 in Europe, presented with inaugural UNESCO Learning City Awards in 2015. A case study of the city was published by UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities, Case Studies of Twelve Learning Cities also in 2015. The other two European cities are Espoo (Finland) and Swansea.

   Cork successfully bid against 3 other European cities to host the conference because of its track record. The international conference presents Ireland with a unique opportunity to further cement the reputation of the country and the city as a centre of excellence in education and learning. The UIL Directorate team visited Cork during the Lifelong Learning Festivals of 2015 and 2016 and selected the city following a strong bid prepared with the assistance of the Cork Convention Bureau who have recognised experience of hosting international conferences of this scale in the city previously.

16 Sep 2017

Myth Busting, Cork City Council & Cork City Expansion

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Advertisement in Irish Examiner, taken out by Cork City Council, 16 September 2017

Myth busting, Cork City Council City Expansion, MacKinnon Report

16 Sep 2017

Blackrock Village Festival, 16 September, 2pm-6pm

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Blackrock Festival poster, 2017


   The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Tony Fitzgerald has praised the work of the local community in Blackrock ahead of the inaugural Blackrock Village Festival. The Festival takes place on Saturday 16 September 2017, from 2pm to 6pm.

“It is just a short three months since the Blackrock Harbour Renewal Project was completed and formally opened”, said the Lord Mayor. ˜Cork City Council has invested over e2.5 million in upgrading the harbour and the public realm in this historic village. We are delighted to be supporting the local community in celebrating the history, the heritage and the spirit of Blackrock Village”.

The festival will include live entertainments, an open market, puppetry, boat racing and much more.

The various community stakeholders including residents and business interests have worked proactively to create this new festival.


Tram at Blackrock Pier, c.1900

14 Sep 2017

A Stroll in the South Parish, Wednesday 20 September 2017

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    As part of the UNESCO International City of Learning Conference in Cork and the showcase day of lifelong learning in the city, a walk through the South Parish will take place on Wednesday morning, 20 September. It is hosted by Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Cork Healthy Cities and Cork Food Policy Council.  The tour encompasses the historic origins of Cork as well as a showcase of emerging projects in the South Parish area. Starting at Ellizabeth Fort at 11am, it proceeds to St Stephen’s Sustainable Food Laboratory, the site of the c1700 St Stephen’s Hospital for lepers & lazars and the nineteenth century Anabaptist Burial Ground. The site, which was formerly a basketball court up to recently is now a collective, member-led, self-funded, urban agriculture project focused on growing food organically for its members. The walk continues to the Summerhill South Seventeenth Century Quaker Burial site. This is an opportunity to see behind the walls of the Burial Ground of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) & discover the richness of the plant & animal life in this urban green area.

    The final site visited is St Finbarr’s Hospital, originally the Workhouse for Cork, constructed by the Poor Law Guardians in late 1841, and now a Healthy Campus Health Service site with a therapeutic garden for patients. Whilst hearing about the historic richness of the area, see the first signs of autumn, as nature prepares for hibernation. You will learn about the importance of preserving biodiversity & how we can all contribute to this. You might get a feeling for the peaceful stillness of these green oases in the middle of Cork City.

    Meet at the entrance of Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street at 11am. Tour is free; please wear suitable clothes & shoes. All welcome. Cork Food Policy Council advocates for innovative community food initiatives that seek improvements to the food system to increase equitable access to quality food. Cork is a WHO Healthy City. The aim of Healthy Cities is to improve and promote population health through health policy, inter-sectoral collaboration & community participation.

14 Sep 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 14 September 2017

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912a. American Sailors at Queenstown now Cobh in 1917


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 14 September 2017

The Wheels of 1917: American Sailors on Cork Streets


     In early September 1917, a coast to coast call for military men was made across the United States of America. The calls strove for a quarter of a million men to enlist in the American forces on battle fronts in Western Europe. They were asked to gather at the mobilisation camps. In the first week of September up to 30,000 men were paraded in New York. They were drawn from 26 States and the district of Columbia. This division, which was sent off to France, represented more than half of the states of the United States.

   Over the two years between 1917-1919, thousands of US naval personnel would be stationed in Cork Harbour and Bantry Bay, engaging in the war against German U-boats and seeking to ensure convoy security. In September 1917 in Queenstown (now Cobh) according to the diary of American Naval Commander Joseph Knefler Taussig, there were eight American destroyers – Wadsworth, Porter, Shaw, Ericsson, Jacob Jones, Paulding, Burrows, and Sterett –  all helping to convoy merchant ships in the Irish sea. Their wide web of facilities in the county by war”s end comprised sites in Cobh, Passage West, Haulbowline (now the Irish Naval Service headquarters), Ringaskiddy, Aghada, Bere Island, Berehaven and Whiddy Island. Aside from their storage and barrack sites, the Americans also set up training areas, recreational centres and a hospital.

   The hundreds of sailors involved in these ships were quite the celebrity in the harbour and in the city. In July 1917, the officers of the Cork County Cricket Club wrote to the US embassy in London offering their pavilion and grounds at the Mardyke to the Americans should they need them. The very offer led the commanders of two of the Cobh-based vessels, the USS Melville and the USS Trippe,  to think about staging a baseball match between their respective crews. it was decided to use it to raise funds to support the local Queenstown War Workers fund. It was played on a midweek July afternoon before a crowd of 3,000 people. There were many American sailors among them, but the majority were local onlookers.

    In addition, some newspaper reports (Cork Examiner & Evening Echo) noted that hundreds of young women each night were drawn to Queenstown to mix with those sailors on shore leave. That was enough to raise the tempers of some sidelined local men. In the city on Monday 3 September 1917 a party comprised of young boys hissed and jeered at American sailors whom they chanced to meet. It started in King street (now MacCurtain Street). American sailors accompanied by young girls attracted the attention of a number of young fellows, who immediately vented their resentment by jeering. They followed the sailors and girls until quite a large crowd gathered and the girls and sailors parted. They passed another number of Americans, and the crowd directed their efforts against these. The crowd followed and jeered at them to the Lower Glanmire Road Railway Bridge. Here the police intervened, and moved the crowd back towards King Street. Near the Coliseum an American sailor, standing in the portico of the theatre, was the centre of attention. It transpired he was attacked by a group of youngsters.

    The police continued to move the crowd along King Street, down Bridge street, and on to Patrick’s Bridge. By the time the activity had dwindled somewhat and matters were quieter. But a group of juveniles, bearing a Sinn Fein flag in front, crossed over the bridge in the direction of Bridge Street, where the police were in force. They had not gone, far when the police, with batons in hand, charged them. The party ran down Pope’s Quay, and some stones were thrown, amidst shouts of “Up Dublin” and “Up the Huns”.

    Following the city incident, the American sailors were forbidden to come into Cork City. With restricted shore leave in Queenstown there was a number of disturbances there involving American sailors and local civilians. The civilians displayed ill-feeling towards women from Cork City who had been travelling to Queenstown each night to meet the sailors. Police in Queenstown reported several incidents of disorder, but these mostly arose from the Americans arguing among themselves whilst on shore leave. Lively behaviour and a few isolated “scraps” were reported, but there were no assaults or damage to property. Local police confirmed that the glass door of a public house on King Street was broken by a party of American sailors. It is not known if the incident occurred owing to an accident or resentment on being refused drink after authorised hours.

    Tensions were heightened on Saturday 8 September 1917 when a Cork labourer was killed during disturbances involving an American sailor at Queenstown. The Haulbowline man, Fred Plummer, was struck by the sailor with a closed fist, his head hitting the concrete flagged footpath of the beach. Plummer was unconscious when taken to Queenstown General Hospital, where he subsequently died from what an inquest found to have been a fracture of the skull.

   To highlight the social history of the American Navy in Cobh in 1917, an exhibition has been researched and prepared by archaeologist and historian Damian Shiels. It is designed and produced in association with Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh and is on display till 17 September. It is entitled Portraits: Women of Cork and the U S Navy 1917-1919 and explores the marriage of some American sailors and Cork women. There is also some great information on this era on display in Cobh Museum.


912a. American Sailors at Queenstown now Cobh in 1917 (source: Cobh Museum)

912b. U S Sailors patrolling streets of Queenstown (source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington)

 912b. U S Sailors patrolling streets of Queenstown