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23 Mar 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 23 March 2017

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887a. Map of Greenmount Industrial School and surrounds, 1949

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 23 March 2017
The Wheels of 1917: The Question of Reform


    This week, one hundred years ago, coincided with the release of the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools in Ireland for the year 1915. Summarised in the Cork Examiner, some insights were given into the structure of such schools. The full report is also digitised as part of the online archive project on British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland, 1801-1922. Some 14,000 items have been digitised by the University of Southampton. In recent years the stories and realities of these schools are also well documented by the report (2009) of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse or the Ryan Report, which is online at www.childabusecommission.ie. These offer a comprehensive voice to the structure of processes carried out. However, from a family tracking perspective, archives are scattered between religious orders and the HSE making it difficult to track relatives from past archives even when personal sensitivity are considered.

Industrial and Reformatory institutions were run by religious orders and funded by the public. From the Industrial Schools Act of 1868 to the eventual decline of industrial schools in 1969, over 105,000 children were placed in this state care system. By the 1915 report, there were five reformatories and 66 industrial schools in Ireland. Eight of the latter were for boys under ten years of age, who were then transferred to senior schools. The number of committals to the boys’ and girls’ reformatories increased during the 1915 year, and was in excess of the number committed during the previous two years. The Chief Inspector describes the process for committal for juvenile offenders; “offenders were often only committed when they appear several times before a court, and when unfortunately, they had become fit cases for committal to a reformatory. It would naturally be better that when children are in danger of being led into criminal courses that they were at once taken away from their surroundings and sent to an industrial school”.

In his report, the inspector stressed that being sent to such institutions was not implying committees were guilty of a crime; “Committing a child in one of the former does not imply in any way that he or she is guilty of any criminal offence, or has any tendency towards crime. Amongst children liable to be sent to an industrial school are those under fourteen years of age who may be found begging or receiving alms in any street or premises, whether or not there is any pretence of singing, performing or offering anything for sale; those found wandering and not having any home or settled place any of abode or visible means of subsistence; those not being orphans, found destitute; children under the care of parents or guardians of drunken or criminal habits, and orphans found destitute”. The inspector outlined his perspective that such institutions were to protect destitute children in society; “children will be seen from the foregoing that the purpose of the industrial schools is to provide protection for children who may be destitute or on the way, owing to their surroundings, of lapsing into criminal habits. The reformatories are intended to reclaim young persons who have been found guilty of offences against the law, and to enable them to learn to be useful members of the community”.

   An account was given by the inspector of a section for training in domestic science and economy, which were located at four of the industrial schools for girls of the age of sixteen years, and upwards. The Inspector writes about such courses as being set up to provide training to young women who wish to earn a livelihood as household servants. There was he noted; “a desire to undergo a course of sound training in housekeeping, after the expiration of their ordinary period of residence at these schools”.

One hundred years ago, the two industrial schools in Cork were the Greenmount Industrial School for boys and the girl’s industrial school of St Finbarr’s, which was based within the Good Shepherd Convent complex at Sunday’s Well adjacent its Magdalen Asylum and Laundry. Information on the St Finbarr’s school is difficult to source. There is a report of the “Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State Involvement with the Magdalen Laundries (2013)”, which mentions St Finbarr’s Industrial School but nothing substantial. There is work to be pursued on its history and realities.

     The Ryan Report outlines a detailed historical timeline of Greenmount Industrial School. By the turn of the twentieth century, it was certified to take in 200 boys and work was progressing at the grounds so that it would become a farm proficient of giving the boys training in farm work, and at the same time provide food for the School and additional income from the sale of farm produce. The School was constructed on eight acres of land, and the staff and boys in the School began cultivating the surrounding land. The Presentation Brothers continued to develop the farm. They purchased much of the surrounding land at the turn of the century, and the adjacent farm comprised approximately 39 acres by the early twentieth century.

Greenmount also had two further farms located at Lehenagh, on the outskirts of the city. It is recorded in the School annals that the Management decided to sell these farms because of difficulties arising in the day-to-day management of them. The Department of Education records described the farm: “The farm attached to this school has an area of 39 acres. It is used to supply milk and potatoes to the institution. Fifteen cows are kept and the feeding for these is grown on the farm”.
For more information on the Irish Industrial Schools and sources for families, see www.childabusecommission.ie.


887a. Map of Greenmount Industrial School and surrounds, 1949 (source: Cork City Library)

887b. Ruin of Good Shepherd Convent, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)


887b. Derelict and ruined Good Shepherd Convent, present day

20 Mar 2017

McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition 2017

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McCarthy's Community Talent Competition, 2017

19 Mar 2017

First Call: Cllr McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition 2017

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Press Release:

   Cork’s young people are invited to participate in the eighth year of Cllr Kieran’s McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition’. The auditions will take place on Sunday 27 April 2017 between 10am-5pm in the Lifetime Lab, Lee Road. There are no entry fees and all talents are valid for consideration. The final will be held on Saturday 7 May. There are two categories, one for primary school children and one for secondary school students. Winners will be awarded a perpetual trophy and prize money of €150 (two by €150). The project is being organised and funded by Cllr Kieran McCarthy in association with Red Sandstone Varied Productions (RSVP).

   Cllr. McCarthy noted: “The talent competition is a community initiative. It encourages all young people to develop their talents and creative skills, to push forward with their lives and to embrace their community positively”. Further details can be got from the talent show producer (RSVP), Yvonne Coughlan,  email: rsvpireland@gmail.com.

16 Mar 2017

McCarthy: Social Element must be key in 2050 Plan

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Press Release

   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy views the Cork 2050 plan, which is part of the National Planning Strategy, as an opportunity to create a new vision for the city’s future; “business as usual is not an option for Cork for its future; it is a chance to scale up Cork to be a Southern capital and not to be just a small regional city. We need to rebrand the city and region. We are a former European Capital of Culture, one of Europe’s foremost ports, and is a Unesco City of Learning. We need to carve a space for this city and region in north west Europe and pitch ourselves an Atlantic Region of Innovation. The gaze cannot always be towards Dublin.

  “Ambition, imagination and funding is needed thinking ahead. We need to construct faster communication networks such as new motorways to Limerick, faster rail routes between Cork and Dublin – we should be able to reduce the travel times between Cork and Dublin – from 2 ¾ hours to 1 ½ hours with advanced rail and rolling stock. Higher broadband specs are crucial. Currently in rural County Cork those with broadband have on average 3mbs per second. Our schools in County Cork can’t even skype. This isn’t good enough going forward”.

  Continuing Cllr McCarthy commented; “New growth areas need to be pursued such as the Digital Single Market, Maritime energy clusters; rural enterprise programmes need to be further invested in to curb depopulation”.

  “We also need to create new regional indicators of growth – more social indicators than economic indicators. GDP cannot be just the key indicators. We need to provide affordable housing for the region; we need to future proof against austerity. We need to implement our Age Action Plans, Healthy Cities plan, and informal and formal educational programmes”.

16 Mar 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 16 March 2017

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886a. City Hall district, c.1900

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 16 March 2017

The Wheels of 1917: A Principle of Freedom


    The question of Home Rule for Ireland reverberated throughout the press in 1917. This week, one hundred years ago, coincided with another fall by a motion in the House of Commons in Westminster calling for its implementation. The motion was proposed by MP T P O’Connor who was a journalist, an Irish nationalist political figure, and MP for almost fifty years.

Mr O’Connor’s colleague John Redmond MP was leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1900 until his death in 1918. Redmond achieved the two main objectives of his political life: party unity and, in September 1914, the passing of the Irish Home Rule Act. The Act granted limited self-government to Ireland, within the United Kingdom. However, the application of Home Rule was deferred by the advent of World War I. Redmond called on the National Volunteers to enlist in Irish regiments in the British Army and support the British and Allied war effort.

    To condemn the fall of T P O’Connor’s motion, a special meeting of the Cork City Executive of the United Irish League (UIL) was held on 12 March 1917 at Cork City Hall. Mr William Murphy, Coroner, presided; the Lord Mayor Thomas Butterfield was also in attendance. The United Irish League was co-founded by William O’Brien and Michael Davitt in 1898 as an attempt to inject new synergies into the Home Rule movement. The League was focused on agrarian reform and it was hoped that this policy would provide the foundation for reuniting the national political movement. It became very popular with tenant farmers and branches of the organisation were established all over the country. The UIL peaked in the first decade of the early twentieth century. By 1902 O’Brien’s UIL was by far the largest organisation in the country, comprising 1150 branches and 84,355 members.

   As it entered the 1910s, the United Irish League, became largely diluted by members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the rise of a breakaway group the All For Ireland League (by William O’Brien), and the rise of Sinn Féin post 1916. From 1918, the UIL was restricted to Northern Ireland, and was defunct by the mid-1920s. The fact that it survived in Cork in the late 1910s is testament to the local executive who promoted it and kept it going. The Cork President of the UIL, William Murphy had been a personal friend of Charles Stewart Parnell and an active member for over four decades of the Parnellite and later the Redmondite organisations in Cork. His obituary in 1936 reveals that he even stood unsuccessfully for Parliament as a United Irish League candidate in 1909. He was also for many years one of the leading solicitors and coroners in the county and was law adviser to the Harbour Commissioners and Cattle Traders’ and Licensed Vintners Associations.

   The 12 March 1917 City Hall event was written up in the Cork Examiner. The meeting was heated and highly political. The Chairman William Murphy noted of his disgust and anger to the conclusion of the Westminster debate; “the result of the debate proved conclusively to the world that Ireland had now, as before, the gravest doubt of honourable treatment being accorded to Ireland as distinct from any part of the world”. Mr Murphy outlined in the narrative of his speech that for the previous ten years, majorities had been returned to pledged to support Home Rule. Before the war, Home Rule went through all the stages of the House of Commons and was placed in the statute book. It was however according to him “not to be enforced until the minority of the people who opposed it agreed to it”. The chairman denoted his frustration at the political system; “the principle that minorities should acquiesce before any enactments were put into force was never before applied, and he believed it would never be applied again”.

    The Chairman criticised the elite for not progressing the Home Rule Act; “The Irish struggle was an old one, and they could tell these gentlemen in England that the Irish Nationalists never despaired, even though at times they had reason of despondency. Irishmen had pluck and pride in their race, and believed in the future of it, and will never cease the struggle until the full accomplishment of National Self Government is realised”.

   Arising out of William Murphy’s debate, the Lord Mayor proposed a motion for the room to adopt; “that having regard to the treacherous and dishonourable conduct of Mr Lloyd George’s Government in refusing to enforce the Home Rule Act for all Ireland either now or after the war unless Sir Edward Carson and his followers, which is tantamount to a complete repudiation of the treaty arrived at between England and Ireland, and embodied in the Home Rule Act, we endorse the action of the Irish Party in leaving the House of Commons, and deciding immediately to oppose the Government; and we hope they will take vigorous action both in the House of Commons and the country. We further desire to point out that the principle of freedom for small nationalities, which involves the right of the majority in any nation, cannot be applied with justice to Belgium, Poland and Serbia, unless it is also applied to Ireland”. The resolution was unanimously adopted by all those present.

Cork 1916, A Year Examined (2016) by Kieran McCarthy & Suzanne Kirwan is now available in Cork bookshops.

Cork City History Tour (2016) by Kieran McCarthy is also available in Cork bookshops.


886a. City Hall & environs showing a busy district of dock, engineering and City Markets, c.1900 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Daniel Breen)

886b. T P O’Connor, MP, 1917 (source: public domain, Library of Congress, USA)

886b. T P O'Connor, 1917

15 Mar 2017

McCarthy: Diplomacy must prevail in Brexit Debate

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    Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy was recently part of a five-person delegation from the European Committee of the Regions to the UK’s Local Government Association and to the Mayor’s Office London to explore the impact Brexit will have on UK towns, cities and regions. The delegation also met British Secretary of State, David Jones, and stressed that it will continue to cooperate with the UK’s local and regional government throughout the Brexit negotiations and beyond. The meeting was also attended by political representatives of the UK’s devolved administrations and local authorities from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

   Cllr Kieran McCarthy at the meeting commented: “Brexit will have a huge impact on local and regional governments in both the UK and the EU, which is why we will continue to work closely together to understand the local economic, political and social consequences. There is much historic goodwill on both sides, the UK’s and the EU’s. Positive diplomacy is required and not the ‘taking pot shots’ mentality, which has prevailed in certain camps around the Brexit debate todate”. Cllr McCarthy also expressed the impact of a hard Brexit on Ireland and has called for the Committee of the Regions that Ireland’s case to be a priority in the Brexit negotiations.

   The delegation visit follows a meeting between the Committee’s leaders and its UK delegation in mid-January with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, who confirmed his wish to open a channel of dialogue and communication to allow local and regional stakeholders to be informed and heard throughout the process.

   The European Committee of the Regions, the EU’s assembly for democratically elected local and regional politicians, has a consultative role in EU policymaking. Of its 700 members and alternates, 48 come from the United Kingdom. President Markkula and the Committee’s delegation which was composed of leaders from its political groups namely: Markus Töns (DE/PES) Member of the North Rhine-Westphalia Regional Parliament; Kieran McCarthy (IE/EA), Member of Cork City Council; Kate Feeney (IE/ALDE), Member of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council; and Rob Jonkman (NL/ECR), Member of the Executive Council of Opsterland.

14 Mar 2017

McCarthy: Gaps in Marina Tree Line to be Replaced, March 2017

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Press Release:

   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the Cork City Council’s plan to replace trees in the Marina tree line as part of the upcoming Marina Park plan starting later this year. Raising the issue at a recent Council meeting, Cllr McCarthy noted; “The Marina treeline is one of the most significant in the city and is a vital resource which enhances the visual character of Cork City and its natural heritage. I have had numerous emails by local people concerned about the several gaps in the treeline, which have not been replaced over many years now. Cutbacks to the Council’s environment services have greatly reduced its ability to keep up with its urban forestry programme”.

Commenting further, Cllr McCarthy highlighted that a number of substantial trees have also fallen on the perimeter of the Atlantic pond in the last 2-3 years; “Some of these are manifest in the form of a few stumps; some are as a result of a fall during storms of recent years – especially several big trees. Concreting over fallen trees roots is a poor policy. I would urge that the fine Marina tree line is maintained and protected as part of the finances required for future Marina Park Plans”.

14 Mar 2017

Kieran’s Question to the CE, Cork City Council Meeting, 13 March 2017

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Question to the CE:

To ask the CE on an update on the Penrose Quay hoarding? Whilst acknowledging, the recent creation of a smaller hoarding space, it is now eight years since my initial asking of when this remnant of the Cork Main Drainage Project will be completed and the site levelled off (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That the City Council create a new historic city centre action plan for North Main Street?

9 Mar 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 9 March 2017

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885a. Approaching Cape Clear, present day

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 9 March 2017

The Wheels of 1917: The Eye of the Lifeboat

  On Saturday evening, 10 March 1917 in the Lifeboat House, Baltimore, silver medals were awarded by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to Con Cadogan, Michael Cadogan, Tim Cadogan, John Daly, and Michael Daly all from Cape Clear for their rescue of crew from the sunken ship, the SS Nestorian.

    Both the Southern Star and the Cork Examiner describes that the Bishop of Ross, Dr Kelly addressed the large crowd present and related the brave exploits of the medal receivers. On 2 January 1917, in the pitch darkness the Royal Mail Steamship Nestorian entered a thick fog went on the rocks near Cape Clear. Con Cadogan, described by the Bishop as a “patriarch of the Island, with the trained ear of the old Sea dog”, recognised the gun’s fire in distress. He awoke his boys and awoke their neighbours, the Dalys. All went out on Con Cadogan’s fishing boat, and in tow they had a small punt. As they got to the scene of the wreck, the Nestorian was already breaking up, and the sea was strewn with spars and wreckage of all kinds. The fishing boat could not approach the wreck, and the two Cadogans and the two Dalys got into the little punt, and rowed into the high waves to rescue ten of the crew. In time a naval boat arrived to rescue others.

  The SS Nestorian was built in 1911 by Leslie Hawthord & Co Ltd of Newcastle upon Tyne and was owned F Leyland. She was powered by a four cylinder quadruple expansion steam engine which generated 510 hp. She was en route from Galveston, USA for Liverpool with a cargo of cotton & steel ingots and empty shell heads when she hit rocks off Cape Clear. Fifty-two of her crew were rescued and one died when he fell from the rigging.

     Reference at the medal ceremony of the Cadogans and Dalys was also made of their pursuits in helping the crew off the passenger and cargo ship Alondra. It ran aground on 29 December 1916 on Kedge Rock, an island off Baltimore with sheer rock cliffs. Sixteen of her crew were able to get aboard one of the ship′s lifeboats, but they drowned before they could reach safety. Another man died on board. Meanwhile, Archdeacon John Richard Hedges Becher, who was serving as the honorary secretary of the Baltimore Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), set out with a rescue lifeboat. He failed to reach Alondra on the first try and again on the second. When the sun rose, he and his lifeboat crew set out a third time using a rocket apparatus and managed to reach the vessel. While the lifeboat worked from one position, the crews of Royal Navy trawlers worked from the tops of the cliffs to lift other surviving crew members out of Alondra. In total, 23 men were rescued from the ship. The RNLI awarded silver medals for gallantry to Archdeacon Becher and to Lieutenant Sanderson for assisting with the rescue. In 1913, the RNLI had established a lifeboat base in Baltimore, which could have been of assistance in rescuing the crew of the Alondra. Unfortunately, World War I delayed the official opening of the base until 1919. In 2013, a professional film crew sponsored by the Arts Council England created a film based on the events surrounding the Alondra shipwreck of 1916. The film was made in collaboration with the RNLI and the Baltimore Drama Group. Wreck diving is popular in Baltimore at sites such as the Alondra wreck.

   The RNLI was established in 1824 and its local lifeboat centres have a great history of recording their stories and their importance through books and websites. Two of the first lifeboat stations in Cork were established in Courtmacsherry and Kinsale respectively in 1825. Both were also one of the first in Ireland. The first record of a lifeboat in Cork Harbour also dates back as far back as 1825. A boat was built in Passage West and sailed to Liverpool in an unsuccessful attempt to get the Institution to adopt the design. The Ballycotton Station was established by the Institution in 1858 to afford protection to the shipping frequenting the port of Cork and, together with the new stations at Youghal and Ardmore (closed 1895) and others, created to guard the English and Irish channels. The Queenstown Lifeboat Station was established by the Institution in 1866 following several wrecks with loss of life off Cork Harbour.

   During World War I, RNLI lifeboat crews launched 1,808 times, rescuing 5,332 people. With many younger men on active service, the average age of a lifeboatman was over 50. Many launches were to ships that had been torpedoed or struck mines, including naval or merchant vessels on war duty and many were in non-motor propelled boats. The Lusitania on route to New York on 7 May 1915 was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat south of Courtmacsherry Bay, with the loss of 1201 lives. The Courtmacsherry Lifeboat crew was alerted to the tragedy and, because of very fine weather that day the sails were of no use so they rowed the Kezia Gwilt lifeboat 15 miles to the scene of the sinking. Today there are 45 Lifeboat stations in Ireland and 237 in total run by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Check out the small museum on island and coastal community life in the old national school on Cape Clear island plus the ferry times are on www.calinoir.com

Cork 1916, A Year Examined (2016) by Kieran McCarthy & Suzanne Kirwan is now available in Cork bookshops.

Cork City History Tour (2016) by Kieran McCarthy is also available in Cork bookshops.


885a. Approaching Cape Clear, present day, on a sunny summer’s day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

885b. Cape Clear, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)


885b. Cape Clear, present day

7 Mar 2017

Award Ceremonies for Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2017 to take place

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     The Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2016-17 will come to its conclusion over two evenings in March. The award ceremony for County Cork schools takes place on Wednesday 15 March whilst the ceremony for City schools is on Monday 20 March (7pm start both evenings, Silversprings Convention Centre). Founded by Cllr Kieran McCarthy, the year 2017 marks the fourteenth year of the award ceremonies for best local history projects submitted into the project. The Project is open to schools in Cork; at primary level to the pupils of fourth, fifth and sixth class and at post-primary from first to sixth years. A total of 20 schools in Cork City and 18 in Cork County took part in the 2017 Project. Approx 150 projects were submitted on all aspects of Cork’s history with 900 students participating between individuals, group and class entries. The project in the city is kindly funded by Cork Civic Trust, Cork City Council and the Heritage Council. In the 2017 season prizes will also be provided by Learnit Lego Education, Sean Kelly of Lucky Meadows Equestrian Centre Watergrasshill, and the Lifetime Lab.  The project in the County is funded by students and Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

    Commenting, co-ordinator of the project, Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted that one of the key aims of the project is to allow students to explore, investigate and debate their local heritage in a constructive, active and fun way. “Every year we get really creative projects, which take on the many complex stories of Cork and its region. The Project is all about building awareness on the many sides of development of an ancient port city region such as Cork. The project attempts to provide the student with a hands-on and interactive activity that is all about learning not only about your local area but also about the process of learning by participating students”.

   Continuing Cllr McCarthy highlighted that the Schools’ Heritage Project also focuses on motivating and inspiring young people. “Every year as well many teachers, parents and extended family are involved in assisting students in their work – by offering their own story or helping with fieldwork and creative methods such as model and short film making. It is estimated that apart from the 800 students involved directly with projects, a further 4,000-5,000 people every year are also involved indirectly with the projects that are taken on”. A list of winning projects can be viewed at Kieran’s heritage website www.corkheritage.ie.