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27 Apr 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 27 April 2017

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892a. Sketch of Cork Exchange, c.1750

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 27 April 2017
Kieran’s May Historical Walking Tours

  Early summer is coming and the weather is improving. So below are details of the next set of my public walking tours for the first week of May,

Tuesday 2 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Eighteenth Century Cork, from the walled town to an eighteenth-century Venice of the North; meet outside Cork City Library, Grand Parade, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes on St Patrick’s Street)

   For nearly five hundred years (c.1200-c.1690), the walled port town of Cork, built in a swamp and at the lowest crossing point of the River Lee and the tidal area, remained as one of the most fortified and vibrant walled settlements in the expanding British colonial empire. However, economic growth as well as political events in late seventeenth century Ireland, culminating in the Williamite Siege of Cork in 1690, provided the catalyst for large-scale change within the urban area. The walls were allowed to decay and this was to inadvertently alter much of the city’s physical, social and economic character in the ensuing century.

   One of the most elegant additions to eighteenth century Cork was the Exchange or Tholsel, which was built on the site of Roches Castle (now the site of the Catholic Young Men’s Society hall on Castle Street). It was an important building of two stories. On its opening in 1710 the Council ordered the upper floor room be established as a Council Chamber with liberty for the Grand Jury of magistrates and landlords to sit. The lower part was used for commercial purposes. where a pedestal known as “the nail”, was used for making payments (still in existence in Cork City Museum). In later times the room was used for public sales. A figure of a dragon made of copper and gilt surmounted the cupola of the building as a weather vane. The Exchange declined as a market in time – through the erection of a Corn Market on the Potato Quay (popularly known as the Coal Quay) and improved facilities for the transaction of business offered to merchants.

Wednesday 3 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran on the Walk of the Friars, from Red Abbey through to Greenmount; meet at Red Abbey Square, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes near Deerpark)

   The central bell tower of the church of Red Abbey is a relic of the Anglo-Norman colonisation and is one of the last remaining visible structures, which dates to the era of the walled town of Cork. Invited to Cork by the Anglo-Normans, the Augustinians established an abbey in Cork, sometime between 1270 AD and 1288 AD. It is known that in the early years of its establishment, the Augustinian friary became known as Red Abbey due to the material, sandstone, which was used in the building of the friary. It was dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity but had several names, which appear on several maps and depictions of the walled town of Cork and its environs. For example, in a map of Cork in 1545, it was known as St Austins while in 1610, Red abbey was marked as St. Augustine’s.

   In the mid eighteenth century, part of the buildings of Red Abbey were used as part of a sugar refinery. This refinery was burnt down accidentally in December 1799. Since then, the friary buildings with the exception of the tower have been taken piecemeal. The tower is maintained by Cork City Council who were donated the structure by the contemporary owners in 1951 and also own other portions of the abbey site. Today, the tower of Red Abbey approximately thirty metres high is one of Cork’s most important protected historic structures. The remaining tower cannot be climbed but medieval architecture can still be on the lower arch of the structures and in the upper windows. The adjacent street names of Red Abbey Street, Friar’s Street and Friar’s Walk also echoes the days of a large medieval abbey in the area.

Thursday, 4 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Blackrock Village, from Blackrock Castle to Nineteenth Century Houses and Fishing; meet outside Blackrock Castle, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes at railway line walk)

   The earliest and official evidence for settlement in Blackrock dates to c.1564 when the Galway family created what was to become known as Dundanion Castle. Over 20 years later, Blackrock Castle was built circa 1582 by the citizens of Cork with artillery to resist pirates and other invaders. In the early 1700s, the prominent Tuckey family, of which Tuckey Street in the city centre is named, became part of the new social elite in Cork after the Williamite wars and built part of what became known in time at the Ursuline Convent. The building of the Navigation Wall or Dock in the 1760s turned focus to reclamation projects in the area and the eventual creation of public amenity land such as the Marina Walk during the time of the Great Famine. Soon Blackrock was to have its own bathing houses, schools, hurling club, suburban railway line, and Protestant and Catholic Church. The pier that was developed at the heart of the space led to a number of other developments such as fisherman cottages and a fishing industry. This community is reflected in the 1911 census with 64 fishermen listed in Blackrock.


882a. Sketch of Cork Exchange, c.1750 (now the site of YMCA hall, Castle Street, one of the city’s primary market sites, subject of eighteenth century Cork tour (source: Cork City Library)

882b. Map of north east marsh, Paul Street & St Paul’s Church, 1726 by John Carty (source: Cork City Library)

26 Apr 2017

First Call: McCarthy’s ‘Make a Model Boat Project’ 2017

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    Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the eighth year of McCarthy’s ‘Make a Model Boat Project’. All interested must make a model boat at home from recycled materials and bring it along for judging and floating at Cork’s Lough on Wednesday 24 May 2017, 6.30pm. The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘Cork Harbour Boats from 100 years ago inspired by the 1917 Naval commemorations’, which is open to interpretation. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. There are primary and secondary school categories. Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “I am encouraging creation, innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits for all of us to develop; places like the Lough are an important part of Cork’s natural and amenity heritage and in the past have seen model boat making and sailing. For further information and to take part, please sign up at www.corkharbourfestival.com. Registration is to open very shortly.

25 Apr 2017

Cllr McCarthy: May Historical Walking Tours

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Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy will give three historical walking tours in early May across the southside of the City.

Tuesday 2 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Eighteenth Century Cork, from the walled town to an eighteenth-century Venice of the North; meet outside Cork City Library, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes on St Patrick’s Street)

Wednesday 3 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran on the Walk of the Friars, from Red Abbey through to Greenmount; meet at Red Abbey Square, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes near Deerpark)

Thursday, 4 May 2017, Historical Walking Tour with Kieran of Blackrock Village, from Blackrock Castle to Nineteenth Century Houses and Fishing; meet outside Blackrock Castle, 6.45pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes at railway line walk)

Commenting Cllr McCarthy noted;
“It is said that the best way to get to know a city is to walk it – in Cork you can get lost in narrow streets, marvel at old cobbled lane ways, photograph old street corners, look up beyond the modern shopfronts, gaze at clues from the past, be enthused and at the same time disgusted by a view, smile at interested locals, engage in the forgotten and the remembered, search and connect for something of oneself, thirst in the sense of story-telling – in essence feel the DNA of the place”.

“Cork has a soul, which is packed full of ambition and heart. Cork is a city packed with historic gems all waiting to be discovered at every street corner. These three walks provide insights into the development of just three of the city’s historical suburbs”.

25 Apr 2017

McCarthy: Skehard Road Re-alignment: Engagement with Residents Critical to Success

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   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for continued engagement with local residents along Skehard Road as the various phases of road’s re-alignment are evolving. Parts 2, 3 and four are in various stages of development – some are part designed and awaiting funding. As part of phase 3, the Roads Directorate of Cork City Council plan to develop detailed traffic models at Mahon CSO junction. This will involve traffic counts, assessment of turning patterns, queue lengths, traffic demand etc. Cllr McCarthy noted; “the modelling will form part of a Council proposal to the National Transport Authority whereby it forms part of phase 3 of the large Skehard Road’s realignment and traffic management scheme”.

   Phase 3 involves Skehard Road to be widened from and including the Church Road junction up to and including the CSO/ Mahon Link Road junction. An outbound bus will be introduced on Skehard Road between the Church Road junction and the CSO/ Mahon junction. An inbound cycle lane will be introduced on Skehard Road. All entrances to housing estates will be realigned and radii tightened to slow entry and exit traffic thereby making the area safer for pedestrian. Pedestrian friendly table top ramps will be introduced on the entrances to all side roads. The Bessboro Road junction and the CSO junction will be upgraded and realigned to improve its operation for the benefit of all road users. All traffic signals will be upgraded and real time passenger information displays installed. All bus stops will be upgraded and real time passenger information displays installed. Footpaths will be re-aligned repaved and widened where necessary. Additional public lighting will be installed where necessary. Soft and hard landscaping will be provided. Water mains and other utility will be provided.

   Cllr McCarthy noted; “The widening of the road of phase 3 involves taking some land from residents along the phase 3 section. I welcome the fact that the Council has already been in contact with affected residents regarding compensation. Submissions by members of the public have also been received and points added in to the evolving project layout”.

  Continuing Cllr McCarthy, “ultimately the completion of phases 2, 3 and 4 are dependent on funding being forthcoming from the National Transport Authority under the Regional Cities Accessibility Programme”.

24 Apr 2017

Kieran’s Question to the CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 24 April 2017

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Question to the CE:

To ask the CE for an update on the re-surfacing of Douglas Pool carpark and hill? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


That the Council review the parking situation and road layout outside the shopping parade near the Silver Key bar. At present there is very little parking for the five businesses trading here. There can be a lot of congestion and illegal parking around busy times and this affects business and causes problems for local residents who are left with no option but to call the Gardai. A strip of cycle lane on the main road was formerly much used and greatly appreciated parking (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That the Council resurface the stretch of road outside Galvin’s Off-Licence on Douglas Road. It has been in a deteriorating state for many years now (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

24 Apr 2017

Homeless Cold Weather Strategy, Cork City Council, April 2017

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   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for continued collaboration between the 15 Cork based homelessness service agencies and private emergency accommodation providers, which receive state funding of e5.3m. Cllr McCarthy noted “at a recent Housing committee meeting, we were given the breakdown of the state spend on homelessness in our city and region. The investment is high, which is very welcome and there is much good work going on in the city to help the region’s homeless situation; however, the monthly reports show people in short term emergency accommodation is growing despite the investment of e.890,000 in providing such accommodation – 329 in January 2017, 352 in March 2017. It is clear that the state investment is getting to 95 per cent of people but approximately 12-20 people have more complex needs and complex backgrounds”.

   Cork City Council’s April Housing Committee meeting also heard of the Homeless Cold Weather Strategy, run by the Cork Homeless Forum, which consists of statutory and voluntary homeless providers. The period of the strategy ran from November 2016 to March 2017. The Homeless Persons Unit pre-booked 18 additional emergency beds to ensure that no one has to sleep rough during the cold weather; Cllr McCarthy noted; “The strategy was very positive and concentrated on ensuring capacity within the Cork Simon emergency shelter to accommodate those who are rough sleeping and who have support needs. St Vincent de Paul increased their emergency beds by four. In severe weather and assuming no mainstream emergency beds or B&B’s are available, two portacabins, which are placed specifically in Collins Barracks, are used. The portacabins were used four times over the last four months. On three occasions, a total of ten nights provided for 11 individuals in the Barracks”.

20 Apr 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 20 April 2017

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891a. Terence MacSwiney and his wife Muriel Murphy, c.1917

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 20 April 2017

The Wheels of 1917: The Volunteers Re-Organise

   Easter 1917 coincided with the commemoration of the rising a year earlier. Up to early 1917, the Volunteer organisations appeared to have dissolved but release from English gaols saw companies of Volunteers re-organising and training. In January 1917, the Cork volunteers in their hall at Sheares Street began to regroup under Tomás MacCurtain. Close police attention led to MacCurtain’s leadership being short-lived as he was arrested again. He left behind two battalions which had been built up, comprising eight companies each. Demands were given by British Authorities for the closing of the Volunteer Hall. The Volunteers remained until the doors were closed by force on 4 June 1917 and several arrests were made.

   MacCurtain’s arrest was not the only one in February 1917. Terence MacSwiney was also arrested and both were brought to the Military Detention Barracks, where two other Volunteers Sean Nolan and Peadar O’Hourihane were also present. On 23 February 1917, all four were taken to Arbour Hill Barracks in Dublin. Here they were served with deportation orders condemning them to be exiled out of Ireland for an unspecified period to small English towns, free to roam them but not to return to Ireland. Tomás and Peadar were sent to Ledbury in the County of Hereford, north of Bristol and MacSwiney and Nolan to nearby Bromyard. On Easter Monday 1917. they marked the first anniversary of the Easter 1916 Rising in Dublin in their own way. Terence and his wife to be Muriel Murphy were planning their wedding day for June 1917.

   Meanwhile across the country, small volunteer companies marked the first anniversary. In Dublin, on Saturday 13 April 1917 the Sinn Féin flag of orange, green and white was hoisted over certain public buildings – the old Post Office wall near Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street, the AOH (American Alliance) offices in North Frederick street, and Boland’s Mills. In O’Connell Street, large numbers of young people gathered and some were noted by police to have taken to the streets breaking windows and resisting police arrest.

  A day later on Sunday 14 April in Cork it is recorded by the Cork Examiner that four hundred processionists, many of whom wore Sinn Fein badges and rosettes, marched from the North Cathedral to Cork City Hall. At the Cathedral, a memorial service was held for persons who were killed arising out of the 1916 Easter Rising. During the ensuing march, the Volunteers sang the marching song of the Sinn Féin volunteers and also an Irish version of Easter Week.

At City Hall, some persons had already entered the building, and hauled down the municipal flag replacing it by the Sinn Féin ones. The processionists sang Irish songs, saluted their flag and retraced their steps to the National Monument on the Grand Parade. The parade movements were watched by fifty police, under District-Inspector Walsh, who appealed to the ringleaders of the demonstration to disperse quietly. The police approached the mob with drawn batons and were received with a fusillade of stones. The police noted of the disorder that half the rioters were women, who served as a screen for the ringleaders. The police made a combined baton charge and dispersed the mob in all directions. The Sinn Féin flag was hauled down from City Hall by the police, but was later retrieved by Volunteers and was run up again and flew for the rest of the day over City Hall.

  By Sunday 22 April 1917, Bishop Cohalan, sent a letter to the priests of the Diocese for his concerns about further rebellion to be read out following letter was read at each Mass in the City’s churches. He had concerns that on a few occasions after memorial masses, processions to the National Monument were taking place; “I am reluctant to interfere with liberty on the street. The stoppage of a procession or demonstration can easily become an undue interference with liberty…a procession from a Church does not necessarily imply irreverence to the Holy Sacrifice of the mass…But processions after the memorial masses would lend to conflict and disorder in the streets. And I appeal to you all, priests and people, to remember the reverence which is due to our place of worship, and, above all, to the Holy Sacrifice, and to see to it that there shall be no procession or demonstration which might lead to disorder, no matter by whom caused, in connection with the Memorial masses”.

   Examples were made of Sinn Fein Volunteers by British authorities. The Cork Examiner on 26 April 1917 records the findings of a District Court-martial held at Cork Barracks into charges made against Patrick Higgins, 70 Dominick street, John Healy, 32 Evergreen street, and Jonnies Courtney. 95 Hibernian Buildings. The accused were charged with having on 7 March 1917 at the Sinn Fein Hall on Sheares Street, taking taken part in drilling without having a permit from the competent military authority. Each of accused was found guilty, and Higgins was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour whilst Healy and Courtney each were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment with hard labour.

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.


891a. Terence MacSwiney and his wife Muriel Murphy, c.1917 (source: Cork City Library)

891b. National Monument on the Grand Parade, c.1917 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Daniel Breen)

891b. National Monument on the Grand Parade, c.1917

16 Apr 2017

Third Call: McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition

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   Cork’s young people in Blackrock and Mahon are invited to participate in the ninth year of Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition. The auditions will take place on Sunday 23 April 2017 between 10am-5pm in the Lifetime Lab, Lee Road, Cork City. There are no entry fees and all talents are valid for consideration. The final will be held on Sunday 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”. Continuing Cllr McCarthy highlighted the strengths of the project; “Over the eight years of the project, many auditionees have passed through our doors – singing, acting and performing; we have tried to give young people pointers in developing their talents further; many are just taking the first step and many have carried on developing and enjoying their talent through local stage and performance schools; My team and I are very proud as well that several of our auditionees are now professional musicians, singers and even magicians with young careers burgeoning. Further enquiries/ details on the Community Talent Competition can be got from the talent show producer (RSVP), Yvonne Coughlan at rsvpireland@gmail.com.

13 Apr 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 13 April 2017

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890a. The operative society of Masons & Bricklayers have been residents of Carpenters Hall on Fr Mathew Quay since 1950

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 13 April 2017
The Wheels of 1917: The Carpenter’s Call

   The history of Cork unions and the labour movement is not an overly researched topic in Cork history, but relationships between employers and employees regularly appear in the newspapers across the years. This month, one hundred years, coincided with strikes and union meetings in the city. A dispute on pay between the Cork Carpenter’s Society and the Builder’s Federation was ongoing. A fully attended meeting of the Builder’s Federation was held on 2 April 1917 with the proceedings being private. The situation was discussed at length and the meeting approved of the reply drafted to the declaration of the carpenters. A Cork Examiner article on 3 April 1917 reveals that it was hopeful that the matter would be resolved: “a much more hopeful aspect is believed to prevail, and the hope is expressed that the spirit of broadmindedness, which is being displayed on both sides at present will have a good effect; the time is ripe for mediation, and that it would be a great pity if the present favourable opportunity were allowed pass, with the danger of the delay giving rise to a more embittered situation”.

    The members of the Cork Masons and Plasterer’s societies also struck work on 2 April 1917, the former on a demand equivalent to an increase of 9s a week in their wages, and the latter equivalent to an increase of 6s a week. Both bodies pointed out that their claims were made independently of the Carpenter’s Society. The builders’ attitude in reference to the masons’ demand was that they were prepared to grant them a war bonus of 3s a week and an increase of wages represented by 6d a day subject to a guarantee, to abide by certain modifications of rules. They offered similar terms to the plasters as from 2 April and promised that when “certain matters in the course of settlement with another trade body” were adjusted, their demand would be fully considered.

   A week later, the masons, plasterers, builders’ labourers, and munition workers on strike attended public meetings hosted by the Lord Mayor, Thomas C Butterfield to speak about arbitration measures. At the meeting of 8 April it was discussed that the men involved have already appointed their arbitrator, and the masons would soon appoint theirs. The Chairman, Mr P Lynch, was glad to be able to announce that negotiations were proceeding with a view of bringing the dispute to an end and breaking the resolve of employers in the building trade; “If the employers in the building trade had been left lo themselves he was convinced that there would have been no trouble between the men and employers, but unfortunately outsiders intervened and tried to force the employers in the building trade to smash the men’s union. I trust that the men would be able to return to work next week after winning a successful but short fight”. On the motion of Alderman Cllr Kelleher, a resolution was unanimously adopted, hailing the attempts being made to bring about an amicable settlement, between employers and employees.

   By 16 April 1917, the outcome of many discussions was that a joint conference of the representatives of the South of Ireland Master Builders Association and the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners under the chairmanship of Captain Fairbairn Downie at 4pm, at the Cork National Shell Factory on Corn Market Street, now the Bodega. After an exhaustive discussion of all the phases of the dispute, arbitration under Captain Downie was unanimously agreed to. The employers present were Messrs T Goodall of Cork Timber and Iron Co, Ltd and William O’Connell, of Messrs W O’Connell and Son and Charles F Hayes of Messrs Meagher and Hayes.

  On 30 April, Captain Downie published his proposed award scheme, which did settle the dispute; Working hours to work were to be from 8am to 6 pm from Mondays to Fridays inclusive with an interval of one hour from 1 pm to 2 pm for dinner. Working hours on Saturday were to be 8 am to 1 pm; all carpenters and joiners would work 50 hours per week. Overtime from 6 pm to 9 pm was to be paid time and a quarter. Half an hour for refreshments was to be allowed, and the time to be mutually agreed upon. From 9 pm to 12 midnight was to be paid time and a half, and from midnight to 6 am, was to be double time, with one hour break by arrangement. The rate of wages was to be l0d per hour as and from the 1 April, 1917, until the first day of May, 1917. From that date the wages were to be increased by a further halfpenny per hour, making a total rate of wages from that date to be 10½ d per hour all the year round. Country money was to be paid at the ratio of 1s 3d per day. The sum of 3s was to be added if working on two different jobs in the one week. Train fares to and from jobs were to be paid by the employer. However, a workman leaving his job in the country without permission, or through misconduct, was not to be paid his return fare.


890a. The operative society of Masons & Bricklayers have been residents of Carpenters Hall on Fr Mathew Quay since 1950, before that they were residents in Mechanics Hall from 1870, which was used by the volunteers during the Irish War of Independence (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

890b. Carpentry tools on display at Cork Carpenter’s Hall during a recent Cork Heritage Open Day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

890b. Carpentry tools on display at Cork Carpenter’s Hall during a recent Cork Heritage Open Day

12 Apr 2017

McCarthy: Concerns over new National Library Management System

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   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the decision by Cork City Council Library Service to join the Sierra National Local management system. The Council’s data for stock and for patrons, to is now contained on a national system, in terms of acquisitions, catalogue and circulation of books. Cllr McCarthy noted though that despite the potential of accessing books from across the country there are still some areas to bed in. “Some concerns have been raised by the Council’s library service and City Librarian. The SMS messaging system for patrons is not yet working in a satisfactory manner. There are concerns about data protection – incorporating personal data taken from the City Council database and incorporated into a national database. There are unnecessary restrictions on teenagers seeking to borrow books for e.g school projects. There is uncertainty about the new fine system. An unnecessarily high limit on items, which patrons may reserve (12 items)”.

   Cllr McCarthy has called for ongoing cost benefit analysis of the new system; “Early indications show a heavy draw on Cork City Council library stick from patrons around the country; for every two requested by Cork City library patrons. There are five requests for Cork City library’s stock by patrons outside of Cork City. However, to be able to get books from any part of the country is a great asset to have; it is just important that the burden of cost is properly funded at national level. Cork City Libraries have been under a lot of funding pressures in past years, with staff levels not being renewed due to cutbacks and libraries like that planned for Mahon not getting off the ground”.