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Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 11 February 2021

1086a. Munster Arcade pre Burning of Cork, December 1920 from Stratten and Stratten’s Dublin, Cork, and the South of Ireland 1892 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 11 February 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Compensation Claims Begin

This month, one hundred years ago, the Recorder or Chief Magistrate for Cork City, Matthew Bourke, began the municipal hearings for the compensation claims arising out of the Burning of Cork in December 1920. A total of 682 claims were before him and they were to occupy the court for several weeks. A handful were written up in the Cork Examiner and reveal the depth of the damage done but also the early steps being taken to rehabilitate livelihoods and building stock in the city centre.

On 17 February 1921, the first case taken was that of the proprietors of the Munster Arcade – Messrs Robertson, Ledlie, Ferguson and Company, who claimed losses of £405,000. On top of this there was a claim by the landlord of the premises Charles Harvey. The two sets of solicitors present J J Horgan and Messrs Staunton and Sons put forward their respective cases. Mr Horgan described uniformed crown forces, converging on the Munster Arcade in the middle of St Patrick’s Street on 11 December 1920 after setting Grants and Cashes on fire. He continued to detail the blowing in the front windows and the throwing in of explosives. With the front on fire, the five or six employees in the building made their way to the door leading to Elbow Lane.

The employees were met by several uniformed men and held up. Some of the men entered the premises taking with them explosives and tins of petrol and a bag containing some heavy substance. They went upstairs and set fire to the other parts of the premises. Meanwhile, the employees were let go at the door but were met by another party of uniformed men who told them to go back and shots were fired at them. They finally managed to escape into Cook Street and took refuge in a house there.

The Munster Arcade also had premises in Oliver Plunkett Street, where a furniture business was mainly carried on, and these were destroyed completely. With regards to damages, it was estimated that it would cost at least £93,450 5s 1d to rebuild this latter building. They had a cabinet factory at the other side of George’s Street, which would cost £7,774 5s 9d to rebuild. Then there was a laundry and shirt factory held under a yearly tenancy in Robert Street, the contents of which were valued at £583 9s 2d. They were not making a claim for the reconstruction of these premises as they were only yearly tenants, but he understood that a claim had been lodged by the owner.

Then there were the interior fittings and equipment on the St Patrick’s Street site. With regard to the stocks, every single item was destroyed, but fortunately the books were kept in a fireproof room, and they were saved. The company desired that not one halfpenny more that they had lost should be awarded. They wished to make no profit as regards these stocks. Their last stocktaking was on 31 July 1920 and the stock at that time was taken at the cost price, except where the value was less than cost price by reason of certain goods having been a long time in stock. That value was £74,507. Since that date there was added stock at the cost price of £59, 626 5s 10d, which was brought up to £59, 895 11s 1d by freight and carriage charges, making a total stock of £134 402 11s 1d.

Sales in the same period and from 31 July amounted to £45,855 15s 4d. Some goods that were also on approbation at the time of the fire brought the net loss as regards stock-in-trade to £88,146 15s 9d.

In addition, the company had erected temporary buildings, but they felt that the temporary trade pursued in them would only pay its way. They estimated that there was no probability of getting a place of the magnitude of the Munster Arcade into operational order under a period of about three years. The company did not expect in substance to make any profits of the company for three years totalling £37,341 or an average roughly of £12, 447 per year. The auditors considered that the figure would be a very reasonable and moderate claim for the injury done to the business.

The company had also taken a shop at 97 St Patrick’s Street, for which they had to pay £406 subject to a yearly rental of £130 and they had to erect temporary wooden premises costing £3,500. During the cessation of work they had to pay salaries for a month, as well as paying the rent of the destroyed premises for two months.

Evidence was then presented by Patrick Barry who was a dispatch employee, Mrs Gaffney who was a housekeeper at the premises, and Finbarr McAuliffe, who was an apprentice. Mr Robert Walker was also examined. His father, Robert, was the architect of the original Munster Arcade premises and Robert (Junior) presented the original plans of the premises.

Robert had prepared a detailed estimate of the cost of re-constructing the premises as they were before. The Arcade, he said covered three-fifths of an acre, and noted that the cost to rebuild it would be £119, 742 and it would take three years to complete the work. Mr Denis Lucey, Building contractor, Denis O’Sullivan, Furniture Department, Patrick Barry on the cost of plumbing, heating, and gas fitting. John Rezin gave evidence of the value of the claim for customers goods in possession of the company at the time of the fires as well as the employee tools and personal property.

Matthew Bourke, the Recorder, ended the Munster Arcade cases and the following day gave his verdict. He deemed that some of the figures given bordered on excess and gave a compensation figure for £213,647. However, with the British government not set up to give compensation. The Munster Arcade, and the rest of the 681 claims would have to wait until after the treaty was signed in January 1922 before any movement was made on resolving compensation claims. Indeed, reconstruction only began at the Munster Arcade in 1924 it was to be in late 1926 before the new premises was finished.


1086a. Munster Arcade pre Burning of Cork, December 1920 from Stratten and Stratten’s Dublin, Cork, and the South of Ireland 1892 (source: Cork City Library).

1086b. The reconstructed Munster Arcade building, present day, now Penneys (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1086b. The reconstructed Munster Arcade building, present day, now Penneys (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1086b. The reconstructed Munster Arcade building, present day, now Penneys (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 8 February 2021

Question to CE:

To ask the CE about the mechanisms in place to combat homelessness this winter in the city?

How many homelessness cases on the streets in the last weekend of January 2021?

Are their beds available for all homelessness at this point in time in the city (early February 2021)?

How many emergency accommodation units?

To ask for the breakdown of finance given to housing homeless agencies in the city in 2020 & for 2021? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


That the footpath between Temple Inn and Venue Public Houses, Ballintemple be repaired (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That the request to ward councillors by the Parent Association of St Michael’s NS, Blackrock on Church Road be looked at and implemented with regard to speed limit reduction to 30 kph, adequate school awareness signage, speed limit posting on both approaches on Church Road, road markings, and bollards at the front of the school (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That Cork City Council calls on the Government to put in place legislation on the standards, management and maintenance specific to houses of multi-occupancy (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Cllr McCarthy to Commissioner Gabriel: we need more synergies and better visibility for the support measures for arts and culture

​During the 142nd plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, members held a debate on the recovery of the Cultural and Creative Sector (CCS) and European Research Area with Ms Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

Speaking on behalf of the EA group, our president Kieran McCarthy said that when culture and arts are in crisis, they take down with them a host of other tangible and intangible aspects of our life and economy. 

Mr McCarthy gave the example of his city of Cork where around 30 festivals had to be cancelled in 2020 which had a knock-on effect on the local budget but also, in turn, prompted the sector practitioners to reinvent the way they do their work. “Hearing first-hand from cities such as my own and others in a similar position can give ideas to other cities that are really struggling on adaptation strategies,” he said.

He further stressed the importance of looking at the future, taking into account the lessons learned, and promoting exchange of information and more practical synergies among policies and structural funding possibilities.

“But overall”, he said, “we need more visibility of what supports are in place,” adding that this is where local and regional authorities can contribute with their experience and their proximity to practitioners and citizens.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 4 February 2021

1085a. Dripsey Ambush Memorial, 2007 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
1085a. Dripsey Ambush Memorial, 2007 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 4 February 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Dripsey Ambush

As the Irish War of Independence progressed in early 1921, the movements of British troops throughout the country were tabulated. Where it was noticed that convoys were maintained on a regular basis between any two points, suitable preparations were then made for an ambush on the route. In this way, it was calculated that a convoy of three lorries of soldiers would proceed from Macroom to Cork on 27 January 1921. It was decided by members of the sixth battalion of the Cork IRA Brigade No.1 to ambush British troops at a bend in the main road between Dripsey and Coachford.

It is almost fourteen years since this column visited the story of the Dripsey Ambush and at that time I referenced Historian P J Feeney’s fine book Glory O, Glory O, Ye Bold Fenian Men, A History of the Sixth Battalion, Cork’s First Brigade, 1913-1921. In it hehighlights the story of the Dripsey Ambush and that the sitehad high firing ground on the near side and its open stretch on the off side would expose the soldiers to the full fire of the attackers.

Positions were taken up on the 27January 1921, but the military did not depart on that day owing to some technical delay at Macroom. The ambushers, anticipating that the convoy would probably proceed within twenty-four hours, decided to remain over night at their posts. For that reason, by 28 January news of the impending attack soon became known amongst the local people, and in due course, information was brought to a local lady named Mrs Lindsay of Leemount House, Coachford whose sympathies were known to be with Crown authorities.

Mrs Lindsay decided to inform the Military at Ballincollig, and without further delay ordered her Chauffeur named Clark to drive her to the local barracks, a distance of about twelve miles. Not far from her house she came upon the local Roman Catholic curate, Rev. E. Shinnick, informed him of her purpose, and requested that he advise the ambushers to abandon their project. Passing through the ambush cordon without hindrance, she safely reached Ballincollig and accurately described the position to the Commanding Officer of the Manchesters who were then stationed there.

Meantime, Father Shinnick approached the attackers, and without stating the source of his information, informed them that the military were now aware of their plans. He suggested that they retire from the spot as quickly as possible. The ambushers, thinking that this was simply a move on the part of Fr Shinnick to have bloodshed avoided, decided to remain at their posts. At Ballincollig, full preparations were made for a surprise attack, and a strong military party arrived at Dripsey Bridge about 3pm. There they divided into two sections, one group advancing along the bye-road towards Peake, whilst the remainder proceeded along the main road to Coachford.

The Peake road party were able to approach the ambushers from the rear, and both sections opened fire simultaneously. The ambushers, now on the defence were armed but were outranged by the service rifles of the military, decided to retire under cover of a rear guard party of six men. In the early stages of the encounter, it was discovered that the military had made one tactical error by not also closing in from the west or Coachford side.

Taking full advantage of this oversight, the main body of the ambushers quickly slipped through the gap, in the attack, and with nightfall approaching, they were soon clear. Their comrades though remained at their posts. However, there came a point where there was no alternative but to surrender. Ten men were arrested. From Dripsey, they were conveyed to Victoria Barracks, Cork City. Crown troops confiscated sixteen shotguns with 101 rounds of ammo, four rifles with 33 rounds of ammo, three revolvers with 86 rounds of ammo and six bombs.

The man heading up the Dripsey ambush was Captain James Barrett. He was born at Killeen, Donoughmore on 29 June 1880. He was employed by the Cork and Muskerry Railway Company and was Station Master at Firmount for nearly two decades before his death. He was Captain of Aghabullogue Football team. He joined the Donoughmore Company of the Irish volunteer movement in 1914. He was Quartermaster within the C Company of the sixth battalion Cork no.1 IRA Brigade. He was wounded in the leg at Dripsey, taken prisoner and brought to Cork Military Barracks. His leg was amputated but died shortly after. He was buried in Donoughmore.

Subsequently Mrs Lindsay was kidnapped by members of the sixth battalion and was used as leverage to free the captives. However, that strategy did not work. On 28 February 1921, five IRA men were executed. They were all members of the Sixth Battalion, Cork no.1 IRA Brigade – Jack Lyons, Timothy McCarthy, Thomas O’Brien, Daniel O’Callaghan andPatrick O’Mahony.

On the captive’s execution,and arising of careful discussion with General Head Quarters in Dublin, and a Brigade meeting at Blarney, the decision was taken to execute Mrs. Lindsay and Clarke, her chauffeur. In early March 1921, they were shot by a firing squad consisting of six volunteers under the command of vice-commandant of the Sixth Battalion, Frank Busteed. In the past decade, Frank Busteed’s memorabilia was donated to the Cork Museum by his grandson, Brian O’Donoghue. It is currently on display with a written up history of Frank’s life and times.

The first Dripsey Ambush memorial was a simple wooden cross, which was erected by friends and relatives of those who died. Anne MacSwiney, a sister of Terence MacSwiney, unveiled it in 1924. A local committee of locals and members of Dripsey Pipe Band was formed to consider a larger memorial. Cork sculptor Seamus Murphy was chosen to create a slender limestone obelisk, at the ambush site, which was unveiled on Easter Sunday in April 1938.


1085a. Dripsey Ambush Memorial, 2007 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1085b. Coachford-Dripsey Road adjacent Dripsey Ambush Memorial, 2007 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1085b. Coachford-Dripsey Road adjacent Dripsey Ambush Memorial, 2007 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
1085b. Coachford-Dripsey Road adjacent Dripsey Ambush Memorial, 2007 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Cllr McCarthy: Closing date approaches for Public Submissions on Old Railway Line Walk Scheme at Rochestown, 27 January 2021

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy wishes to remind the public that consultation on the Passage Railway Greenway Project by Cork City Council Scheme is open till Friday 5 February. The Council is working to improve this popular greenway amenity as a walking route and dedicated cycling connecting Cork City and Cork Harbour. They welcome your comments and invite your views on your experiences as a local resident living next to the existing greenway, your experiences as a user of the existing greenway, your opinion on the route and car park options being considered, and any other information you would like them to consider when developing this project. Public feedback will be considered as part of the project development process.

 Cllr McCarthy noted: “In particular, the proposed scheme focuses on the intersection of the walkway with the Rochestown Road and how that should be addressed. There has always been a series of tensions at this spot – as there is a carparking overflow problem, lack of lighting, questions of access along the waterfront and all the resident and general public concerns that go with it, as well as ecological interference concerns. These are all countered by the health/wellbeing narrative and the need to improve access and connectivity with the areas around the greenway. It is very welcome to see the public engagement so far on the consultation portal”.  

The plans can be viewed on the Cork City Council Consultation Portal. Submissions can also be made through the latter portal, ( where more details can be viewed on the proposals, or alternatively submissions can be sent in writing to Senior Executive Engineer, Infrastructure Development Directorate, Anglesea Street, Cork. Closing date for all submissions is on or before 5pm on Friday 5 February.

READ more here:

Passage Railway Greenway Improvement Scheme- Phase II | Cork City Council’s Online Consultation Portal

Cllr McCarthy: Regeneration for The Marina Walkway Proposed, 28 January 2021

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the new regeneration proposals being drawn up for The Marina’s walkway. These will be presented to central government by City Hall engineers later this year. They include proposals for a complete replacement of the existing footpath and carriageway with the exact layout to be decided through the design process and public consultation. The project will also seek funding for public lighting, some repairs to the quay wall and some general improvement to the public realm including seating, bike parking etc.

Ultimately, the scope of works wishes to create a high quality public amenity space for pedestrians and cyclists with a car free zone between Pairc Uí Chaoimh and Church Avenue.

The Infrastructure Development Directorate of Cork city Council will be publishing a notice seeking tenders from suitably qualified and experienced Design Consultants for the upgrade and enhancement of the Marina (Centre Park Road to Blackrock Village).

Cllr McCarthy noted”: Discussions are underway with funding agencies regarding the financing of the project. City Hall is aiming to appoint the design team in March/April 2021. By the end of 2021 they aim to present a recommended layout to Council members with construction to follow in early 2022 subject to the necessary consents and funding approval”.

Winter at The Marina, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
Winter at The Marina, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 28 January 2021

1084a. Picture of Mary Bowles from non-recorded photographer, January 1921 (source: Cork Examiner).
1084a. Picture of Mary Bowles from non-recorded photographer, January 1921 (source: Cork Examiner).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 28 January 2021

Journeys to a Truce: Clogheen and the tale of Mary Bowles

P J Murphy, Company Commander with Fianna Éireann, in his witness statement for the Bureau of Military History (WS869) recalls that in January 1921 owing to the activity of police and Black and Tans, a number of C-Company of Cork IRA Brigade No.1 could not sleep at home. They were accommodated in the former Cork Lunatic Asylum on the Lee Road. The place was raided several times. A number of arrests were made, including one named Tadhg Barry who was later shot dead on 15 November 1921 by a sentry in Ballykinlar Camp).

P J Murphy’s hideouts with others comprised a number of friendly houses and barns in the Clogheen district (three miles from Blarney). There they made sure that they had sentries posted throughout the night. Flying Columns were now being organised and all necessary arrangements were being made to make sure arms and equipment were protected and in serviceable order. A number of visits had been made by C-Company members to their arms dumps. However, they also had also to contend with informers, who led crown forces to Clogheen.

On 13 January 1921, P J Murphy recalls that the C-Company party included Liam Deasy, Dan Donovan (Sandow), Tom Crofts, Pa Murray, J Dennehy, Mick Bowles, Paddy Connors, Tom Dennehy, Dan Murphy, Mick O’Sullivan, Dan Crowley, Jeremiah Mullane and Jeremiah Deasy.

P J Murphy did the last sentinel duty from 5am to 7am. When they moved out in the morning – some of them to the city to their jobs – P J remained behind with Mick Bowles and Paddy Connors and brought the guns and grenades up to the family home of the Bowles family nearby. At this time, they had the Lewis gun, which was used in the Parnell Bridge Ambush in early January 1921 and had brought it out to show it to Liam Deasy and some of the Brigade officers. They were proud of its possession.

P J Murphy describes that about 11am the place was surrounded by military and Black and Tans. The few of P J’s comrades who remained behind were in a nearby house having a cup of tea when they heard strange voices in the adjoining fields. They picked up their equipment and made their escape. The Lewis gun was lying near a fence covered with a ground sheet. Sixteen-year old Mary Bowles tried to get the gun to a place of safety. She was spotted by the Tans and arrested. Over the ensuing 24 hours, a great deal of the arms equipment, including the Lewis gun, was captured. The arms dump was discovered complete with rifles, revolvers, ammunition, gelignite, gas masks, periscopes, megaphones, and German automatics. Mary was arrested with four men and brought to the Bridewell in the city.

Shandon History Group’s book Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times records that at the Bridewell Mary Bowles was found to be wearing under her blouse steel body armour strapped to her shoulders and fastened at the sides. She was also in possession of a service revolver and an automatic pistol, both loaded in every chamber.  Senior Cork Cumann na mBan members such as Sorcha Duggan, May Conlon and Lil Conlon approached Bishop Cohalan requesting his intervention in seeking her release but were not successful. Mary was moved to the Women’s Prison in Sunday’s Well. On 25 February 1921, she was sentenced to Roman Catholic Reformatory School. Shandon History Group have suggested that the Good Shepherd Convent may have been her detention school.

Meanwhile the capture of the arms led the Black and Tans to become more frequent visitors to the Clogheen area, with the result that C-Company members had to go further afield for sleeping quarters. P J Murphy details that they moved to the Carrignavar area where Company Officers Jerry Dennehy, Mick Bowles, Seán MacSwiney (Terence’s brother) and five or six more were arrested one night in a local house. They were captured with arms and each were sentenced varying from 10 to 15 years imprisonment. The guns were not actually captured in their possession. They were found in another part of the house.

P J Murphy highlights that curfew in Cork City in early 1921 was from 5pm to 3am on Saturdays and Sundays. Martial law was enforced and anyone caught with arms was executed. The military patrolled the streets during curfew hours, and when they withdrew the Black and Tans came out and carried on with their wholesale murders, burnings, and lootings. These activities had a discouraging effect on some of the Volunteers. They feared repercussions on their families and returned their arms to the Unit Quarter Master. P J Murphy describes: “Physically those sleeping out were in a bad way. Scabies was rampant and those who returned home infected their families. Many others contracted TB. People who were friendly to us became afraid that they would be caught harbouring the IRA. No place was safe for more than a few nights”.

As the British campaign intensified it was met by increased activity by the Volunteers. Trees were felled, trenches dug across the roads, bridges blown up and everything done to hamper their communication.


1084a. Picture of Mary Bowles from non-recorded photographer, January 1921 (source: Cork Examiner).

1084b. Commemorative plaque in Clogheen, Cork to Mary Bowles, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1084b. Commemorative plaque in Clogheen, Cork to Mary Bowles, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Open call for Cllr McCarthy’s Community Ward Funds 2021

Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Blackrock, Mahon, Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Douglas, Donnybrook, Maryborough, Rochestown, Mount Oval and Moneygourney with an interest in sharing in his 2021 ward funding to apply for his funds.

A total of e.11,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s Cork City Council ward funds. Due to the annual take-up of the ward funds, in general grants can vary from e.100 to e.300 to groups. Application should be made via letter (Richmond Villa, Douglas Road) or email to Kieran at by Friday 5 February 2021. This email should give the name of the organisation, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact telephone number, details of the organisation, and what will the ward grant will be used for.

Ward funds will be prioritised to community groups based in the south east ward or the south east local electoral area of Cork City who build community capacity, educate, build civic awareness and projects, which connect the young and old. Cllr McCarthy especially welcomes proposals where the funding will be used to run a community event (as per Covid guidelines), digital included, and that benefit the wider community. In addition, he is seeking to fund projects that give people new skill sets. That could include anything from part funding of coaching training for sports projects to groups interested in bringing forward enterprise programmes to encourage entrepreneurship to the ward.

Cllr McCarthy is also particularly interested in funding community projects such as community environment projects such as tree planting and projects that that promote the rich history and environment within the south east of Cork City.

Cllr McCarthy: Work undertaken to stabilise iconic sign at busy Cork roundabout, 26 January 2021

26 January 2021, “Independent Cork City councillor Kieran McCarthy said a member of the public contacted him in December last year, with concerns that the iconic sign at the Fingerpost roundabout in Douglas had collapsed slightly on the mound it stands on”, Work undertaken to stabilise iconic sign at busy Cork roundabout,
Work undertaken to stabilise iconic sign at busy Cork roundabout (

Cllr McCarthy: Mural paying tribute to Cork Hospital staff vandalised, 22 January 2021

22 January 2021, “Local Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy was disappointed with the recent acts of vandalism; “I am disappointed. It is a pity. We have earmarked various commissions in recent months throughout the city, but this one seems to have particularly annoyed somebody who lives in the local area. There is no reference to Covid, it is actually a thank you message to the workers across the road”, Mural paying tribute to Cork hospital staff vandalised, Mural paying tribute to Cork hospital staff vandalised (