Category Archives: Landscapes

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 6 October 2022

1171a. Eugene McCarthy's wooden river ferry or pontoon with horse and cart on board at East Ferry, c. 1910 from Cork Harbour Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.
1171a. Eugene McCarthy’s wooden river ferry or pontoon with horse and cart on board at East Ferry, c. 1910 from Cork Harbour Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 6 October 2022

Journeys to a Free State: A County De-Railed

Building on last week’s column, in early autumn 1922, the Irish Civil War also happened within the satellite area of the city, where surprises attacks on National Army troops were regular by Anti-Treaty IRA members. But in particular the damage inflicted on key infrastructure points was high.

The Cork Examiner reported that on 31 August, Macloneigh Bridge, near Coolcower demesne, about two miles from Macroom was blown up by Anti-Treaty IRA members. This was the last bridge through which connection was maintained between Macroom and Cork on the south bank of the River Lee valley.

During the early hours of 2 September 1922, the Anti-Treaty IRA members blew up Dripsey bridge, and the people of Macroom area now had to come to Cork by Berrings and Cloghroe, as other bridges in the same area in the northern bank of the River Lee valley had been removed by explosives.

In early September 1922 the directors and managers of the railway services in the South of Ireland made efforts to maintain to some degree lines of communication with important centres in the country served from Cork. It was repeatedly highlighted that the wholesale destruction of railway bridges and lines was causing the unemployment of hundreds of menand inconvenience on large communities in wide agricultural districts. In early September 1922 due to damage the Cork-Macroom line had to close just beyond Ballincollig at Kilumney.

In East Cork, the loss of the East Ferry floating bridge, which was highly damaged, caused serious inconvenience to passengers and traffic from the Cobh side of the river to the Midleton and surrounding districts, where a considerable amount of communication was carried on. Rare pictures shows the bridge to be two pontoons arranged catamaran-like, decked over and fitted at either end with a landing ramp. The overall pontoon was chained-hauled between its two terminals of sorts. The bridge, which was the property of Mr Eugene McCarthy, East Ferry, was entirely constructed by him several years previous to 1922.

Using Mr McCarthy’s floating bridge locals could convoy livestock from the south of Midleton to Cove (now Cobh), at a considerably lower rate than if the stock were to be conveyed via Midleton by road. By September 1922 traffic by the latter route or road was cut off owing to the destruction of the bridge at Belvelly. The East Ferry route was the only one left. The damage to the floating pontoon to be repaired included the construction of new gangways, and the fact of the bridge had been beached after the chain was cut, caused several, leakages in the boat, and with the repairing of the chain, in all, the cost of repairs amounted to a considerable figure for Mr McCarthy. 

The Cork Examiner records that on 7 September 1922 passengers on the Muskerry Railway were held at gunpoint by Anti-Treaty IRA members. Since the partial blowing up of the Leemount bridge, the railway company, for the convenience of the public ran a train from Cork to the Leemount bridge at Carrigrohane while a train was also run from Coachford and Blarney to meet it. At Leemount bridge passengers got out of the trains and crossed the bridge on foot, thus exchanging trains there. The trains then returned, one to the city and the other going on to Coachford.

About 11.30am on 7 September the train from Coachford arrived at Leemount with a large number of passengers. However, it was held up by several armed Anti-Treaty IRA members who compelled the passengers to pass between two men with revolvers for inspection. All the passengers passed through this inspection. The IRA members then removed all the mails from the train and took them across the fields towards Leemount. 

On 10 September in the early morning the blowing up of the road bridge by Anti Treaty IRA members near Dunkettle station on the Great Southern and Western Railway branch line, Cork-Cobh, and Cork-Youghal. The familiar old bridge was completely blown away, all that remained were the stone piers. It was a swivel bridge, but seldom was there necessity to open it. Spanning the river stretching along to Glanmire, the only parts of the bridge left were the cylinders which are smashed and broken.  It was believed that mines were laid at either end of the bridge and were set off simultaneously.

The Cork Examiner also highlighted that the destruction of the railway lines serving the southern and western coasts reduced the towns of south and West Cork, and practically all the towns of Kerry led to a large shortage of food supplies. The inland centres were even harder hit, and the enterprising shopkeepers of the towns along the coast organised alternative means of transit to the railway system. There were in all between fifty and sixty motor boats and steamers plying between Cork city and the southern and western towns and villages, including Limerick, Tralee, Kenmare, Goleen, Sneem, Cahirciveen, Skibbereen, Union Hall, Cape Clear, Sherkin Island, Schull, Castletownbere, Baltimore, Clonakiltv, Bandon and Courtmacsherry.

Ranging from ten to fifty tons, the boats brought and took the merchandise, which formerly came over the Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway and the Kerry branch of the Great Southern and Western Railway. Cargoes from West Cork and Kerry arrived at the city’s South Jetties and included pigs, bacon, butter, eggs and fresh fish. The return cargo consisted of flour, meal, bran, groceries, salt, and the products of the local breweries and distilleries.

It is recorded that in early September twenty-five motor boats and ten steamers arrived on one day and having unloaded their cargoes of foodstuffs took with them supplies for the shopkeepers of the western County Cork towns. The boats arrived in all hours of the day and night and unloaded and re-loaded within twenty-four hours.

Caption:

1171a. Eugene McCarthy’s wooden river ferry or pontoon with horse and cart on board at East Ferry, c. 1910 from Cork Harbour Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.

Kieran’s Open Letter & Submission to NTA on Bus Connects, Cork, 3 October 2022

Image: Proposed path to be destroyed at Ballybrack Woods, Douglas to facilitate bridge proposal from Grange Road to Carrigaline Road (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Image: Proposed path to be destroyed at Ballybrack Woods, Douglas to facilitate bridge proposal from Grange Road to Carrigaline Road (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Dear Bus Connects Team,

As a public representative for the south east of Cork City and having two and a quarter bus corridors in my area, it’s difficult to know where to start with my representation.

At the outset I do acknowledge the need for improving the city’s public transport. Indeed, I was one of the core political members, who connected the European Commission to Cork City with regard to the Horizon Europe mission of being 100 Climate Neutral Cities by 2030. So, I am acutely aware of the steep uphill journey the city has to travel to be climate neutral and to work closely between the public and all the stakeholders involved to make sure a strong partnership is maintained.

To be honest at this moment in time I see a very fragmented partnership between the general public and the stakeholders involved in Cork Bus Connects. That partnership and dialogue seriously needs to improve if this epic project is going to get across the line.

To begin with in early July the scatter gun communication to the public via unsigned two-page documents, circulated in a hit and miss way to directly affected houses especially those whose gardens may be part of a CPO process, led to much mistrust and much frustration of the consultation process. Mistrust and frustration has led to further mistrust and frustration. So yes, there is a sense of “you are taking my land” in many cases but moreover there is a case of “you are not reaching out enough to me”.

Coupled with that I have found that the multitude of people who have contacted me unable to read the series of produced maps and unable to digest the many devils in the detail of the different corridors. In effect, I have spent three months in a continuous loop trying to get information to local people via flyering, knocking on doors and hosting a multitude of public meetings – many on the side of affected roads.

Having a public consultation in mid-July led to many local people just becoming aware of the proposals when they came back from holidays in early September. The obligatory ads on bus stops and in newspaper gave nothing of the depth of the detail in the proposals. The info meetings in Nemo Rangers and the subsequent for the bus corridors in my area led to further feedback around the lines of the NTA “don’t know what they are doing”. The engineers who were present were not briefed enough on how to temper the public frustration. So, I remain adamant in my call for the communication team to resign or be completely overhauled.

I have received some positive feedback from the zoom meetings, but the overall feedback I am getting is that because of the scale of the proposals, the NTA should have offices in the heart of affected communities, so people can meet people face to face as these dramatic proposals are being negotiated over the next two years. It is not good enough that the process is being conducted from board rooms of sorts in Dublin. If the NTA are really serious about Bus Connects Cork in Ireland’s second city, the need for a publicly accessible office is crucial.

The various compulsory purchase order proposals are of serious concern to all my constituents and the amount of these proposals is a high price to pay for the implementation of Cork Bus Connects. Having a good garden is a core historical part of suburban design in Cork through the past few decades. Coupled with that the stone encircling walls are unique as well the trees and hedgerows. The overall proposal to remove over 1,000 trees between Ballinlough, Douglas and Grange is high handed environmental vandalism at its worst and I what I deem a very serious attack on Cork’s historic suburban sense of place and quality of life. I acknowledge that there would be replacement but would take several years for said replacement trees to catch on and ecosystems to catch on.

 Indeed, even the thought of 1,000 trees literally being culled has emotionally upset many people by the vision of an almost urban ruinous tree landscape. In an age where trees, biodiversity and wildlife are core aspects of National, regional and local climate action plans, the proposal pitch, for example, to build a bridge across Ballybrack Woods or the Mangala is very disappointing. That this is deemed a proposal has painted a picture to many of my constituent of lack of caring of the importance of ecology and biodiversity to a suburb such as Douglas or to Cork City. The same sentiment could be applied to the proposals to wipe out biodiversity along Douglas Road, Boreenmanna Road and Well Road.

There is a very clear worry on the removal of on-street car parking, which needs a lot more public consultation.

 There are many devils in the detail of Cork Bus Connects. I sincerely ask a way improved partnership with the general public. I ask that a detailed response be given to each maker of a submission, and a complete over haul of the communication process. The current mistrust and frustration, even anger needs to be negotiated with empathy and fairness for all involved.

Sincerely,

_________________

Dr Kieran McCarthy

Member, Cork City Council

Kieran’s Press, Boreenmanna Road & NTA, 30 September 2022

30 September 2022, “Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said: ‘The tree line on Boreenmanna Rd in particular is incredible. It’s quite beautiful at autumn time and it would be an environmental travesty if those trees were actually cut down’ “, Road-widening plans prompt ribbon protest on Boreenmanna Road, Road-widening plans prompt ribbon protest on Boreenmanna Road (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 September 2022

1170a. National Army soldiers in front of the commandeered Cork City and County Club at the intersection of the Grand Parade and the South Mall, photographed by W D Hogan (source: National Library, Dublin).
1170a. National Army soldiers in front of the commandeered Cork City and County Club at the intersection of the Grand Parade and the South Mall, photographed by W D Hogan (source: National Library, Dublin).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 29 September 2022

Journeys to a Free State: A City of Rifle Fire

Despite the securing of Cork City by the National Army of the Irish Provisional Government across August 1922, Anti Treaty IRA members continued to pursue their aims, and Civil War was brought to street corners and into buildings. The Cork Examiner outlines several tit-for-tat activities across September 1922.

In the early hours of 2 September 1922, the forces of the National Army stationed in the city in the course of raiding operations, discovered what was a munitions factory in the house at the corner of the South Mall and Queen Street (now Fr Mathew Street). The munitions were discovered in the upstairs portion of the house over 17a South Mall or 1 Queen Street. A gentleman named Mr McGuckin, who resided there has been arrested, and was detained.

The discoveries made by the troops during their search of the premises included: three boxes of bombs, two bags of bombs, about eight rifles, the same number of revolvers (of either Colt or Webley pattern), large quantities of ammunition, mostly of the dum-dum and explosive type, and machinery for the manufacture of bombs and ammunition.

The two bags of bombs were found underneath the flooring in one of the rooms. The machinery, which was of a very elaborate nature, was right at the top of the house. It was in perfect working order and was capable of turning out quantities of bombs and ammunition, while special provision had also been made for the manufacture of dumdum bullets. The ammunition found on the premises was principally of this type, and included bullets for Thompson and Lewis guns, as well as rifles, revolvers, and even pistols.

On 2 September in the morning at 10.15am an attack was made on the soldiers stationed at one of the city’s national army bases at the Cork City Club, Grand Parade at the intersection of the South Mall. Machine gun and rifle fire was opened upon them. One was killed and fourteen injured. The attack was opened on them from the opposite side of the river – Sullivan’s Quay.

 A motor bicycle and sidecar were proceeding slowly up the quay from Parliament Bridge in a westerly direction. A machine-gun was mounted in the sidecar attachment and trained on the Grand Parade. As soon as the soldiers came into view of the two men in this vehicle the machine-gun opened fire.

At the same moment two men with rifles were seen to fire on the unarmed soldiers from the roof of a house a little to the Parliament Bridge side of Friary Lane, which turns off Sullivan’s Quay at right angles, almost opposite the National Monument. Two other men opened fire from another low roof on the western side of the corner of Friary Lane. The wounded were all brought to the Mercy Hospital.

In the early hours of 5 September snipers were active and several of the National Army posts in the city were attacked. None of the soldiers was hit. The only casualty was Miss Elizabeth O’Meara, who was wounded while in bed at her residence on the Grand Parade. Firing started in the vicinity of Victoria Barracks about midnight, but seemed at first to be merely an effort to draw the fire of the National soldiers. As the morning advanced, however, the firing developed, and machine-gun fire could be distinctly heard for a long time about daybreak.

About 2am an attack was made on the Metropole Hotel, and the sniping in the vicinity of this building continued for nearly six hours until about 7am. Near dawn, shots were fired at the City Club base, Grand Parade, from all sides, but particularly from the rear and from the south side of the river. Replies of gunfire from the National soldiers had the effect of quickly silencing the snipers. Casualties amongst the IRA, if any, were unknown. All the National Army soldiers escaped unhurt.

The Cork Examiner records that on the morning of 7 September, a series of raids on mails were made in different districts in the city, about 25 postmen (of 47 active postmen that morning), engaged in delivering letters, were held-up and the contents of their bags being appropriated by armed men. In each case the postman was confronted by two or three men, who produced revolvers and forced him to hand over the contents of his post-bag. In many cases the postmen had commenced delivery before being hold-up, but in a few cases all the letters were taken. Some of these were recovered by the Post Office. They were handed by an armed civilian.

About 10pm on 13 September night some eight to ten soldiers – all unarmed – were testing a motor lorry, which had been undergoing repairs at Messrs Johnson and Perrott’s garage in Emmet Place. They took the car for a short trial spin towards St Patrick’s Bridge, and it was while doing so that the bomb was thrown at the lorry. It fell into the car, but, very fortunately, did not explode. The person who threw it escaped into the darkness.

About 9.15pm on 18 September 1922 machine gun fire was opened at the National Army troops posted at Moore’s Hotel on Morrison’s Island. The attack came from the opposite side of the river, where a motor car was believed to have had a machine gun. There were no casualties among the troops, but a Mrs Haines, who was a guest in a house adjoining Moore’s Hotel, received several bullet wounds. She was brought to the Mercy Hospital in a critical condition.

Shortly after 9pm on 28 September a small party of National Army troops were travelling along the Ballvhooly road towards the city. A bomb was thrown at them from inside a gateway, which led to the backs of some houses, and from which an easy escape could be made. Due probably to the aim of the thrower the bomb went well wide of its mark, and none of the troops sustained any injuries. Indeed, beyond a small hole in the road and a few broken panes of glass in the houses in the immediate neighbourhood, no physical damage was done, but the local neighbourhood was highly concerned. 

Many thanks to everyone who attended the 2022 season of public historical walking tours.

Caption:

1170a. National Army soldiers in front of the commandeered Cork City and County Club at the intersection of the Grand Parade and the South Mall, photographed by W D Hogan (source: National Library, Dublin).

Cllr McCarthy: Fortnight Left for Cork BusConnects Consultation, 19 September 2022

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy calls on householders with concerns on the proposed BusConnects route from Maryborough Hill through to Douglas Road across Boreenmanna Road and Well Road to make submissions to the consultation process by Monday 3 October on Cork BusConnects.ie.

BusConnects Cork aims to enhance the capacity and potential of the public transport system. It will support the delivery of a low carbon and climate-resilient public transport system in addition to greatly improving accessibility to jobs, education whilst playing a key role in regeneration and improvements to public realm and City Centres.

Cllr McCarthy noted; “The plan is ambitious but proposes dramatic changes to the roadscape in order to future proof public transport across the city. I continue to receive a lot of calls and emails from locals asking for City Council members to intervene but on this enormous set of plans, the democratic powers of local Council members have been dismissed, and the National Transport Authority is now the key decision maker.

“If local residents have questions, they can still contact me. I have heard from many local residents who have concerns on the widening of Douglas Road, Boreenmanna Road, Well Road and Grange Road. It is crucial that those who live along these roads and who are still not unaware of the plans that they log onto Cork BusConnects website and come up to speed with proposals to take strips of front garden space, tree corridors and on-street car-parking”, detailed Cllr McCarthy.

Cllr McCarthy also organised a number of public meetings on the National Transport Authority proposal to place a 20 metre wide bridge to facilitate bus and cars over Ballybrack Woods from Donnybrook Hill to Maryborough Woods as part of the Grange to Douglas Bus Corridor. Cllr McCarthy noted: “This is a shocking act of environmental vandalism. Yes there is a need to improve the nature of public transport in the city and in the south east of the city but not at the expense of demolishing half a woodland to do it”.

 Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project Launches for Year 21

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has launched the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2022/23. The project is in its 21st year and is open to schools in Cork City. It is funded by Cork City Council and the Project is an initiative of the Cork City Heritage Plan.

The City Edition of the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project (est. 2002/03) is aimed at both primary and post primary level.  Project books may be submitted on any aspect of Cork’s rich past.

The fourth-class level is open to fourth class students. The primary senior level is open to students of fifth and sixth class. Post primary entrant/s will be placed in Junior Certificate or Leaving Certificate levels. The post primary level is open to any year from first to sixth year.

A student may enter as an individual or as part of a group or as part of a class project. The theme for this year’s project is “The Value of the Past”.

Free and important project support in the form of free virtual workshops led by the Project Co-ordinator Cllr Kieran McCarthy will be held in participating schools across September and October 2022. This is a 40 minute workshop to give participating students ideas for compilation and resources.

Free workshop support is also available to schools who have never entered before and wish to have a workshop to see how the project works or to get some perspectives on Cork history. Information on entering this year’s project is on Kieran’s heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “It is great to reach the twenty-first year of the project. Over 15-16,000 students have participated in the project through the years with many topics researched and written about – from buildings and monuments to people’s stories and memories. The Project continues to encourage and work with Cork students in celebrating, highlighting, debating and creating fresh approaches to Cork’s cultural heritage. The Project also focuses on students gaining acknowledgement and self-confidence from their work”.

“In addition, never before has our locality and its heritage being so important for recreation and for our peace of mind. In the past two years, more focus than ever has been put on places and spaces we know, appreciate, and attain personal comfort from”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

View the brochure here: 2022-23-Discover-Cork-Schools-Heritage-Brochure.pdf (corkheritage.ie)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 1 September 2022

1166a. Painting of Michael Collins by Sir John Lavery, August 1922 (picture: Hugh Lane Gallery).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 1 September 2022

Journeys to a Free State: The Burial of Michael Collins

The morning after the death of Michael Collins in Béal na mBláth on 22 August, his body lay in Cork City’s Shanakiel Hospital. From an early hour on 23 August, the surrounding roads leading to the hospital were packed with people.

The Cork Examiner records that some members of the public were admitted to the hospital grounds and a few had the honour to enter the room, where the body was lying in state. Officers of the National Army formed a guard of honour and the room was laden with floral tributes and choice blooms. Michael’s comrades including Major General Dalton, were present. Many citizens passed in and said a silent heartfelt prayer and departed again. A number of clergy were also present, including Most Rev Dr Cohalan, Bishop of Cork.

Meanwhile National Army troops lined up along the sweeping avenue to the hospital. About noon, the prayers for the dead having been said by Rev Scannell of Farranferris and the assembled clergy, the lid was placed on the coffin and removed to the hearse. The pall bearers were Major General Dalton, Colonel Commandant Kingston, General Liam Tobin, Colonel Commandant Vincent Byrne, Colonel Commandant Seán O’Connell and Lieutenant Commandant Dolan.

The order was given to the troops to reverse arms and the coffin was brought out followed by a group of nurses carrying the wreaths. The hearse moved down the ranks of the troops, and the military funeral procession went on its way.

As it proceeded on to Sunday’s Well, over Thomas Davis Bridge, Western Road, Washington Street, St Patrick’s Street, and down to Penrose Quay, where the remains were to be put on board a ship to be taken to Dublin, there were repeated deep lines of sorrow by the general public.

When it became known in the city that the body was going to be taken to Dublin by the SS Classic, people in large numbers thronged the quays, and by the time the funeral cortege approached St Patrick’s Quay and Merchants Quay mass crowds were present. The approaches to Penrose Quay were, however, guarded by National troops, and to prevent congestion, the public were not allowed nearer the SS Classic than the Brian Boru Bridge.

The SS Classic arrived from Fishguard at 10.30am, and the news of the death of General Collins caused grief amongst the passengers, many of whom were visibly affected.  Captain Harrison was asked by the National Army for the vessel to convey the remains of Michael Collins to Dublin, and the necessary preparations were at once made.

At 1pm an armed guard with a machine gun went on board, and a little later the armoured car Slievenamon with her crew arrived, the armoured car being was also placed on board the vessel.

Throughout Cork all places of business were closed as a mark of respect to the memory of Michael Collins. The tricolour was flown at half-mast from all the buildings occupied by the National troops.

As the crowds became denser, members of the newly-formed Cork Civic Patrol, under Mr Jeremiah Murphy, assisted the military in keeping the quays clear. Their task was, however, an easy one, for the mourning citizens had only to be told once that their presence on Penrose quay would delay the troops and the transfer of the coffin to the ship.

Shortly after 1pm the funeral cortege moved slowly down Penrose Quay. Bishop Cohalan and several priests walked in front of the coffin, which was covered with the tricolour and borne in a hearse drawn by a pair of black horses. Behind it walked the relatives and friends of the deceased, well-known public men and political sympathisers, and finally the troops with arms reversed.

The Bishop, priests, and friends of General Collins went immediately on board. At 1.15pm the coffin was removed from the hearse, and was borne on the shoulders of General Dalton, General Tobin, Staff Captain McGrath, Commandant Friel, Staff Captain Courtney, and Captain Conroy to the vessel. It was received on board by the Bishop and the ship immediately departed.

Before the Waterford coast had been reached, a wireless message was picked up to the effect that the SS Lady Wicklow was on her way to Cork to convey the remains to Dublin, and that members of the Provisional Government were aboard. Passing Waterford, the SS Lady Wicklow was hailed and instructions communicated to her to return to Dublin. She immediately stopped and started her return journey. The SS Classic reached the mouth of Dublin Bay at 1am on 24 August.

The Cork Examiner records that the body passed through the silent streets of Dublin in the early morning. Over the cobbled quays the gun carriage, carrying the flag draped coffin, made its way. Despite the hour and the uncertainty of the time of arrival along the streets there were gathered with large groups of people.

The procession passed along the silent streets to St Vincent’s Hospital, Stephen’s Green. The remains lay in the mortuary with a guard of honour of military officers until about half-past nine the following morning, when they were removed to the Community Chapel.

Before the coffin was removed from the mortuary the blessing was given by Rev John McLaughlin, Acting Chaplain. Before being removed from the mortuary to the chapel the remains of Michael Collins were embalmed. In addition, Sir John Lavery painted the picture of Michael Collins as the body lay the coffin in the community chapel.

Michael Collins’ remains were removed at 7pm that evening to Dublin City Hall, where they laid in state until the following Sunday evening. They were then taken to the Pro-Cathedral. Solemn High Mass was be celebrated at 11am on the Monday morning, 28 August 1922 after which Michael Collins was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Caption:

1166a. Painting of Michael Collins by Sir John Lavery, August 1922 (picture: Hugh Lane Gallery).

Cllr McCarthy’s September Walking Tour Dates Launched, 29 August 2022

Cllr Kieran McCarthy has launched his September set of public historical walking tours. They will focus on three locations – Ballinlough, Blackpool, and the old Cork Union Workhouse site at St Finbarr’s Hospital. 

Cllr McCarthy noted; “These three suburbs have much cultural and built heritage. There are many nineteenth century tales running through these locations. Blackpool has a rich industrial heritage at its heart. Ballinlough has everything from historic graveyards to stories of big house estates to tales of market gardens. Whilst the old workhouse site contains stories from impoverished society and those who struggled to make ends meet”.

“These three locations follow quickly on the back of a successful and recent series of tours for National Heritage Week. It’s great to be able to host physical tours again. The September tours are the last set of public tours till next spring again. I began the public tours in early April and by the time late September rolls around, 22 free public tours will have been given by me this year. All aim to build a sense of civic pride and also just to put a focus on the history and heritage in our own city”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Kieran’s September 2022 Tours:

Saturday 3 September 2022, Blackpool: Its History and Heritage, historical walking tour with Kieran; meet at square on St Mary’s Road, opp North Cathedral, 2pm, (free, two hours).

Sunday 4 September 2022, Ballinlough – Knights, Quarries and Suburban Growth; historical walking tour with Kieran; meet at Ballintemple Graveyard, Temple Hill, 2pm (free, two hours).

Saturday 17 September 2022, The City Workhouse, historical walking tour with Kieran; meet just inside the gates of St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Road, 2pm (free, two hours, on site tour).

NTA, Bus Connects & The Mangala Bridge and Grange Road Proposals, 22 August 2022

Extract from letter to residents in Shamrock Lawn and along Grange Road:

Several local residents have been in contact with me regarding the seriousness of the Mangala Bridge proposal and the widening of the Grange Road proposal, which are proposals, which lay in the hands of the National Transport Authority (NTA) – and are not voted upon by the elected members of Cork City Council.

As part of the NTA’s Kinsale Road to Douglas Bus Corridor proposal, a 20 metre wide bridge is being proposed over the Ballybrack stream valley from Donnybrook Hill to the Carrigaline Road. The proposed bridge for buses, cars and bicycles over the green space would take out huge sections of Ballybrack Woods – possibly over 50 %.

A second proposal is to bring the Grange Road boundary 4-5 metres closer to houses fronting onto the road including Shamrock Close, Shamrock Drive and Grange Avenue – to eliminate the current tree line and to replant trees at new locations along the proposed new road.

I know how much the Mangala space is used and cherished by the local population as well as the Grange Road boundary.

The main website is www.busconnects.ie/cork/ where the different bus corridor proposals can also be viewed.  P.46 of the Kinsale Road to Douglas proposed bus corridor has the colour version of the map I have copied on the back of the letter.

https://busconnects.ie/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/STC-K-Kinsale-Road-to-Douglas-20.06.22-FA-WEB.pdf

I have also posted a short film on YouTube outlining the areas effected; search for “Save Ballybrack Woods”.

Please make an online submission on Bus Connects Cork at www.busconnects.ie/cork/ or by pen. Be honest and write about how you feel about the proposal.

In light of the seriousness of the proposals and the many queries I am getting from local residents, I will host an information meeting on this Thursday evening, 25 August, 6.30-7pm on Inchvale Road green, next to the entrance to St Columbas Schools where further queries can be asked.

NTA Mangala Bridge proposal, July 2022
NTA Mangala Bridge proposal, July 2022
Site of Mangala Bridge, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Site of Mangala Bridge, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 18 August 2022

1164a. Armoured Car with National Army soldiers on Union Quay, Cork, 10 August 1922, photograph by W D Hogan (source: National Library, Ireland).
1164a. Armoured Car with National Army soldiers on Union Quay, Cork, 10 August 1922, photograph by W D Hogan (source: National Library, Ireland).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 18 August 2022

Journeys to a Free State: The Re-taking of Cork City

Kilkenny-born journalist Frank Geary (1891-1961) had a front row seat of the unfolding Irish Civil War. In 1922 he joined the Irish Independent as a staff reporter. On 3 August 1922, he was sent by his editor to cover the unfolding Civil War in Cork. To get to Cork he had to sail via Liverpool because all Irish regional roads were blocked, but he was then the first to get news out of Cork. 

Frank’s notes, which have survived and have been published, recall the landing of the National Army under General Emmet Dalton and their advance to Cork City to clear the retreating Irregulars or Republicans. His account of the days of the Battle of Rochestown is told from his perspective of being in the city and viewing the manoeuvres of the Irregulars as they tried to send reinforcements to Rochestown and the attempt to retain the city.

By Thursday morning 10 August 1922, the Irregulars retreated from Rochestown and blocked the roads at several other points, in order to delay the advance of the National soldiers. Early on Thursday afternoon, the National forces reached Douglas, and the Irregulars commenced evacuating Cork City, which was occupied by the National troops before night fall.

Frank recalls that by mid-Thursday afternoon that there was repeated activity of Irregulars all over the city. Bands of men with rifles flung over their shoulders were marching around. The Imperial Hotel, the County Club and the Ex-Soldiers League had again been vacated. News was being distributed that the National Army were advancing on the city. A Republican War News had been published by Irregulars and was being sold on the streets. It comprised three or four pages of typewritten text.

Frank stood on the opposite bank to Union Quay barracks. Outside the barracks there was an assortment of motor vehicles of all kinds and descriptions – lorries, five-seaters, two-seaters, and bicycles and sidecars. Big crowds still congregated around the quays. A messenger arrived at the barracks. Almost out of breath, he gave a message with desperate haste.  Men ran here and there into the building and out of it. A number of the irregulars rushed on to the road. They got around a big five-ton lorry. They pushed it and got it going, and then, splash, it was in the adjacent River Lee.

 Frank continues: “The men rush to another car, a fine five-seater. They push it into the river. Another and another and another and yet another meet with similar fates before the horrified gaze of the crowd. Several motorcycles, many of them with sidecars, were pushed into the water. One pretty little two-seater motor car just gets caught in the woodwork on the quay and doesn’t fall. It hangs there, betwixt and between, a funny-looking sight. The whole quayside is now cleared”.

At 3pm, suddenly Frank witnessed a volley of rifle and revolver shots ringing out. People ran and sought refuge in every open door. The volleys were apparently been fired as a warning for, as minutes later there was a loud resounding boom. A dense volume of black smoke burst up from the barracks, followed by the crash of falling masonry. Smoke arose from every window, from every chimney, even from between the very slates. In other parts of the city, there were explosions in other Republican strongholds followed by smoke and fire. Elizabeth Fort, off Barrack Street, the Bridewell in Cornmarket Street, Tuckey Street police barracks, Empress Place police barracks and high up on its hill Victoria Barracks was also in flames.

Frank writes of a city that had fallen and which was destroyed by smoke and the stench of burning buildings: “Cork has fallen. The irregulars are evacuating. As it was in Limerick they are going, going, going! Explosion follows explosion with terrifying rapidity. Cork has been my worst experience from this point of view. Like the waters of many rivers converging into a big lake, the smoke of many fires has converged into one dense mass, which hangs like a deadly pall over the whole city. The air below, as it were, is imprisoned and one stifles with the heat, the oppressive heat, and the acrid smell of burning buildings”.

In the midst of the burning Frank describes that looting had begun, and parades of men, women and children flocked to the burning buildings and take everything they can lay their hands on – motor-bicycles, wardrobes, beds, chairs, tables were amongst the materials looted. People even braved the danger of exploding bullets and bombs, and physically went into the burning buildings and carry away various articles of furniture.

At 4pm Frank describes that there was another big explosion. This one was an attempt to blow up the Parnell Bridge. It was only partially successful. A big gaping hole was blown in the wooden groundwork and part of the steel work was rent asunder and twisted like a piece of paper. Pedestrian traffic over the bridge is still possible.

By 5pm large crowds of citizens thronged the streets. Frank writes that there was not a shop open in the city. At the first explosion all the shops were quickly shuttered and closed down. All the factories and workshops in and around the city were also closed. The tramway service, too, was suspended, and was not resumed that evening. Just before the Irregulars departed they also visited the General Post Office and wrecked the telegraphic department. The telephone exchange was also visited and here the apparatus was also smashed. Several bridges on the main line to Dublin were also blown up hampering any railway communications.

By 7.30pm, the announcement spread that National army troops had arrived and were actually in the city – they were crossing Parnell Bridge. The first of them was preceded by an armoured car. The advance guard came slowly. Frank details that tens of thousands of citizens thronged the thoroughfares to view the scene. The following day Frank travelled onto Waterford by boat to write about his experiences there.

My thanks to Billy Collins for alerting me to Frank Geary’s story.

Kieran’s Remaining National Heritage Week tours:

Thursday 18 August 2022, Views from a Park – The Black Ash and Tramore Valley Park, historical walking tour in association with the KinShip Project; meet at Halfmoon Lane gate, 6.30pm (90 minutes; no booking required). 

Saturday 20 August 2022, Douglas and its History, historical walking tour in association with Douglas Tidy Towns; Discover the history of industry and the development of this historic village, meet in the carpark of Douglas Community Centre, 2pm (no booking required, circuit of village, finishes nearby). 

Sunday 21 August 2022, The Battle of Douglas, An Irish Civil War Story, historical walking tour, meet at carpark and entrance to Old Railway Line, Harty’s Quay, Rochestown; 2pm, (free, 2 hours, no booking required, finishes near Rochestown Road). 

Caption:

1164a. Armoured Car with National Army soldiers on Union Quay, Cork, 10 August 1922, photograph by W D Hogan (source: National Library, Ireland).