The conclusion of this school season’s Discover Cork
Schools’ Heritage Project was recently marked by an online awards ceremony and
presentation of winning projects. A total of 25 schools in Cork City took part
in the 2020-21 edition, which ranged from schools in Ballinlough, Ballintemple,
Blackrock to Blarney and Glanmire, and from Ballyphehane to the Shandon
area. Circa 1,000 students
participated in the process this year with approx 200 project books submitted
on all aspects of Cork’s local history & heritage.
The Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project is in its 18th year
and is a youth platform for students to do research and write it up in a
project book whilst offering their opinions on important decisions being made
on their heritage in their locality and how they affect the lives of people
locally. The aim of the project is to allow students to explore,
investigate and debate their local heritage in a constructive, active and fun
Co-ordinator and founder of the Project,
Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted that: “The Project this year was even more apt this
year as we all find ourselves within our localities much more. In particular,
this year’s entries focussed on famous buildings of Cork City, historic
walkways, public parks and many oral history projects. Again, this year
students made fab models and short films on their topics. One could also see
the family and friend involvement in projects. Technically with this project
for every one student, there are another four people who have been consulted
and who are consulted to help with projects. One could argue that over 4,000
people have some input into project books every year”.
“The Schools’ Heritage Project remains focussed about
developing new skill sets within young people in thinking about, understanding,
appreciating, and making relevant in today’s society the role of our
heritage – our landmarks, our stories, our landscapes in our
modern world. Ultimately the project focuses on motivating and inspiring young
people through them working on a heritage project for several weeks and seeks
to build a sense of place and identity amongst younger people”, concluded Cllr
The Project is funded by Cork City Council with further
sponsorship offered by the Old Cork Waterworks Experience and Cllr Kieran
Full results are online on Cllr McCarthy’s local
history website, www.corkheritage.ie. There is also a link there to the YouTube
award ceremony. On the YouTube video Kieran, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe
Kavanagh, and Niamh Twomey, City Council Heritage Officer speak about the
winning projects for this school season.
“Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the beginning of the phase 1 of the Passage Railway Greenway Improvement Scheme on next Monday 22 February. Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding. There is a deep affection for the old railway line walk and in these COVID times is used regularly by locals”.
“The widening of the footpath is to be welcomed and one which locals have called for. I am personally excited that the old Blackrock Station platform is to get conservation works. It is in a poor state and it would be a shame to lose the platform completely due to neglect. I am also excited by the planting of 60 semi mature trees and over 2,000 saplings along the phase 1 from the Mahon Point to The Marina. It is also welcome that the greenway will be kept open to the greatest possible extent throughout the works”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
This presentation outlines the history and recent refurbishment of the iconic ‘Shakey’ Bridge which was originally built under the stewardship of the City Engineer, SW Farrington, who was also the first Chair of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland. Kieran McCarthy, an Independent Councillor in Cork City and a noted local historian with an avid interest in the architectural and industrial heritage of his native city outlines social and economic context of the original construction which opened in 1927 to replace an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. The bridge remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland.
Michael Minehane, Chartered Engineer and Principal Engineer at RPS details the recent rehabilitation of the bridge which re-opened in December 2020, including the special inspection and structural assessment, site investigations and material testing, rehabilitation works, the approach to conservation, structural dynamics and aspects of design and construction.
“Last week’s announcements by the National Transport
Authority (NTA) are really positive for the Marina area and the Old Railway
Line Walk through to Bessboro. Firstly phase 1 of the Greenway has been given
funding of e.3.2m to progress construction. It comprises widening of the existing surfaced area along
the old railway line path from 3m to 5m, the installation of new public
lighting and CCTV, emphasising the heritage of the railway (especially at
Blackrock Station) and producing a biodiversity corridor along the railway
Secondly, it is also really great to see funding
following the public consultation and its vision for the Marina and the Council’s
subsequent vote to pedestrianise the Marina walk full-time.
of e.240,000 has received from the NTA to progress preliminary design,
planning, design team appointment & detailed design for the Marina
Promenade Pedestrian and Cycle facilities project. Many people have complained
that is very difficult to walk over certain sections of the Marina’s road plus
the need to have a think about public lighting after dark and the counter
balance of that with protection of natural habitats around the Atlantic Pond
and eastwards. The project will also seek funding for some
repairs to the quay wall and some general improvement to the public realm
including seating, bike parking etc.
In March/ April this
year, 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).
By the end of 2021
City Hall officials aim to present a recommended layout to Council members with
construction to follow in early 2022 subject to the necessary consents and
Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding”.
On Tuesday, 16 February at 7pm the latest in a series of online talks by Engineer’s Ireland will be available: The History and Rehabilitation of Daly’s Bridge (The Shakey Bridge) presented by Michael Minehane, Chartered Principal Engineer at RPS and Kieran McCarthy, noted local Cork historian.
“As part of the Cork Regional 80th Anniversary celebrations, we are delighted to host this presentation on the history and refurbishment of the iconic “Shakey” Bridge which was originally built under the stewardship of the then City Engineer, SW Farrington, who was also the first Chair of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland” says Ronan Keane, current Chair.
The presentation will outline the social and economic context of the original construction, first opened in 1927, replacing an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. It remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland. Michael Minehane says, “I will be giving the second part of the talk which will outline the recent rehabilitation of the bridge which re-opened in December 2020, including the special inspection and structural assessment, site investigations and material testing, rehabilitation works, approach to conservation, structural dynamics and aspects of design and construction.”
Kieran McCarthy will talk about the history of the bridge “of all the bridges in the city centre island, one can argue that Daly’s Bridge is the one which holds the fascination of the public the most. The removal of the main body of the bridge to deep clean it off site caused a large tinge of public sadness. Its return to the Banks of the Lee in the spring of 2020 heralded hope, and almost a sense that a valued family member had returned. The bridge’s essence has transcended time from a physical bridging point to one of playfulness, one of fun, and one whose shakiness is a key part of Cork’s Cultural Heritage.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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”.
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy continues
his commissions of street art on Douglas Road. In recent weeks, two new pieces
have emerged on traffic switch boxes. The first mural, which is located at
Cross Douglas Road, is that of Terence and Muriel MacSwiney who lived at 5
Eldred Terrace in 1917.
Cllr McCarthy highlighted: “There was a commemorative plaque erected on the wall of their former house in June 1980 but unfortunately the plaque was taken down a few months later. There have been calls within the Ballinlough area and Douglas Road by locals to once again mark the story from over hundred years ago of the MacSwineys living within the local community. This mural’s central image is from an old photograph of the couple whist the rose motif is a nod to the always beautiful adjacent flower shop.
The second mural is opposite the entrance
to St Finbarr’s Hospital. Cllr McCarthy noted: “The mural has the theme of
“hold firm” and is dedicated to healthcare staff within the hospital who have
held firm against COVID-19. The mural adds to the existing street art mural,
which was painted Kevin O’Brien outside CUH last year”.
“It has been great to commission artist
Kevin O’Brien again. This is my sixth commission with him. He really brings
ordinary municipal utility boxes to life with his creativity, imparting
uplifting and positives messages. Roads such as Douglas Road are well walked everyday,
so it is great to bring his work into heart of suburban communities, concluded
Artist Kevin O’Brien noted: “Street art is
a fantastic way to improve the aesthetic of urban areas and build a sense of
character in communities, but beyond that, with cultural
spaces currently closed, the availability of street art in public
spaces takes on an even greater importance”.