The annual tradition of visiting the 115 Cork City schools have begun. At this point I am several mornings into the 24-morning itinerary across September and early October. My general messages revolve around story of the City’s coat of arms and that the translation of the latin inscription, Statio Bene Fida Carinis translated as Safe Harbour for Ships idea is one that refers to all of us being on a journey of discovery in our life ship and to always be curious in what interests you. Connected to that my gift to each of the over 40,000 students is a bookmark telling the story of the coat of arms.
Indeed, always creative and always beautiful is one way to sum up the various Cork Coat of Arms creations – from etchings on old maps to the Lord Mayor’s chain to appearing on City Hall flag motifs, to Waterworks, to the Port of Cork boardroom, to the City Library, Fire Engines to Cork GAA jerseys.
It is unknown when the present-day Coat of arms was first used. However, an arms with two towers and ship appears on the side of Munster Plantation President George Carew’s 1601 map of Cork. It is reputed that the towers are a reference to Watergate, which comprised a large portcullis gate that opened to allow ships into a small, unnamed quay located within the walled town. On either side of this gate, two large mural towers, known as King’s Castle and Queen’s Castle, controlled its mechanics. Little evidence remains of the gate, but on the basis that it had to allow access by ships with full masts, Watergate possibly divided in two and opened like a door, rather than being wound up and down by means of a stout chain on a pulley system.
In 1996, when new sewage pipes were being laid on Castle Street, archaeologists found two portions of rubble that indicated the site of the rectangular foundations of Queen’s Castle. A further section was discovered in 1997. During these excavations, sections of the medieval quay wall were also recovered on Castle Street.
A new Mayor’s gold chain was placed on the shoulders of Mayor of Cork Samuel Rowland in 1787. It was voted on by the court of D’Oyer Hundred – or the city’s assembly of freemen. The sum of £500 was given as a bond by the then Mayor who needed to be paid back, and the money sent onto the London goldsmith. The highlighted medallion has the coat of arms and the Latin inscription Statio Bene Fida Carinis, which means a safe harbour for ships.
In 1825 a pen and ink Sketch by nineteenth century Cork artist Daniel Maclise of the Cork Arms from a stone from the old Customs House, North Main Street, shows a ship between two towers or castles with a sailor, in Elizabethan period dress, and a bird on the rigging. The sketch can be seen in the Cork Public Museum.
The Arms of Cork City were officially registered by the Chief Herald on 23rd August 1949.
“Órdha ar thonntracha mara long trí-chrann fá lántseol dualdaite idir dhá thúr dhearg ar charraigeacha dualdaite ar gach túr bratach airgid maisithe le sailtír dheirg” Leis an Rosc “Statio Bene Fide Carinis.”
“Or, on waves of the sea a ship three masts in full sail proper between two towers gules upon rocks also proper each tower surmounted by a flag argent charged with a saltire of the third” with the Motto “Statio Bene Fida Carinis”.
Nine years later after the official registration in 1957, one of the most striking pieces were created above the entrance to the Cork Harbour Commissioners. The Cork Harbour Board, with a certain amount of ceremony, inaugurated a new symbol in front of their offices to take the place of an old one which was supposed to be a relic of British domination, usually described as the Royal coat of arms. On 8 April 1957, Alderman Seán Casey, TD, Lord Mayor of Cork, unveiled the Cork Coat of Arms over the entrance to the office of the Cork Harbour Board at Custom House Quay.
In Kilkenny limestone, the heraldic design depicts the ancient arms of the city. In the speeches tribute was made to Mr Marshal Hutson, the Cork sculptor, who designed the Coat of Arms, and to Messrs. Thomas McCarthy and Sons, Copley Street, Cork, monumental sculptors, who executed the work. Its erection marks the conclusion of a total reconstruction of the South Jetties, and the completion of the first two stages of the long river wall on the northern side.
Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project:
Coinciding with the school visits I am launching 22nd year of the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project. It is funded by Cork City Council and the Project is an initiative of the Cork City Heritage Plan.
The 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. Suggested topics are over the page. The theme for this year’s project – the 2023/24 school season – is “Why stories matter”.
The project is led by myself and schools for this year will be provided with a 30-minute YouTube tutorial and further questions may be complied and asked during my visits to schools. The break from the tradition of physical workshops is due to my limited time this year due to his mayoralty duties.
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.
Research and creativity are encouraged in an effort to create relevancy, awareness and appreciation of our local past amongst young people. There are prizes for best projects – trophies, book tokens, digital cameras and school workshops to be won. Certificates will be given to all entrants. More information can be got on my heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie.
Check out as well the upcoming Cork Culture Night on Friday 22 September 2023 at wwwculturenight.ie/location/cork-city.
The annual meeting of the President and Assistants of the Cork Fever Hospital and the House of Recovery was held on 26 July 1923. The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor W Ellis, presided. Sir John Scott read the annual report for the year 1922, which had been compiled by the hospital’s Committee of Management. Dr A G Sutton, Resident Medical Officer, recorded that the number of cases admitted during the year were 505. Of these 351 were diphtheria, 21 were scarlatina, 47 were measles, 10 were typhoid fever, 31 were pneumonia, 7 were erysipelas, and all other cases 38.
The official details compiled by Dr Sutton show many interesting details of the hospital’s work, which was located atop Fever Hospital steps near the top of St Patrick’s Hill. A total of 290 cases were admitted from the north area of the city, 86 from the South, 78 from the flat of the city, and 51 cases from the rural districts. These comprised patients of various categories: labourers and their wives, labourers’ children, clerks and their wives and children, servants, students, clergymen, doctors, nurses and people of various other occupations.
The amount received from Cork Corporation was £1,800, £100 from the County Council, £414 from paying patients, £215 from the Joint Labour and Hospital Committee, £134 from subscriptions and donation and proceeds of a whist drive from a Mr D Barry – bringing their receipts to £4,563. The expenses amounted to £3,402.
The serious outbreak of small pox in England caused the Fever Hospital committee some anxiety and there was a fear Cork would be visited by such a dreadful disease. Constant means of communication by sea and by rail increased the danger of the disease being brought to Cork. Preparations were made with a view to coping with any call, which would be made on the resources of the hospital. The committee had twice publicly called upon and communicated with the public health authorities urging them to put a Vaccination Act into thorough operation in the city immediately. Over 2000 children in the City of Cork were unvaccinated.
The water supply of the city was also the cause of some anxiety to the medical profession. However, the committee were pleased to note that the Corporation and the Water Works Committee were taking very practical steps to have the sources of the water supply constantly and thoroughly inspected, and all causes of contamination or pollution promptly dealt with.
The hospital grounds also gave an excellent return of crops of potatoes and vegetables. In addition to being highly appreciated by the patients, it saved the hospital a considerable amount of money.
The report thanked friends and supporters of the hospital – Lady Scott for flowers and plants, St Paul’s Work Guild for articles of clothing, Miss Tel Murphy for toys, Mrs Cantillon of Carrigaline for flowers and cakes, Mrs Lyons of Church View House, Killinadrish for eggs, cream and cakes, Mideleton Dairy for cream, Miss Murphy of Wellington Road for magazines, Mrs Peters of St Finbarr’s Place for home made bread, Mrs Maltby and Mrs Ryan of Sutton’s Buildings for picture books, and many more individuals who sent cakes and prizes for the bridge tournament and whist drive.
The report also referenced Mr P L Smyth of Dublin who through his Derby Sweep (see past columns) organised by him gave a donation of £10,000 to be divided equally between four of Cork city’s hospitals – the North Infirmary, South Infirmary, Mercy Hospital, and Fever Hospital. Each got a sum of £2,500 in cash.
Rev Canon Flewett, in proposing the adoption of the reports, said that in listening to them that he had two points to make. The first was that the Fever Hospital had a great work to do in Cork City, and often “proved a bulwark for the general community against attacks of insidious disease”. He noted thus in the past the Fever Hospital had been most successful and keeping away from the city “every great disaster or trouble that might arise from a possible epidemic”. He further articulated that the hospital was doing great work; “It was doing that work well, and he could not help feeling that one and all connected with institution, the doctor [Dr Sutton], matron [Nurse MacCullagh], nurses, and the attendants, and those who attended the committee meetings, had all contributed their share in carrying out that work”.
Mr S H Newsom seconded the adoption of the reports and endorsed everything that had been said about the working of the institution. He had been associated with hospitals for a considerable time, and his experience had given him an idea of their worth and how they should be appreciated, and he felt that the fever hospital was a very important institution; “The fever hospital staff and nurses were practically always at the front and always in danger, but there seemed to be providential care over them we almost invariably escaped infection. The citizens of Cork are indebted to the institution, which is like a safety valve in connection with any infectious diseases that came on, and I hope it will long continue to be a blessing advantage to the city”.
Another committee member P Brady endorsed the report and made reference to the condition of certain streets in the city come from his personal observation the very worst streets were those abutting on corporation property, especially around the churches of Saint Peter and SS Peter and Paul’s; “The approaches to those churches were often loaded with domestic refuse and the refuse of stables. The bylaws affecting public health should not be allowed to go into abeyance, and had their operators forgotten their duty as regards the supervision that should be exercised over the officials. It was their duty to point out this matter to the cooperation and to raise public interest in it.
Kieran’s Upcoming Tour:
Saturday afternoon, 29 July 2023, Views from a Park – The Black Ash and Tramore Valley Park & Surrounds, historical walking tour; meet at Halfmoon Lane gate, 2pm (free, duration: 90 minutes no booking required).
1212a. Map of Fever Hospital 1949 (source: Cork City Library).
Summer in Cork brings holidays and many visitors to Cork historic core. The multitude of different languages is amplified as one strolls down the always busy Oliver Plunkett Street. Indeed, in my strolls through the city centre to different events the past few weeks, there have been days that the city has been rocking with laughter, chats, concerts, and many people sitting out enjoying the atmosphere in the myriad of different restaurants and cafes.
And yes the City has many challenges – which we are taking on – but we also have many days where Cork’s charming heart is very much on show. Those days we need to talk about much more in order to keep the city centre a positive space and to enhance its sense of place.
Not only is the summer an important opportunity for tourists to discover our city, it is also an important opportunity for locals to rediscover the City and its wider region. Sometimes I feel as Corkonians we can take for granted what is front of us. For me in the past few summers, I have used the time to create new walking tours in different neighbourhoods of the city. The City has its challenges but it has very rich historical layers to rediscover.
Walk the streets, sit on a park bench, support the cultural activities, spend a few minutes or an hour at one of the city’s park festivals, and shop local.
Where to start? Google the Pure Cork website or check out my history trails on my heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie or take a walking tour!
Bláithin the Lizard is Back!
One City Centre related summer project, which is firmly aimed at families, local and tourist is the city’s annual Playful Culture Trail, which focuses on a trail around a colourful character called Bláithín the Lizard. The trail has proven a great success in encouraging families and children to explore Cork’s museums, galleries and historic sites – all of whom have collaborated on the trail.
The Playful Culture Trail was first established in Cork in 2021 as part of an ongoing commitment towards making Cork a ‘Playful City’ and to make cultural and heritage spaces more accessible and fun for children. The idea proved hugely popular with locals and visitors to the city alike and opened a new way of thinking about attractions in the city.
The trail is about finding new ways for families and children to rediscover the city’s many cultural attractions and greenspaces. This year’s theme encourages kids to get creative and use environmentally friendly ways to play and engage with our city’s rich heritage.
Meeting Notes from the Lord Mayor’s Desk:
My social media at present is filled with short interviews with people I am meeting. It is a personal pet project I call #VoicesofCork, which over the next few weeks and months will build into not only a mapping of the diversity of the work of the Lord Mayor but most importantly also to give a voice to a cross-section of those I meet.
3 July 2023, I was honoured to be able to launch the 2023 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival today and to sing with Danny Boy with Cork’s Ukrainian Choir. The festival will occur from Thursday, 27 July, over three days and nights until Saturday, 29 July. It will be based at the Shandon Maldron Hotel, and the events will all be held in and around the old historic community of Shandon. Read more on the festival’s website.
5 July 2023, It was a very short trip as a member to the EU Committee of the Regions in Brussels for its plenary session, and to conduct a short interview with Vasco Cordeiro, President, European Committee of the Regions on how Cork connects to the EU.
7 July 2023, The Cork Lions Club made their annual visit to City Hall. They have served Cork since 1957 and one of 100 Lions Clubs in District 133 Ireland part of Lions International. Cork Lions Club have supported local and international charities for over six decades.
10 July 2023, It was great to attend the Mardyke arena gym. Sporting performance in UCC has been taken to another level with the official opening of a high-performance team gym at the Mardyke Arena. Almost 100 people attended the official opening ceremony of the new University College Cork Mardyke Arena Elite Athlete/ Team high-performance strength conditioning gym, with the new facility coming as a major boost for Cork’s elite athletes and teams competing at national, international and Olympic levels.
10 July 2023, It was my first chairing of a Cork City Council meeting! My thanks to my colleagues for their patience and support. It was a long five hour meeting where everything from bridge naming to greenways to the Council’s social and affordable housing projects, were discussed.
12 July 2023, To celebrate Frederick Douglass Week, I joined Dr Adrian Mulligan on the Cork Abolitionist Trail with members of the public. We met at the impressive mural designed by Cork artist Kevin O’Brien on the Grand Parade. American Abolitionist Douglass visited Cork in the winter of 1845 where he met a number of prominent Corkonians including Fr Theobald Mathew.
12 July 2023, It was great to visit Cork County Hall and to chat to Mayor of County Cork Cllr Frank O’Flynn and to explore further collaborations across topics & policies such as housing, transport, heritage & sport.
12 & 13 July 2023, Thanks to everyone who attended the first of my Lord Mayor historical walking tours. More to come for National Heritage Week in mid-August.
13 July 2023, Cork City Council launched its Community Recognition fund amongst several of the city’s community projects. The €50 million central government fund is a major initiative designed to support local authorities such as Cork City Council specifically support communities across the country that are hosting people from Ukraine and other countries.
14 July 2023, Major congrats to the five new officer of Cadet Class 61 who were commissioned as officers in Haulbowline this week. Great to chat with senior officers of the Defence Forces; my thanks to Flag Officer Commodore Michael Malone & Commander of the Naval College Caoimhín Mac Unfraidh for their courtesy.
Cork City Council, in association with Cork Sports Partnership and Cork Education and Training Board, are in the process of installing eleven new outdoor gyms in our Parks around the city. These clustered Callisthenic Gyms, with age friendly and accessible elements, have proven very popular at Tramore Valley Park, Harty’s Quay, and Ballincollig Regional Park. The new locations are:
CLOUGHEENMILCON SANCTUARY WALKWAY, BLARNEY
GERRY O’SULLIVAN PARK, ST COLMCILLE’S ROAD, GURRANABRAHER, CORK
JOHN O’CALLAGHAN PARK, BALLINGLANNA, CO. CORK
LOUGH MAHON (BLACKROCK CASTLE CAR PARK B), CASTLE ROAD, BLACKROCK, CORK
MURPHY’S FARM, BISHOPSTOWN
POPHAMS PARK, FARRANFERRIS GREEN, FARRANREE, CORK
BALLYCANNON PARK, CLOGHEEN/KERRYPIKE
TORY TOP PARK
MEELICK PARK, BALLYVOLANE
Following a pilot program to provide people with the confidence and skills to use the gyms, a series of free sessions, given by trained instructors, are being offered to the public. These sessions will be open to all ages and abilities but with some targeted at young women who can be too intimidated to use the gyms.
The Lord Mayor Cllr. Kieran McCarthy praised the installation of the gyms: “The installation of new Outdoor Gyms in City parks across our city is a great way to provide a space for the people of Cork to keep active and healthy. These gym installations have proved very popular so far and there have already been public calls for more in other city neighbourhoods. The pilot programme with instructors for our younger citizens is an important opportunity to give them the confidence to use this equipment without assistance in the future”.
These sessions are all about giving people knowledge and the confidence to be able to come to these gyms with a friend, a parent or sibling and use themselves. This program is starting off with five locations, Gerry O’ Sullivan Park, Tramore Valley Park, John O’Callaghan Park, Murphy’s Farm and Lough Mahon but will be rolled out to other areas in due course.
The free training sessions will take place in the coming weeks at the following locations and times:
Tramore Valley Park – 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Gerry O’Sullivan Park, Gurranabraher – 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
John O’Callaghan Park, Glanmire – 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Lough Mahon, Blackrock – 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Tramore Valley Park (female only sessions) – 12:30 p.m. to 1.30 p.m.
Dear colleagues, [dear TDs, senators], dear Chief Executive, dear family, dear Lady Mayoress, dear Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends;
Cork 1863 – A letter is dispatched to the UK to a young architect letting him know he was successful with his design proposal for a new cathedral.
William Burges, the newly appointed architect of a new St Finbarr’s Cathedral, immediately and proudly remarked in his diary, “Got Cork” and with that embarked on a remarkable piece of building work, a voyage of discovery into the origins of Cork history. He created an iconic structure relevant for his time and forged a structure as it was seen at the time as [quote] “worthy of the name cathedral” [end quote].
And proudly I can write in my diary this evening also “Got Cork”.
Mar sin ar dtús báire, ba mhaith liom mo fíor buiochas do mo mholtóir Comhairleoir Des Cahill agus do mo thaiceoir, Comhairleoir Terry Shannon, an bheirt iar-Ard Mhearaí Chorcaí, agus a chomhghleacaithe daor as do mhuinín a chur ionam, agus as bronntanas dom an noiméad seo “Got Cork”.
Many thanks dear colleagues for your trust in me here this evening.
Such a term “Got Cork” has always stayed with me through many years since my first reading of them.
And this diary entry by William Burges leads to many questions on what it is to “Got Cork”.
William was tasked to be a guardian of a key part of the city’s heritage – to carry out a project, with multiple roles – some of which included remembering and representing a legacy, projecting and re-animating the origins story of the city’s patron Saint Finbarr.
He built upon past legacies of former churches, He assembled striking architectural designs in a historic medieval style. He managed a team, and most interestingly conducted archaeological excavations and move skeletons and burials because the new cathedral was twice the size of the church it was replacing.
Whereas this evening, you are not entrusting me to build a Cathedral or to move graves [I hope not, but I cannot confirm I have read all of the terms and conditions with the role!].
But we are, I feel, in our own political cathedral where “Got Cork” takes on new meanings– we are in a space of guardianship, representation and inheritance.
In our ancient ceremony of handing over the chain at our annual general meeting this evening from Cllr Forde to myself – that strong sense of guardianship is ever present. There is a guardianship over the chain as an object of high symbolism – firstly a gold medallion with the city’s coat of arms and its Latin inscription Statio Bene Fida Carinis or translated A Safe Harbour for Ships,
Secondly a portcullis showcasing the ancient water gate of the medieval walled town of Cork thirdly the SS chain links symbolising sacredness and guardianship, and lastly the medallion inscription where 1787 marks its creation.
There is the guardianship of how this chain links the past to our present, almost seamlessly – that one could argue that the chain links are not just physical links but if it could speak it has seen the highs and lows of Cork history from boom to bust and vice versa. The chain has been a witness to it all in its over 230-year history;
…to the creation of the term of Lord Mayor in 1901 with Daniel Hegarty to the tragedies of office holders such as Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney and then woven into a myriad of personal connections by those who have engaged with office holders.
…and then there is the guardianship on how its essence the chain projects the city into the future as debated during the recent boundary expansion scheme. That of all the elements of those contentious debates, which emerged a few short years ago was that the chain and its societal connection meant much to the people of Cork.
And indeed, when you mix the guardianship elements of the past, present and future, one gets a strong mix of high emotion and a deep attachment to the title of Lord Mayor of Cork.
A Personal Journey:
And for someone like me, it’s not lost on me what this chain means.
I was the child on the annual Lord Mayor school visits who felt a deep attachment to the essence of the chain and its connection to the sense of place and pride in Cork– something that made me feel proud, made me connect to my city, driven by proud parents and teachers of Cork. Thanks Mum and Dad, and to my sister Deirdre and my brother Aidan for everything.
I was someone who likened the Lord Mayor’s visit to a form of Christmas and that they had some sort of super powers and that the medallion of the chain was an actual key to a rich box of stories and papers of my city. I look forward to seeing it later.
I was the child who wanted to be Lord Mayor when I grew up
I was the teenager who pursued civic education projects of former Lord Mayors– someone who began to research and photograph the city – its buildings and public spaces – and someone who consumed history books written about the city.
I became a someone who has studied and written on the high and lows of Cork history across time encountering mayors and Lord Mayors like ghosts walking across my research of historic books and newspapers;
A someone who created walking tours, a someone who wrote books on this historic city, and ultimately an epic voyage that has led me straight into this hallowed political gladiatorial space to meet and work with you good people,
to work with different Lord Mayors of differing political hues and interests, to learn more about how this city ticks and develops,
to work in the European Committee of the Regions and now this journey has come to this enormous moment this evening.
So, what my 11 year old self engaged with 35 years ago has brought me on a voyage of epic personal proportions where “Got Cork” has a very high emotional value.
A House of Democracy:
But perhaps it is my journey since I joined the Council in 2009 that has been the most enriching.
I have had wow factor memories, deeply worrying memories and very proud memories.
I have been very fortunate to work with colleagues who care deeply about Cork’s communities – its essence and people, who represent its people and neighbourhoods, where every meeting is a chance to make a difference. In my time, some evenings we have won incredible things for this city and during other evenings, we remain pushing forward inch by inch, or stuck, or we have gone back to the drawing board, but we have always remained true to a forward-looking path.
Indeed, in the past four years of this Council as a significant house of democracy, we have achieved so much.
In this Council term alone, we have gone through many challenges – the expansion of the city’s boundaries, which feels like years and years ago, brought us many nights of debates.
In 2019 in a special booklet to mark the boundary expansion of the city the Council commissioned poet Theo Dorgan to reflect on the winds of change and the related challenges and visions. He wrote:
“Great changes are coming, the worst of the old ways are dust in the wind and the new energies are crackling with light and variousness of daring thought and music. Go on, said one of my brothers, give us a mad vision of Cork in the coming years. That’s Easy I said, it will be the Athens of a new republic, the dream city where a noble past will give birth to a glorious future. He looked at me and said, would you ever cop yourself on. Fair enough I said – getting a bit carried away…but all the same though. What if”.
Again, a sense of “Got Cork” but little did we know what was ahead of us.
We pushed forward through the significant challenges of Covid. We created an online digital platform to enable us to interact. We created a strong Climate Action team. We established a strong Women’s Caucus. We hosted a strong and rich commemoration programme. We passed an ambitious development plan. We found new ways forward to serve in more ambitious ways our respective local electoral areas or neighbourhoods, to placing a focus on our City of Welcomes paradigm, and much much more.
We kept the Council’s work on the road.
This has been due in no small part to your dedication dear colleagues and our strong Executive led by our CE Ann Doherty.
At this juncture I would like in particular like to thank our former Lord Mayors of this Council Cllr Dr John Sheehan, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Cllr Colm Kelleher and the outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Deirdre Forde for leading us through days ranging from “is this our life now sitting 2 metres away from people” to re-opening the city sprinkling it with hope, positivity and charm, to beginning our journey on the development plan, to championing the rebooting of business and community life” and much much more.
We kept this house of democracy going – the importance of guardianship, democracy and representation never wavered.
I am reminded of the words of Tomás MacCurtain in his Lord Mayoralty speech in late January 1920 where he noted:
[quote]: “I expect from the members of the new Corporation a sacrifice of time and a sacrifice, perhaps, of personal interest…that no self-interest would be put before the interest of the community at large”.
And in our time to each member of this chamber you have made sacrifices to your personal lives to make sure this chamber forges paths forwards through its multitude of its work programmes.
The Hope for Tomorrow:
And so now as we face into the last final 12 months of this Council, there is still much to do. There is much work to finish and much work to start.
And when I say all of that I am very conscious that our citizens and their voices and requests must continue to be listened to, new ideas forged and implemented, and need to be the bedrock of Cork’s DNA building into the future.
In our City, democracy matters. It is renewed every time we have a meeting. It will be renewed with the impending local elections next year.
Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney in his book Principles of Freedom spoke about people gifted with certain powers of soul and body. That it is of vital importance to the individual and the community that one be given a full opportunity to place a value on developing one’s talent, and [quote] “to fill one’s place in the world worthily” [end quote].
He also wrote about the citizen and a hope for tomorrow. As he noted:
“The citizen will fight for that ideal in obscurity, little heeded – in the open, misunderstood; in humble places, still undaunted; in high places, seizing every vantage point, never crushed, never silent, never despairing, cheering a few comrades with hope for tomorrow. And should these few sink in the struggle the greatness of the ideal is proven in the last hour”.
And in a similar vain Eamon de Valera opening this City Hall building and our chamber on 8 September 1936. Addressing the masses, he noted:
“I am sure the people will not shrink from the work that is necessary so that the efforts of the past are not to be in vain. The people of this city have clung tenaciously to their nationality with courage and hope even in the darkest hours. Surely that courage and that hope will not sway them now when the dawn is at hand”.
We will have myriads of meetings ahead of us in our final year where the “hope for tomorrow” can make sure our citizens are the front and centre of our priorities such as reducing homelessness, making sure our construction of our new social housing projects keeps on track, as well as keeping our affordable housing programmes on track, to making sure we are put on a firm footing to be Climate Neutral as part of the EU led Horizon Mission,
We need to keep adding to sustainable mobility plans; we need to keep enhancing the offering of the city centre; we need to make sure we keep creating new amenities, and we need to continue to make sure our communities are future proofed by weaving them with the sustainable development goals and the WHO Healthy Cities project. The list is a long one.
And then we need to sprinkle all those priorities with the energy and ambition that a second city brings or what I call Ireland’s southern capital and one gets an exciting future for our city by the Lee.
Cork City Council is on the frontline in building the future of communities in Cork. The Council is a story builder, a strategy builder, and a capacity builder.
In addition, one would be hard pressed to find a community within the city’s boundaries and in its outliers that doesn’t have a strong sense of place and identity – where building community capacity, family nest building, ambition and creating opportunities matter, and when compiled create a very strong Cork Inc.
Without doubt my Lord Mayoralty will champion these many priorities but in particular I would like to offer a voice to many of our citizens through my theme of Building our Communities Together and through a pet project I will be calling the Voices of Cork. My interests in heritage, history and education will be at the heart of this project.
So, at our Annual Meeting this evening, we continue to carry with hope, with confidence, with passion, with wit, with leadership, and all of that bound to the city’s hopes and dreams, which burn brightly for the future. This great city keeps moving and the tests of our time demand continuous action.
And so this evening I can proudly inscribe in my diary “Got Cork” with its multitude of meanings that we all continue to explore, engage and push forward with.
To conclude, I am also reminded of the words of two famous composers, Rogers and Hammerstein who once penned the most beautiful lyrics.
“Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I got a wonderful feeling, everything is going my way,
Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the takeover of ownership by Cork City Council from the HSE of All Saint’s Cemetery in Carr’s Hill.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “It is really great to see the City Council take ownership of this really historic and very important graveyard in Cork’s and in Ireland’s history. There have been many calls in the City Council Chamber and from the general public during the last few years for the graveyard to have a proper maintenance and conservation plan. Whereas the HSE have pursued successful conservation projects in Cork, I feel when it comes to historic graveyards, Cork City Council has more experience; it has concentrated teams focussing on amenity development, heritage and archaeology. Access, the collapse of the historic entrance and stone walls as well as adding to the information history panels need now to be addressed through utilising local heritage City Council funding and drawing down national conservation funding”.
Cllr McCarthy continued; “The graveyard’s history goes back to 1847. As St Joseph’s graveyard could not cope with increase in burials during the Great Famine, Fr Mathew suggested to the Cork Union Workhouse Guardians that a new burial ground should be acquired. As a result, land was attained from George Carr, a workhouse official on the road between Douglas and Carrigaline. Thousands of poor men, women and children are buried there with no headstone. This sacred, sad and hallowed ground needs to be cherished, respected, given dignity. It’s a historically sensitive area which needs TLC”.