Category Archives: Landscapes

“Evening Echo” Lighting Installation at Shalom Park, 29 December 2019

“Evening Echo” Lighting Installation at Shalom Park

Sunset – Sunday 29th December 2019
Shalom Park

Lighting Sequence:
9th Lamp on : 4:21pm
Sunset : 4:31pm
9th Lamp off : 5:01pm

Evening Echo is a public artwork by New Zealand artist Maddie Leach. It is sited on old gasometer land gifted by Bord Gáis to Cork City Council in the late 1980s. This site was subsequently re-dedicated as Shalom Park in 1989. The park sits in the centre of the old Cork neighbourhood known locally as ‘Jewtown’. This neighbourhood is also home to the National Sculpture Factory.

Evening Echo is an art project generated as an artist’s response to the particularities of place and locality. Now in its ninth year, the project continues to gather support from the Cork Hebrew Congregation,Cork City Council, National Sculpture Family, Bord Gáis and its local community.

The project is manifested in a sequence of custom-built lamps, a remote timing system, a highly controlled sense of duration, a list of future dates, an annual announcement in Cork’s Evening Echo newspaper and a promissory agreement. Evening Echo is fleetingly activated on an annual cycle, maintaining a delicate but persistent visibility in the park and re-activating its connection to Cork’s Jewish history. Intended to exist in perpetuity, the project maintains a delicate position between optimism for its future existence and the possibility of its own discontinuance.

This year the last night of Hanukkah is Sunday the 29th December and offers the only opportunity to see the tall ‘ninth lamp’ alights until next year. The cycle begins 10 minutes before sunset, which occurs this year at 4.31pm, and continues for 30 minutes after sunset when the ninth lamp is extinguished.

The Evening Echo project is an important annual marker that acknowledges the significant impact that the Jewish Community had in Cork. Moreover this artwork, illustrates the precarious balance and possible disappearance of any small community existing within a changing city. Evening Echo continues as a lasting memory of the Jewish community in Cork city, and remains as a comment on the transient nature of communities and the impacts that inward and outward migration brings to the character of all cities.

Cork City Council wishes to acknowledge the essential role played by the Rosehill family of Cork in support of this artwork.

The event will be live-streamed by the Cork City Council on

The Blessing of a Candle

The Blessing of a Candle

Cllr Kieran McCarthy

Sturdy on a table top and lit by youngest fair,
a candle is blessed with hope and love, and much festive cheer,
Set in a wooden centre piece galore,
it speaks in Christian mercy and a distant past of emotional lore,
With each commencing second, memories come and go,
like flickering lights on the nearest Christmas tree all lit in traditional glow,
With each passing minute, the flame bounces side to side in drafty household breeze,
its light conjuring feelings of peace and warmth amidst familiar blissful degrees,
With each lapsing hour, the residue of wax visibly melts away,
whilst the light blue centered heart is laced with a spiritual healing at play,
With each ending day, how lucky are those who love and laugh around its glow-filledness,
whilst outside, the cold beats against the nearest window in the bleak winter barreness,
Fear and nightmare drift away in the emulating light,
both threaten this season in almighty wintry flight,
Sturdy on a table top and lit by youngest fair,
a candle is blessed with hope and love, and much festive cheer.

Kieran's Christmas Candle

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 19 December 2019

1028a. Bantry House, present day



Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 19 December 2019

Gems From West Cork


My new book, 50 Gems of West Cork (Amberley Publishing, 2019) book explores 50 well-known gems of that beautiful region. Below is an abstract from two of my favourite sites – Bantry House and Bantry Bay.


Gem 30, A Chequered Past – Bantry House:

   The elegant Bantry House defines the character of the adjacent local town. The house inspired the town’s development and the pier and vice-versa. The Archaeological Inventory of West Cork presents research excavations carried out in 2001 in an area directly west of the present house. Here the remains of a site were discovered of a deserted Gaelic medieval village and a seventeenth-century English settlement. Excavations revealed the foundations of the gable end of a mid-seventeenth-century house. This was in turn overlain by a more substantial and better-built rectangular structure, interpreted as a timber-built English administrative building. A palisade trench, dug late in the sixteenth or early in the eighteenth century, immediately pre-dated this building. According to the excavator, this had presumably created a stockade foundation around the early plantation settlement. Sixteenth-century cultivation ridges were also uncovered. These had cut into the foundations of a fifteenth/ sixteenth-century Gaelic domestic structure.

   The area seems to have been abandoned in the middle of the seventeenth century and all available cartographic and documentary evidence indicated that no subsequent building or landscaping had taken place. The narrative of the old sites fell out of memory.

   The earliest records for the next phase of the site date from circa 1690 and describe land deals between Richard White and the Earl of Anglesey, which established the basis of the Bantry House Estate. The records, which are in the archives of the library of University College Cork, include information about the ownership of land and property on the family’s Bantry, Glengarriff, Castletownbere and Macroom estates. The Whites built a detached five-bay two-storey country house over a basement, circa 1710.

   In 1816, Richard White was created first Earl of Bantry. Prior to his marriage, he toured extensively on the continent, making sketches of landscapes, vistas, houses and furnishings, which he later used as inspiration in expanding and refurbishing Bantry House. The White family throughout the nineteenth century intermarried with other well-known landed families including the Herberts of Muckross House, Killarney, and the Guinness family of Dublin. Inspired by his travels and contacts, in 1820 Richard invested in the construction of new six bay two bow ended additions to the old country house as well as adding elaborate landscaped gardens complete with outbuildings, stables and gate lodges. In 1845 new bow-ended wings were also added.

William White, the 4th and last Earl of Bantry, died in 1891. Ownership of the estate then passed to his nephew, Edward Leigh, who assumed the additional name of White in 1897. His daughter, Clodagh, inherited Bantry House and estates on the death of her father in 1920, and in 1927, she married Geoffrey Shellswell, who assumed the additional name of White. Clodagh Shellswell-White died in 1978 and the ownership of the house and estate passed on to her son, Egerton Shellswell-White. Today the house and gardens still belong to the White Family and are open to the public to explore and engage with.


Gem 31, An Expedition into the Past – Stories from Bantry Bay:

  Information panels on Bantry’s town square champion Ireland’s nationalist past and define the layout of the square and which history a visitor engages with first. The panels describe the collective memory of the campaign of Theobald Wolfe Tone in the interests of the United Irishmen and their quest for independence of this country. He journeyed to Paris at the beginning of the year 1796 to court the French to help with rebellion against the British in Ireland. There he met General Hoche, the brilliant French commander. On 16 December a fleet of 44 vessels and 15,000 men under General Hoche and Admiral Morard-de-Galles set sail from Brest.

  The expedition was ill-fated from the start; for it was but a day at sea when the frigate Fraternite carrying Hoche and Morard-de-Galles, got separated from its companions and never reached the Irish shore. A dense fog arose, and Bouvet, the Admiral-in-Command, found he had only eighteen sailing ships in his company. Two days later, however, he had 33, and he steered direct for Cape Clear Island. Land was sighted on the 21 December, and though a rough easterly breeze was blowing, 16 vessels succeeded in reaching Bantry Bay. Twenty ships remained outside battling hopelessly against the gale and were eventually driven off the coast. A landing was impossible and Wolfe Tone, aboard the gunship Indompitable spent his cold Christmas on the Bay. On the night of 25 December an order came from Bouvet to quit the assault and put to sea. It was decided to land in the Shannon Estuary, but rough weather was increasing. The squadron put to sea and returned to France. It was the 27 December and the end of the Bantry Bay Expedition. Of the 48 ships that left Brest on 16 December 1796, only 36 returned to France. The rest were either captured by the English Navy or wrecked.

   The ship La Surveillante was considered unseaworthy for the return journey and was scuttled by its crew in Bantry Bay. Its crew and all 600 cavalry and troops on board were transferred safely to other French ships in the fleet. According to the National Wreck Inventory, the three masted La Surveillante was built in Lorient in 1778 and carried 32 guns. The vessel had successful naval engagements with British warships during the period of the American War of Independence (1775–82). The wreck of La Surveillante was discovered in 1981 during seabed clearance operations following the Betelgeuse oil tanker disaster. One of La Surveillante’s anchors was trawled up by fishermen and put on display in Bantry. In 1987 two 12-pound cannons were raised from the wreck, and in 1997 the ship’s bell was lifted, which is now currently on display in Bantry Armada Centre, at Bantry House.


Happy Christmas to all readers of the column.

Missed one of the 51 columns this year, check out the indices at Kieran’s heritage website,

Kieran’s three 2019 books – 50 Gems of West Cork, The Little Book of Cork Harbour and Championing Cork: Cork Chamber of Commerce, 1819-2019 are now available in Cork bookshops.



1028a. Bantry House, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1028b. Bantry Bay, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1028b. Bantry Bay, present day

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 12 December 2019

1027a. Three Castle Head, present day


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 12 December 2019

Gems From West Cork


My new book, 50 Gems of West Cork (Amberley Publishing, 2019) book explores 50 well-known gems of that beautiful region. Below is an abstract from two of my favourite castle sites – Three Castle Head and Ballinacarriga Castle.

 Gem 28, Upon the Ramparts of Ruins – Three Castle Head:

  Located on a western headland above the Mizen Head is what is known as Three Castle Head. Spectacular in its location, Dun Locha or Dunlough or Fort of the Lake sits atop the brink of a 100-metre cliff face on the site of an ancient promontory fort. In its day it was an important strategic location with 360 degree views of the landscape. Historical information signs on the approach to the castle point to an annal record that it was constructed by Donagh O’Mahony in 1207. He is reputed be a scholar and traveller on pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Archaeologists have also noted that the extant ruins are more fifteenth century in date and possibly were added to an earlier structure.

  According to the Archaeological Inventory of West Cork, the castle’s location is all about creating maximum defence. The three towers of this edifice are connected by a rampart wall of some 20 feet in height, one of the highest medieval walls still intact in Ireland. Walls extend from the edge of the cliff eastwards to the lake. Dry stone masonry was used in its construction. The geology of the area is metamorphic, which supplied relatively flat and regular stone. Quarried from nearby, the stones were not cut but utilised as they were.

   Tower number one by the lake was three stories high, with a main arched entrance. Tower number two was of a similar height, also with a spiral staircase, and has an interior archway at ground level that led either to a separate room below or was the entrance to a souterrain leading to the sea, utilising the natural crevices in the rock. The third tower or the tallest tower, 10-15 metres in height, also had three stories. Within its space, the ground floor had several loophole windows. Above the second level are two arches, which support a stone ceiling. It had uppermost ramparts for observation and defence.

   There are 40 acres behind the castle known as the Island to explore as well. On foot it is rough terrain but the visitor is met with spectacular views of the Mizen Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula.

Gem 45, A Personalised Past – Ballinacarriga Castle:

   The four-storey Ballinacarriga Castle adjacent Ballinacarriga Village and near Ballineen is very accessible. Built on a rocky outcrop sometime in the sixteenth century, the castle is associated with the Hurley family. In 1585 Randal Hurley married Catherine Cullinane and their marriage is commemorated on the inside of one of the fourth-storey windows. The arched door and the cut corner stones have long since disappeared being appropriated for the construction of a nearby mill which has since been demolished. The castle contained a great hall resting on an arched floor, which was lit by two ornamental windows, the casing of which still exists. The south window has carved figures which seem to represent figures at Crucifixion. One is clad in ecclesiastical garb, the palms of the hands extended, and one supports the shaft of a cross.

  There are also Instruments of the Passion, and figures which may represent St John, Blessed Virgin and St Paul as well as decorative panels. On the first floor, there are carvings of a figure and five rosettes said to represent Catherine O’Cullane and her children. On the third floor are carvings, which include the inscription “1585 R.M.C.C.” (Randal Muirhily [Hurley] and his wife Catherine O Cullane).

  On the external face of the eastern wall of the castle is inserted a carved stone, bearing a representation of a grotesque stone carved figure known as a Sheela-na gig. Sheela na gigs are figurative carvings of naked women exhibiting an embellished vulva. They are architectural grotesques found all over Europe on castles, cathedrals, and other buildings. The highest concentrations can be found in Ireland, Great Britain, France and Spain, sometimes together with male figures. Ireland has the greatest number of surviving Sheela-na-gig carvings. There are circa 165 recorded extant examples in Ireland. The carvings could have been utilised to protect against demons, death and evil. They are often positioned over doors or windows, presumably to protect these openings.

  The Ballabuidhe Horse Fair dates back to 1615, when a Charter for it was granted by King James 1 to Randal Óg Hurley of the castle. The fair is steeped in history, tradition and antiquity. It is still one of Ireland’s greatest annual horse fairs, to be held on the streets, and where buyers come from all over Ireland and Cross-Channel too.

50 Gems of West Cork (Amberly Publishing, 2019) by Kieran McCarthy is available in any good Cork bookshop. Kieran is also showcasing a series on some of the gems on his facebook page, Cork, Our City, Our Town.

An earlier book this year The Little Book of Cork Harbour (History Press, 2019) is also available in bookshops as well as Championing Cork: Cork Chamber of Commerce, 1819-2019 (Cork Chamber of Commerce, 2019).


1027a. Three Castle Head, Mizen Peninsula, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1027b. Ballinacarriga Castle, near Ballineen, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)


1027b. Ballinacarriga Castle, present day

Cllr McCarthy’s new book 50 Gems of West Cork Launched

   Cllr Kieran McCarthy has launched his third book of this year – 50 gems of West Cork (Amberley Publishing, 2019). The new book explores 50 well-known gems of the West Cork region and is a culmination of 18 months work. It brings 50 stories together in an accessible manner. It is not meant to provide be a full history of a site but perhaps does try to provide new lenses on how heritage is looked at and the power of construction and collective memory in West Cork.

   The new book details 50 key sites detailing how they became the focus of attention and development – and how their stories, memories and the making of new narratives were articulated in an attempt to preserve an identity and/ or communities locally and nationally at sites or to create new identities and communities.

   Cllr McCarthy highlights that several sites in the book came into being in the fledging years of the Irish Free State where tourism and story-telling about the nation’s history were highlighted or some sites were  created  from  the burgeoning boom time  of 1960s Ireland, where the focus  was on developing industry and recreational amenities. For example, the promotion of areas such as Inchidoney   Island   for   more   tourism   was   driven   by   the Irish   Free   State’s   Irish   Tourist Association (ITA), which was established in 1925 to market the young Irish Free State as a tourist destination internationally.  Small  resorts along the   West   Cork   coastline   were developed simultaneously at sites such as Courtmacsherry, Glandore, Bantry Bay, Glengarriff and Berehaven.

   The book takes the reader from Bandon to Dursey Island, from Gougane Barra to the Healy Pass. Cllr McCarthy notes; “Researching West Cork, the visitor discovers that each parish has its own local historian, historical society, village council, sometimes a library, tidy towns group, community group and business community who have inspired the collection of stories, the creation of heritage trails and information panels, and the championing of a strong sense of place and identity”.

“Relics from the past also haunt the landscape with prominent landmarks ranging from Bronze Age standing stones to ivy clad ruined houses and castles, churches and old big houses, to beacons, cable cars and lighthouses. All add to the narrative of the spectacle that is West Cork”, noted Cllr McCarthy.

50 Gems of West Cork by Kieran McCarthy is available is any good Cork bookshop.

Front Cover of 50 Gems of West Cork by Kieran McCarthy

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 9 December 2019

Question to the CE:

To ask the CE about progress on Marina Park? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)



That the City Council paint a yellow box as Boreenmanna Road meets the City inbound and outbound South Link lanes (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That the City Council repaint the road line junction markings as Blackrock Road meets Victoria Road junctions (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That the City Council begin to host visible tree planting events that the public can engage with (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

To ask Community, Culture and Place-Making Directorate for a progress and implementation report on the City of Sanctuary Action Plan (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).