Category Archives: Landscapes

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

1014a. Project page on the local history of St Patrick’s Bridge from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2018.



Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 12 September 2019

Launch of Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2019-20


   The advent of the new school year coincides with the seventeenth year of the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project. Brochures have been sent to all Cork City schools including the schools within the newly extended city areas. Launched again for the 2019/20 school term, the Project is open to schools in Cork City at primary level to the pupils of fourth, fifth and sixth class and at post-primary from first to sixth years. There are two sub categories within the post primary section, Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate. The project is free to enter. A student may enter as an individual or as part of a group or a part of a class entry. The County edition unfortunately has been discontinued temporarily.

   Co-ordinated by myself, one of the key aims of the Project is to encourage students to explore, investigate and debate their local heritage (built, archaeological, cultural and natural) in a constructive, active and fun way. Projects on any aspect of Cork’s rich heritage can be submitted to an adjudication panel. Prizes are awarded for best projects and certificates are given to each participant. A cross-section of projects submitted from the last school season can be gleamed from this link on my website, where there are other resources, former titles and winners and entry information as well.

    Students produce a project on their local area using primary and secondary sources. Each participating student within their class receives a visit and free workshop in October 2019. The workshop comprises a guide to how to put a project together. Project material must be gathered in an A4/ A3 size Project book. The project may be as large as the student wishes but minimum 20 pages (text + pictures + sketches). Projects must also meet five elements. Projects must be colourful, creative, have personal opinion, imagination and gain publicity before submission. These elements form the basis of a student friendly narrative analysis approach where the student explores their project topic in an interactive and task-oriented way. In particular, students are encouraged to attain material through visiting local libraries, engaging with fieldwork, interviews with local people, making models, photographing, cartoon creating, making DVDs of their area. Re-enacting can also be a feature of several projects.

   For over seventeen years, the project has evolved in exploring how students pursue local history and how to make it relevant in society. The project attempts to provide the student with a hands-on and interactive activity that is all about learning not only about heritage in your local area (in all its forms) but also about the process of learning by participating students. The project is about thinking about, understanding, appreciating and making relevant in today’s society the role of our heritage, our landmarks, our oral histories, our environment in our modern world for upcoming citizens. So, the project is about splicing together activity on issues of local history and heritage such as thinking, exploring, observing, discovering, researching, uncovering, revealing, interpreting and resolving. This year as well there is a focus on the theme, The Past and its Legacy, which ties into the centenary commemoration of the Irish War of Independence in Cork.

    The importance of doing a project in local history is reflected in the educational aims of the history curricula of primary and post-primary schools. Local heritage is a tool, which helps the student to become familiar with their local environment and to learn the value of it in their lives. Learning to appreciate the elements of a locality, can also give students a sense of place in their locality or a sense of identity. Hence the Project can also become a youth forum for students to do research and offer their opinions on important decisions being made on their heritage in their locality and how they affect the lives of people locally.  I know a number of students who have been involved in the project in schools over the years who have took their interest further and have gone on to become professional tour guides, and into other related college work.

   The project is open to many directions of delivery. Students are encouraged to engage with their topic in order to make sense of it, understand and work with it. Students continue to experiment with the overall design and plan of their work. For example, and in general, students who have entered before might engage with the attaining of primary information through oral histories. The methodologies that the students create provide interesting ways to approach the study of local heritage. Students are asked to choose one of two extra methods (apart from a booklet) to represent their work. The first option is making a model whilst the second option is making a short film. It is great to see students using modern up todate technology to present their findings. This works in broadening their view of approaching their project.

    This project in the City is free to enter and is kindly funded by Cork City Council (viz the help of Niamh Twomey, Heritage Officer) Prizes are also provided by the Old Cork Waterworks Experience, Lee Road, Learnit Lego Education, and Sean Kelly of Lucky Meadows Equestrian Centre, Watergrasshill ( Overall, the Schools’ Heritage Project for the last sixteen years has attempted to build a new concerned generation of Cork people, pushing them forward, growing their self-development empowering them to connect to their world and their local heritage. Spread the word please with local schools. Details can be found on my website,


1014a. Project page on the local history of St Patrick’s Bridge from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2019.

1014b. Model on the Shaky Bridge from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2019.

1014b. Model on the Shaky Bridge from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2018.

Shakey Bridge Regeneration, 11 September 2019

“Historian and Cllr Kieran McCarthy, who called repeatedly in recent years for the bridge to be restored, said the work really needed to be done. Cork has over 31 bridges, but this is the one held in most affection”.

Kieran’s September 2019 Historical Walking Tours


Saturday 21 September 2019, Stories from Blackrock and Mahon, historical walking tour with Kieran, meet at entrance to Blackrock Castle, 11am, (free, 2 hours, finishes near railway line walk, Blackrock Road).


Sunday 22 September 2019, The Battle of Douglas, An Irish Civil War Story, historical walking tour with Kieran, from carpark and entrance to Old Railway Line, Harty’s Quay, Rochestown; 2pm, (free, 2 hours, finishes near Rochestown Road).

Kieran’s Speech, Part 8, Docklands & Albert Road, Cork City Council, 9 September 2019

 Lord Mayor,

The large number of public submissions is most welcome and to accommodate a good tract of public comment is also welcome.

I will be voting for this proposal.

I’m happier with this Docklands part 8 report than I was on the Morrison’s Island plan Part 8. There is more consultation than ever before on such a project.

For me the heritage of this area is important – the built and cultural heritage.

Albert Road and the Hibernian Buildings complex – dating to the mid-1880s – was a product of the Cork Improved Dwelling Company – an employer organisation who had the vision to build 420 houses for their workers in the city – apart from Hibernian buildings, the other blocks being around Friar Street-Evergreen Buildings and Rathmore Terrace at the top of St Patrick’s Hill. The company, which set up in January 1860 and ran to about 1960 had its heart the importance of provision of affordable housing for workers in the city but also neighbourhoods with architectural character, where families could be brought up safely and a sense of place could be built – which this Part 8 is also about today.

Hibernian Buildings was lucky in its opening in the 1880s that Jewish refugees from Lithuania rented out some of the properties and within twenty years there were 300 Jews living in the area.

Today knocking on the doors of the area, the Jewish family legacy is gone and perhaps 20 old stock families have survived in the area, many of whose relatives worked in the docks. Much of the housing stock in Hibernian Buildings is rented – so I constantly fear for the fleetingness of its neighbourhood. Some who live in the area have shared with me their passion for the neighbourhood and worry about its future and the looming new buildings overlooking the area.

I am happy with this part 8 that through the public realm regeneration that the character of the neighbourhood will be regenerated and enhanced.

I am also happy that the quay project itself does not destroy heritage but takes an ugly concrete structure – rebuilt after its 1975 collapse – to create where the public can come and appreciate the story of Docklands through seating, trees and soft public realm measures for cyclists and buses, and  a pontoon in the river.

My main worry with this area is the creation of a bland-placeless environment, where glass box design with no architectural detail rules and street development takes a back seat.

I am reminded of the 1780 Cork Corporation plan for the area where they wanted to great an Oliver Plunkett Street complex with side streets in docklands.

And when I talk about vision, I am quite worried that our South Docklands plan is taking time to come out. The Council needs this plan as soon as possible as the piecemeal development of South Docks continues apace. Developing a place with character and a sense of place is crucial for me.

Kieran’s Question and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 9 September 2019

Kieran’s Question to CE:

To ask the CE for an update on the progress of Marina Park?  (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)



That the City Council place traffic calming measures through Ballintemple in particular exiting from Lower Beaumont Drive onto Blackrock Road as it has become a dangerous junction for local residents (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That the one per cent art scheme connected with the Douglas Flood Defence Scheme be initiated and the funding put aside to attain proposals from interested artists for a work within Douglas Community Park (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That the Lee to Sea Greenway as proposed by the Cork Cycling Campaign and Cork City Council be progressed to its early planning stages (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That the City Council’s 1920-2020 Commemorative programme be put together as a matter of urgency (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Blackrock Village Festival, Saturday 7 September 2019

Blackrock is a fun family friendly festival with music and entertainment for all!

Come on down to the beautiful waterside plaza in Blackrock square.

Hank Wedel, Jim X Comet ,Dowtcha Puppets, Aaron the Balloon Man, Face painting by Niamh’s face and Body Art, Ursulines Choir with the Marina Melodics, Niamh Hatchell Irish Dancers, Children’s fancy dress competition, Local sports and leisure clubs and selected delicious food stalls from the Blackrock Village Sunday Market!

Supported by local Blackrock Business Community.


Blackrock Vilage Festival, 7 September 2019

Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020 launched for new school term

     The Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project is entering its seventeenth year and is open to all schools in Cork City. The new areas of the City are especially welcome. The project encourages students to compile a project on any aspect of Cork history. It is about exploring and investigating local heritage in a constructive, active and fun way. Interested students can pick any topic on Cork’s local history to research and can participate as individuals, groups or as a class. Students produce a project using primary material such as fieldwork, interviews, making models and short films of their area.

 Project books may be submitted on any aspect of Cork’s rich past. The theme for this year’s project is “The Past and its Legacy”.

 FREE and important project support in the form of funded workshops led by Cllr Kieran McCarthy in participating schools will be held in October 2019. This is an hour 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.

 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.

 Co-ordinator and founder of the Schools’ Heritage Project, Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted that “The project is about thinking through, understanding, appreciating and making relevant in today’s society the role of our local heritage – our local history, our oral histories, our landmarks in our modern world for upcoming citizens. The annual workshops involve visiting circa 20 schools in Cork City with hours of workshops given overall to over 800 students. The workshops comprise showing students projects from previous years and providing a framework to work to and to encourage colour and creativity”.

 The City Edition of the Project is funded by Cork City Council. It is also sponsored by the Old Waterworks Experience, Lee Road, Learnit Lego Education, Sean Kelly of Lucky Meadows Equestrian Centre, Watergrasshill and Cllr Kieran McCarthy. Application forms to express interest and participation have been sent to all principals and history teachers in Cork. Unfortunately, due to back surgery for Kieran last year, the County Cork edition of the project has been discontinued. Contact Kieran at for details or click on the brochure here:

2020 Brochure Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 August 2019



1012a. Former site of Metropole laundry Alfred Street on right hand side of photograph, present day



Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 29 August 2019

Tales from 1919: The Burning of the Metropole Laundry


    A few minutes before 2am on Saturday night, 30 August 1919 some people passing along King Street (now MacCurtain Street) and the police on duty in the vicinity of St Patrick’s Church, observed flames emerging from the roof of the Metropole Laundry on Alfred Street. Within ten minutes the whole roof of the building was enveloped and the interior of the Laundry becoming a seething mass of flames. The block of buildings besides the Laundry and its offices comprised some well-known Cork businesses – the sweet and confectionery works of Hadji Bey and Company (their shop was within the Metropole Hotel frontage), Messrs Avery and Company, a shop belonging to Mr D R Baker, while adjoining the building at the western end or King Street end was the stone and monument construction works of Mr J A O’Connell.

    The Metropole Sanitary Steam Laundry company – one of the city’s largest laundries – was launched by the Southern Metropole Hotels, Cork on 24 February 1898. The extensive premises with frontage on Alfred Street had been a skating rink. It also had frontage onto lower King Street. It was opened in March 1898 as a public steam laundry. The Directors of the company visited several of the leading London, and Provincial Steam Laundries, selected the very modern American, patent washing and ironing machines. A separate portion of the premises was to be fitted up for carpet beating and general cleaning works. In 1919, the Metropole Laundry was one of five city laundry operations – the other four being Cork Hand Laundry on Drinan Street, Munster Steam Laundry on South Terrace, Convent of Good Shepherd Convent and St Mary’s Magdalen Asylum on St Mary’s Road. The Metropole Laundry operated till 1953 when its operations were moved to Millfield in Blackpool. The site was subsequently taken over by Chris O’Mahony Volkswagen Dealers.

   How the outbreak of fire in 1919 occurred is not known, but it spread with rapidity. The Cork Examiner records that the laundry was gutted within thirty or forty minutes from the time the outbreak was noticed. The Cork Fire Brigade was called on telephone and were on the scene within a few minutes. Police from the police station on King Street and soldiers from the nearby Soldiers’ Homes also arrived. Many nearby residents were awoken by the general commotion and watched the fire from their doors and windows, and their adjacent footpath.

    When the Fire Brigade under Mr T Higgins arrived, they proceeded to lay out a line of hoses from the street to each side of the burning building. Unfortunately, any attempt to extinguish the fire in the Laundry was useless as the material fabric of the building burned like matchwood. During the progress of the fire in the Metropole Laundry portion of the block, the boilers burst.

   The Fire Brigade men then directed their attention to endeavouring to restrict the area of the conflagration. The fire had entered the end of Mr O’Connell Works nearest the Laundry building and at this point the Brigade men concentrated their efforts to stop its further progress in that direction. Men in charge of the hose at the other side also endeavoured to cut off the fire at Messrs Avery’s. Several people, including a sailor and some soldiers, saved some stock from Messrs Avery’s but the fire made such extraordinary headway that very little could be done beyond look at the blaze while the firemen were directing the lines of hose at each side with a view to saving the adjacent building and property. At one time it looked as if the YMCA (Red Triangle) Hut would be involved.

   Notable amongst those engaged in the saving work was a party of sailors, one of whom, J Lindsay of HMS Heather, Queenstown, got a very bad cut in left wrist from some of the falling glass. He was attended to promptly by Sergeant Gloster and some civilians, but so serious was the cut and so great the loss of blood that he became weak, and he was taken to the North Infirmary by Fireman P Higgins on the Fire Brigade car. On arrival at the Infirmary he was at once seen and attended to by Dr W Galvin, who dressed the wounded hand.

   The heat from the laundry conflagration was so intense that the paint from some of the hall doors on the opposite side of the street was burned off. After much hard work the fire brigade succeeded in containing the fire to a portion of Messrs O’Connell’s, and the St Patrick’s Art Works on the western side of the Laundry, which had been destroyed before the Brigade came on the scene.

   On the Alfred Street side of the building, where the stabling of Messrs Musgrave was situated, the work of saving the large number of valuable horses stabled within began. Over twenty animals were brought to safety. In addition the saving of hotel buses and other cars were undertaken by the constabulary and a large number of willing workers.


1012a. Former site of Metropole laundry Alfred Street on right hand side of photograph, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1012b. Advertisement for Metropole Laundry from 1910s Cork Street Directory (source: Cork City Library).

1012c. Sections of Goad’s insurance map of Alfred Street, 1915 showing Metropole Laundry facility (source: Cork City Library).


1012b. Advertisement for Metropole Laundry from 1910s Cork Street Directory



1012c. Sections of Goad’s insurance map of Alfred Street, 1915 showing Metropole Laundry