Category Archives: S.E. Ward Local History

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 13 December 2021

Question to the CE: 

To ask the CE for an update on the opening of Marina Park and the final cost of its completion and the sources of funding? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Motion:

That City Library’s Cork Past and Present website be put back together online as soon as possible. It plays a very supportive role in the study of local history and genealogy in the city and region (Cllr Kieran McCarthy). 

McCarthy: Marina Park set to open, 13 December 2021

Kieran’s Comments:

“The park looks great and will add immensely to The Marina district. It’s been a long two years with construction work stopping and starting due to Covid 19. Phase one works has also comprised the construction of a new public car park at the Shandon Boat Club end of the Marina, as well as a new cycle lane and pedestrian walkway – these are all now completed and are very well used”.

“One can also see that the installation of perhaps the most eye-catching part of the project – a noticeable red steel pavilion on the site of, and replicating, the central hall of the former Munster Agricultural Showgrounds. The showgrounds at its cultural height in the twentieth century attracted tens of thousands of people, who enjoyed what the Spring and Summer shows had to offer.

The new park is a modern offering on the site, which will attract citizens from across the city and region. The sides of the pavilion reflecting the society’s former buildings will not be enclosed, and there will be possibilities for coffee pods and outdoor seating and arts and crafts. The project is a e.10m investment into the area, of which nearly e.5m came from EU Urban Sustainable Funds, which are part of the EU’s structural funds and are a crucial source of funding for cities”. The EU source of income will need to be chased once again so that phase 2 of Marina Park can be delivered”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

11 December 2021, ” “The new park is a modern offering on the site, which will attract citizens from across the city and region. The park or project represents an estimated €10m investment into the area, of which around €5m came from EU Urban Sustainable Funds — part of the EU’s structural funds and “a crucial source of funding for cities”, Cllr McCarthy said, New park in Cork city to open to the public from Monday, New park in Cork city to open to the public from Monday (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 2 December 2021

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 2 December 2021

Kieran’s Cork Books for Christmas

It’s only a few weeks to Christmas. There are two publications of mine, which readers of the column might be interested in. In my new book Cork City Reflections (Amberley Publishing, 2021), Dan Breen and I build on our previous Cork City Through Time (2012) publication as we continue to explore Cork Public Museum’s extensive collection of postcards.

 People have been sending, receiving and collecting postcards for well over 150 years. They have always come in a variety of forms including plain, comedic, memorial, and of course topographical. Their popularity reached its zenith in the two decades before the outbreak of First World War when people used postcards for a variety of everyday reasons from ordering shopping to making appointments. Postcards have been described as the ‘social media’ of the Edwardian period as it is estimated that about one billion penny postcards were sold annually in the United States alone between 1907 and 1915.

The old postcards within Cork City Reflections show the city of Cork to be a place of scenic contrasts. They are of times and places, that Corkonians are familiar with. Many of the postcards show or frame the River Lee and the tidal estuary and the intersection of the city and the water. The postcards show how rich the city is in its traces of its history. The various postcards also reflect upon how the city has developed in a piecemeal sense, with each century bringing another addition to the city’s landscape.

Some public spaces are well represented, emphasised and are created and arranged in a sequence to convey particular meanings. Buildings such as a City Hall, a court house or a theatre symbolise the theatrics of power. Indeed, one hundred years ago in Ireland was a time of change, the continuous rise of an Irish cultural revival, debates over Home Rule and the idea of Irish identity were continuously negotiated by all classes of society. Just like the tinting of the postcards, what the viewer sees is a world which is being contested, refined and reworked. Behind the images presented is a story of change – complex and multi-faceted.

We have grouped the postcards under thematic headings like main streets, public buildings, transport, and industry. The highlight of Edwardian Cork was the hosting of an International Exhibition in 1902 and 1903 and through the souvenir postcards we can get a glimpse of this momentous event.

The Little book of Cork Harbour has been published by The History Press (2019). Cork Harbour is a beautiful region of southern Ireland. It possesses a rich complexity of natural and cultural heritage. This is a little book about the myriad of stories within the second largest natural harbour in the world. It follows on from a series of my publications on the River Lee Valley, Cork City and complements the Little Book of Cork (History Press, 2015). It is not meant to be a full history of the harbour region but does attempt to bring some of the multitudes of historical threads under one publication. However, each thread is connected to other narratives and each thread is recorded to perhaps bring about future research on a site, person or the heritage of the wider harbour.

In the book the section, Archaeology, Antiquities and Ancient Towers explores the myriad of archaeological finds and structures, which survive from the Stone Age to post medieval times. Five thousand years ago, people made their home on the edge of cliffs and beaches surrounding the harbour. In medieval times, they strategically built castles on the ridges overlooking the harbour.

The section, Forts and Fortifications, explores the development of an impressive set of late eighteenth-century forts and nineteenth century coastal defences. All were constructed to protect the interests of merchants and the British Navy in this large and sheltered harbour.

The section, Journeys Through Coastal Villages, takes the reader on an excursion across the harbour through some of the region’s colourful towns. All occupy important positions and embody histories such as native industries, old dockyards, boat construction, market spaces, whiskey making and food granary hubs. Each add their own unique identity in making the DNA of the harbour region. 

The sections, Houses, Gentry and Estates and People, Place and Curiosities, respectively are at the heart of the book and highlight some of the myriad of people and personalities who have added to the cultural landscape of the harbour.

The section, Connecting a Harbour, describes the ways the harbour was connected up through the ages, whether that be through roads, bridges, steamships, ferries, or winch driven barges.

The eighth section, Tales of Shipping, attempts to showcase just a cross-section of centuries of shipping, which frequented the harbour; some were mundane acts of mooring and loading up goods and emigrants but some were eventful with stories ranging from convict ships and mutiny to shipwrecks and races against time and the tide.

The section entitled Industrial Harbour details from old brickworks, ship buildings to the Whitegate Oil Refinery. Every corner of the harbour has been affected by nineteenth century and twentieth century industries.

The last section Recreation and Tourism notes that despite the industrialisation, there are many corners of the harbour where GAA and rowing can be viewed as well as older cultural nuggets such as old ballrooms and fair grounds. This for me is the appropriate section to end upon. Cork Harbour is a playground of ideas about how we approach our cultural heritage, how were remember and forget it, but most of all how much heritage there is to recover and celebrate.

Both Cork City Reflections (2021) & The Little Book of Cork Harbour (2019), and Kieran’s other books are available in Waterstones, Vibes and Scribes and Nano Nagle Place.

Captions:

1128a. Front cover of Cork City Reflections (2021, Amberley Publishing) by Kieran McCarthy and Daniel Breen.

1128b. Front cover of The Little Book of Cork Harbour (The History Press, 2019) by Kieran McCarthy.

1128b. Front cover of The Little Book of Cork Harbour (The History Press, 2019) by Kieran McCarthy.
1128b. Front cover of The Little Book of Cork Harbour (The History Press, 2019) by Kieran McCarthy.

Kieran’s Statement & Press, Odlum’s Building, South Docks, Cork, 27 November 2021

“The proposal is to be warmly welcomed. This area of South Docks has been derelict for many years and crying out for a new use. O’Callaghan Properties have proven they can deliver what they say in a timely manner and have been great to draw in large companies into Cork. And to be fair to them, they also take feedback on board. From my perspective I am appreciative so far of their notes in their press releases on their focus on blending in the old Odlum’s Building and finding a cultural use for it. I think such a building will be a very special part of this corner of South Docks – it can be the space to retain the historical memory of the docks, whilst also showcasing modern cultural life in Cork.

I am disappointed though for the grain silos – I think part of them should be retained to add character to the development. I know in my own submission I will be making, I will be focusing in on that and making general comments on the need for place-making. In the past I have been critical of the creation of non-descript glass boxes, which don’t add to any sense of place. But I am grateful that the developers in North and South Docks have done some great restoration work. There is certainly a better balance being struck in retaining the sense of place compared to previous decades. I will be reading carefully the O’Callaghan property proposal carefully once it becomes available to the general public”.

Press:

27 November 2021, “In his website about Cork city entitled Cork Heritage, Independent cork city councillor and historian Kieran McCarthy states that Odlums operated their flour mills venture at the docklands from 1965. It followed a long history of milling in Cork,  Looking back at the historic Odlums Mills in Cork, Looking back at the historic Odlums Mills in Cork (echolive.ie)

25 November 2021, “The proposal is to be generally welcomed. This area of South Docks has been derelict for many years and crying out for a new use”, said Cllr McCarthy, No glass box on our docks!No glass box on our docks! | Cork Independent

24 November 2021, Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said the area proposed for development had been derelict for some time and that the proposals are to be warmly welcomed. He said he believed the redevelopment of the Odlum’s Building could be “a very special part of this corner of South Docks”. South Docks development a ‘further exciting phase’ in Cork’s developmentSouth Docks development a ‘further exciting phase’ in Cork’s development (echolive.ie)

Cllr McCarthy to give talk on Sir John Benson and Nineteenth Century Cork

Independent Councillor and local historian Kieran McCarthy gives a zoom talk on this Thursday 25 November, 6.30pm. The topic is on the life and times of nineteenth century engineer Sir John Benson on his Cork works ranging from bridges to waterworks to special sites such as the Berwick Fountain. The talk is hosted by Engineer’s Ireland, Cork Branch, and the Friends of the Crawford. Booking details are here: www.engineersireland.ie/listings/event/7906

The talk reflects on the enormous legacy of engineer and architect Sir John Benson. His work as County Surveyor, Cork Harbour engineer and then City Engineer in Cork from 1846 to 1873 was notable. He was concerned with not only developing a public road network, developing river dredging works programme but also engineering a water supply for the entire city, and ultimately improving the quality of life in the city and region.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “Much has been written on many of John’s well-known works over the years such as the beautiful Berwick Fountain, the red bricked English Market exterior, the striking St Patrick’s Bridge and his work on designing the North Cathedral’s western tower”.

“John was passionate about his work and about Cork. His array of works he was involved in show he was a hard-worker and a visionary for his time. He was also a pioneer in designing National Exhibition buildings in Cork and in Dublin in order to showcase the products of the country. He is also remembered for his extensive railway line work being the engineer for the old Cork-Macroom rail line and the architect for the first Cork-Dublin railway terminus, which existed before the current Kent Station, and part of which still survives and is currently being preserved”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Online Event: Engineering 19th Century Cork: Exploring the Work and Times of Sir John Benson, 25 November 2021

Kieran McCarthy gives a zoom talk on Nineteenth Century Engineer Sir John Benson on his Cork works ranging from bridges to waterworks to special sites such as the Berwick Fountain.
Thursday 25 November, 6.30pm, with Engineer’s Ireland, Cork Branch, and the Friends of the Crawford. Booking details here: www.engineersireland.ie/listings/event/7906

Kieran notes: “The talk reflects on the enormous legacy of engineer and architect Sir John Benson. His work as County Surveyor, Cork Harbour engineer and then City Engineer in Cork from 1846 to 1873 was concerned with not only developing a public road network, developing river dredging works programme but also engineering a water supply for the entire city, and ultimately improving the quality of life in the city and region.

Much has been written on many of John’s well-known works over the years such as the beautiful Berwick Fountain, the red bricked English Market exterior, the striking St Patrick’s Bridge and his work on designing the North Cathedral’s western tower.

John was passionate about his work and about Cork. His array of works he was involved in show he was a hard-worker and a visionary for his time. He was also a pioneer in designing National Exhibition buildings in Cork and in Dublin in order to showcase the products of the country. He is also remembered for his extensive railway line work being the engineer for the old Cork-Macroom rail line and the architect for the first Cork-Dublin railway terminus, which existed before the current Kent Station, and part of which still survives and is currently being preserved”.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 30 September 2021

1119a. Front cover of 2021-2022 brochure for Discover Cork Schools' Heritage Project.
1119a. Front cover of 2021-2022 brochure for Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 30 September 2021

Launch of Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project, Year 20

It is great to reach year 20 of the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project. It is just slightly younger than this column but both this column, the school project and the walking tours are all about popularising more of Cork’s history and story for interested citizens and the next generation.

Over 15,000-16,000 students have participated in the Schools’ Heritage Project through the years with many topics researched and written about – from buildings and monuments to people’s stories and memories.

Covid-19 has brought many challenges to every part of society and never before has our locality and its heritage being so important for recreation and for our peace of mind. In the past eighteenth months, more focus than ever before has been put on places and spaces we know, appreciate, and attain personal comfort from.

The Schools’ Heritage Project is aimed at both primary and post primary level.  Project books may be submitted on any aspect of Cork’s rich past. The theme for this year’s project is “Cork Heritage Treasures”. Funded by Cork City Council, the Project is an initiative of the Cork City Heritage Plan.

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.

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 links on my website, www.corkheritage.ie 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 free workshop in October 2021. 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 (whilst respecting social distancing) to attain material through visiting local libraries, engaging with fieldwork, making models, photographing, cartoon creating, and making short snippet films of their area. Re-enacting can also be a feature of several projects.

For over twenty 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.

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.

Overall, the Schools’ Heritage Project for the past twenty 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 dedicated Cork heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie.

Caption:

1119a. Front cover of 2021-2022 brochure for Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project.

Third Call-Out, Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project

The Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project launches in its 20th year and is open to schools in Cork City. Funded by Cork City Council, 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 2021/22 school season – is “Cork Heritage Treasures”.

FREE and important project support in the form of funded workshops (socially distanced, virtual or hybrid) led by Cllr Kieran McCarthy in participating schools will be held in October 2021. This is a 45min physical or virtual workshop to give participating students ideas for compilation and resources.

Download the application form here: