Douglas Road Councillor Kieran McCarthy has been blogging about the centenary of the War of Independence in Cork in 1920. His website at www.corkheritage.ie contains links to his newspaper articles and pictures. Kieran’s work attempts to provide context to this pivotal moment in Cork’s history. The centenary of Terence MacSwiney’s death after his 74-day is fast approaching on 25 October and Terence also once lived at Eldred Terrace on Douglas Road with his wife Muriel. Kieran notes: “Terence is truly a colossus in Cork history who has attracted many historians, enthusiasts and champions to tell his story. His story is peppered with several aspects – amongst those that shine out are his love of his family, city, country, language comradeship, and hope – all mixed with pure tragedy. In many ways, the end of his 74 day hunger strike changed the future public and collective memory narrative of Cork history forever”.
Continuing Kieran details: “The blog pieces also explore Cork in 1920 and how the cityscape was rapidly becoming a war zone. Risky manoeuvres by the IRA created even riskier manoeuvres as ultimately the IRA took the war to the RIC and Black and Tans. Reading through local newspapers each day for 1920 shows the boiling frustration between all sides of the growing conflict. Tit-for-tat violence became common place”.
Earlier this Kieran released a new book Witness to Murder, The Inquest of Tomás MacCurtain with John O’Mahony. The last time Tomás’s inquest in full was published was in the Cork Examiner between 23 March 1920 and 18 April 1920. Despite the ordeal and daily fallout from the interviews, over time the fourteen hearing sessions have not overly been revisited by scholars of the Irish War of Independence. The verdict has been highlighted on many occasions by many historians, but the information of the inquest has never been overly written about or the narratives within it explored.
Covid-19 has brought many challenges to every part of society and never before has our locality being important for recreation and for our peace of mind. In the past few months more focus than ever has been put on places we know, appreciate and even on places we don’t know but now depend on as we remain grounded in our neighbourhoods and corners of Cork City.
Against the backdrop of Covid 19, the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2021 (Cork City Edition) launches in its 19th 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 City Edition of the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage 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.
Over the past few days great progress has been made in relation to the monkey puzzle tree and how best to use it. Following a very productive meeting between O’Callaghan Properties, St. Michael’s Credit Union, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy and Dr Eoin Lettice of UCC, a plan has been developed to distribute the felled iconic monkey puzzle tree back to the community where it was here for approximately 161 years.
It is a beautiful wood and we’ve worked together to make sure it’s used in a variety of forms to commemorate this iconic tree. Crafts people and artists in the area and from Cork City have been contacted about using the wood to create artistic pieces.
A number of local businesses have also expressed an interest in wanting to use the wood to create a featured piece to be displayed within the communities of Blackrock and Mahon. St. Michael’s Credit Union has engaged with a number of local sports clubs and organisations to see if they would like to acquire a piece of this historic tree. A section of the tree will also be provided to University College Cork for educational purposes.
Collectively the decision has been made to also offer blocks sized approximately 30 cm x 23 cm from the tree to members of the public for them to use and remember this iconic tree. This is an initiative that gives the tree back to those from within the Blackrock and Mahon areas who had enjoyed the tree for generations.
Due to limited availability and COVID 19 restrictions we ask people who are interested in securing a piece of this iconic tree to complete the follow short online registration of interest form on this website.
“It’s always a sad day to see an old building in Cork being taken down to make way for progress, especially one which is iconic in its location and character like the old Sextant bar. Its character has really added to the landscape and to the sense of place and identity of Cork Docklands for nearly 140 years. It has seen boom and bust in Cork and if the building could talk it would so many tales to tell. Built initially in 1877 it was first a hotel, which was run by the Sexton family, which provided lodgings for passengers using the Cork-Bandon and South Coast Railway. It soon after changed to being a public house run by the Markham family. The building has only had a few owners since one hundred years ago, testament to those who kept the business running on the site for so many decades.
In November last year, I expressed in my submission to An Bord Pleanála, that as the Sextant Bar was not unfortunately a protected structure in legal planning terms – by giving permission to demolish it would set a precedent for the demolition of other historic, but which are not legally protected structures in the area. I welcome the fact on the wider Sextant corner that the old Cork-Blackrock and Passage Railway Company is set to be conserved and done up. But I continue my view that holistic conversations need to be had on what Cork South and North Docklands should physically look like in the years to come. Yes the city needs to evolve but I would not like the story of Cork’s docks, which made this city over several centuries lost to the bulldozer to make way for glass box architecture and storyless public realm. For me I want to see buildings with character, streets and public realm with cultural reference points and some references to the history of Cork docks”.