Category Archives: Cork History

Cllr McCarthy: Councillors to seek answers on collapsed Cork city wall, 13 January 2021

13 January 2021, “Cllr Kieran McCarthy who has a keen interest in history and archaeology gave a brief history of the buildings in that area of the city. ‘It is the site of an old fort called Cat Fort from the 1690s. Cat Fort was an additional barracks to Elizabeth Fort which was created around 1698. It is said that it began its life as some sort of ditch on a waterless moat on that side of Elizabeth Fort”, Councillors to seek answers on collapsed Cork city wall, Councillors to seek answers on collapsed Cork city wall (echolive.ie)

Cllr McCarthy: Historic City Centre Apartment Space Offers great prospects of Urban Renewal

8 January 2021, “Independent Cork city councillor Kieran McCarthy also welcomed the plans. ‘There is so much empty property within the city centre especially over the shops that would make great accommodation space plus also offer great prospects of urban renewal’, Cork City Council gives green light to apartment plans for Patrick Street,
Cork City Council gives green light to apartment plans for Patrick Street (echolive.ie)

Cllr McCarthy commissions two new street art murals on Douglas Road, January 2021

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy continues his commissions of street art on Douglas Road. In recent weeks, two new pieces have emerged on traffic switch boxes. The first mural, which is located at Cross Douglas Road, is that of Terence and Muriel MacSwiney who lived at 5 Eldred Terrace in 1917.

Cllr McCarthy highlighted: “There was a commemorative plaque erected on the wall of their former house in June 1980 but unfortunately the plaque was taken down a few months later. There have been calls within the Ballinlough area and Douglas Road by locals to once again mark the story from over hundred years ago of the MacSwineys living within the local community. This mural’s central image is from an old photograph of the couple whist the rose motif is a nod to the always beautiful adjacent flower shop.

Terence and Muriel MacSwiney  by Kevin O'Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy
Terence and Muriel MacSwiney by Kevin O’Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy

The second mural is opposite the entrance to St Finbarr’s Hospital. Cllr McCarthy noted: “The mural has the theme of “hold firm” and is dedicated to healthcare staff within the hospital who have held firm against COVID-19. The mural adds to the existing street art mural, which was painted Kevin O’Brien outside CUH last year”.

“It has been great to commission artist Kevin O’Brien again. This is my sixth commission with him. He really brings ordinary municipal utility boxes to life with his creativity, imparting uplifting and positives messages. Roads such as Douglas Road are well walked everyday, so it is great to bring his work into heart of suburban communities, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Artist Kevin O’Brien noted: “Street art is a fantastic way to improve the aesthetic of urban areas and build a sense of character in communities, but beyond that, with cultural spaces currently closed, the availability of street art in public spaces takes on an even greater importance”.

Hold Firm by Kevin O'Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy
Hold Firm by Kevin O’Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 7 January 2021

1081a. Parnell Bridge, c.1900 from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen
1081a. Parnell Bridge, c.1900 from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 7 January 2021

Journeys to a Truce, 1921: Excommunication and Ambushes

Mid to late December 1920 coincided with the continued cleaning up of the burnt out ruins of St Patrick’s Street. In addition, there was fall-out from the decree issued by Bishop of Cork Daniel Cohalan on 12 December 1920, that the penalty of excommunication would be imposed on IRA men in the Cork Diocese if they continued to carry arms against the Crown forces.

Bishop Cohalan had intervened during Easter Week 1916 and was responsible then for influencing the decision of the standing down of Cork City Irish Volunteers. His actions then were believed to be motivated by concern for the peace and safety of the citizens and in December 1920 his actions were also driven by peace and safety. But the end of 1920, the Volunteers were on a full war footing and there was anger across different levels of Cork society about the Burning of Cork.

Michael O’Donoghue, Engineer, 2nd Battalion in Cork Brigade No.1, in his witness statement in the Bureau of Military History (WS 1741) details that the reaction in Cork was immediate and emphatic to the Bishop’s decree. He notes that a large portion of the Catholic population were disappointed at it and shocked and angered as he describes it as “its anti-national bias”. More than half of the congregation walked out in protest from the North Cathedral during his Sunday sermon and decree issuing.

However instead of the decree stopping violence, it increased. Not a single member of the IRA in Cork ceased their Volunteer activities or eased off in their active military opposition to the Crown forces. On the contrary, city Volunteers pursued their offensive more than ever.

Michael O’Donoghue noted that on the Sunday afternoon of 12 December 1920 he with other Volunteers, were mobilised for republican police duty in St Patrick’s Street at the scene of the fire. They were mainly engaged in salvaging goads, damaged and undamaged, removed from the partly demolished smaller houses. These goods were stored in houses and yards on the north side of Patrick Street. Looters, too, had to be kept in check. He personally thought that these police activities by them were unwise and unnecessary as he felt it exposed them to recognition and identification as Republican forces. He notes: “The idea was to make a spectacular gesture for propaganda purposes to show the Volunteer forces of the Irish Republican Government protecting property and maintaining order in vivid contrast to the disorder and vandalism of the British forces who had run amok”.

Michael Murphy, Commandant, 2nd Battalion, IRA Brigade No.1 in his witness statement (WS1547) takes up the story of IRA activity in the closing days of 1920. On 28 December 1920, by orders of the brigade, men of the 1st and 2nd Battalions entered the newspaper premises of the Cork Examiner and broke up the printing machines with sledge -hammers. Michael highlights that the offices were attacked as they were deemed by the IRAto have too much of pro-British publication output. About fifty men in all took part in this operation. The majority were on armed duty in the vicinity of the printing works, St Patrick Street while the demolition was being carried out.

On 5 January 1921, martial law edicts were intensified across Munster as General Strickland had issued another proclamation. For all breaches of martial law edict in the south, ‘Death’ was the penalty – “for being in possession of arms or ammunition or any lethal firearm, for levying war against the British Crown, for harbouring, aiding or consorting with rebels (i.e. The Irish Republican Army) for wearing military uniform, British or otherwise & or being in possession thereof, the penalty was death by shooting before a firing squad”. The edict continued – “The accused, if he was not shot out of hand on the spot, which, incidentally, was a frequent occurrence, was tried immediately by drumhead court martial, found guilty and banded over to the execution squad”.

On the same day as the Munster martial law edict was enacted, an attack by the IRA on RIC officers was conducted on Parnell Bridge near Union Quay Barracks.

Each evening, shortly after 6 o’clock, it was the custom for a party of 25 to 30 police and Black and Tans to leave the barracks at Union Quay. They would cross the River Lee at Parnell Bridge and there disperse to points in the city. Commandant Michael Murphy arranged to attack this party, using only the company officers in his battalion, the idea being to give all of them experience under fire.

On the evening of 5 January 1921, Michael Murphy, Peter Donovan of C Company, and Christy Healy went by a motor car driven by Michael Coonan to Morrison’s Island. In the car they had a Lewis gun, one of the two Michael Murphy had got in London a few weeks previously. They parked outside Moore’s Hotel, which was almost directly opposite Union Quay Barracks – the River Lee being between them and the barracks at a distance of about 50 to 60 yards. The remainder of their men were posted at Parnell Bridge, Anglesea Street and at points in the neighbourhood, covering approaches to the enemy barracks. The IRA men were armed with revolvers and grenades.

At approximately 6.15pm the police and Tans came out of Union Quay Barracks and, by the time they were ready to move off, they fixed the Lewis gun in position on the roadway outside Moore’s Hotel.

As the enemy party proceeded towards Parnell Bridge, they opened fire with the Lewis machine gun. The first burst killed seven of them and wounded others. Of those not hit some ran back to the barracks and those at the head of the party ran towards Parnell Bridge where they were met with revolver fire and grenades by IRA men stationed there. The affair lasted no more than ten minutes. None of the IRA men were wounded on the occasion.

When the RIC members had all had disappeared, either shot or gone to cover, the IRA members got their Lewis gun back into the car and made for the house of Sean Hyde, a Volunteer officer, in Ballincollig, where the gun was left for a few days before its next outing.

Caption:

1081a. Parnell Bridge, c.1900 from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen

Happy new year to everyone. Stay safe.

Missed one of the 51 columns last year, check out the indices at Kieran’s heritage website, www.corkheritage.ie

Kieran’s 2021 Ward Funds, Now Open

The call for Kieran’s 2021 Ward Fund is now OPEN.

  Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon, Douglas, Donnybrook, Maryborough, Rochestown, Mount Oval and Moneygourney with an interest in sharing in his 2020 ward funding to apply for his funds. A total of E.11,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s ward funds.

Application should be made via letter (Richmond Villa, Douglas Road) or email to Kieran at kieran_mccarthy@corkcity.ie by Friday 5 February 2021. This email should give the name of the organisation, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact telephone number, details of the organisation, and what will the ward grant will be used for?

 

Please Note:

– Ward funds will be prioritised to community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City who build community capacity, educate, build civic awareness and projects, which connect the young and old.

– Cllr McCarthy especially welcomes proposals where the funding will be used to run a community event (as per COVID guidelines) that benefits the wider community. In addition, he is seeking to fund projects that give people new skill sets. That could include anything from part funding of coaching training for sports projects to groups interested in bringing enterprise programmes to encourage entrepreneurship to the ward.

   – Cllr McCarthy is also particularly interested in funding community projects such as community environment projects such as tree planting, community concerts, and projects those that promote the rich history and environment within the south east ward.

– Cllr McCarthy publishes a list of his ward fund allocations each year on this page.

The Blessing of a Candle, Christmas 2020

by 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.

McCarthy Christmas Candle

McCarthy Christmas Candle

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 24 December 2020

1080a. Daly's Bridge AKA Shakey Bridge, post refurbishment, December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1080a. Daly’s Bridge AKA Shakey Bridge, post refurbishment, December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 24 December 2020

Celebrating the History of Daly’s Bridge

Over the past two to three years, three bridges in Cork have received much media focus – St Patrick’s Bridge and its cleaning and restructuring, the new Mary Elmes Bridge and its modern design, and thirdly Daly’s Bridge, AKA the Shaky Bridge and its mass cleaning and re-strengthening  programme. Such work was spearheaded by Cork City Council.

Perhaps of the three bridges that I have listed the last one, Daly’s Bridge or the Shakey Bridge, opened in 1927, is one which holds the fascination of the public the most. The recent removal of the main body of the bridge to de-clean it off site caused a large tinge of public sadness. Its re-opening this week heralded hope and almost the sense of a valued family member having returned. The bridge’s essence has transcended time from a physical bridging point to one of playfulness, one of fun and one whose shakiness is a key part of Cork’s cultural heritage.

The story of Daly’s Bridge is rich. With the development of Fitzgerald’s Park and the adjacent Rugby Grounds circa 1905, the ferry crossing that had formed a route from Sunday’s Well to Shanakiel came under increasing pressure.

On 28 August 1908 a deputation of residents of Sunday’s Well appeared before the members of Cork Corporation in the then City Hall. Coroner Blake acted as spokesman and noted that he had got a recent letter during that week from Mr Thomas Dooley, proprietor of the ferry  at Ferry Walk, stating that he was willing to sell his interest in it (due to his impending retirement) to the Corporation of Cork for £100, if they sought to purchase it.

Coroner Blake outlined that the Corporation had been, as far he knew, owners and proprietors of most of the ferries  in the city of Cork, and if they attained Dooley’s ferry rights in question it would be, he believed, “an advantage to the citizens at large”. If the Council thought the proposal a good idea, he suggested that instead of a ferry, a suspension bridge could be erected.

Sir Edward Fitzgerald, councillor, said he believed that the bridge proposal was a necessity and asked that the matter be referred to the Corporation’s Public Works Committee.

On 1 September 1908, the proposed Ferry Walk Bridge was discussed at the Public Works Committee.Sir Edward Fitzgerald said the first thing to be done was to instruct the City Engineer to supply the Committee, at his earliest convenience with the cost of a suspension bridge. 

In April 1910, the City Engineer gave particulars regards the site and the approaches to the bridge and a general discussion took place on the question of the situation and character of the new bridge. Shortly afterwards, the proposed cost of a new bridge became a stumbling block for the Corporation to be able to move forward developing the project.

Sixteen years later, the substantial financial contribution by local man James Daly eventually broke the deadlock on funding the suspension bridge project. Born at Moycollop, County Waterford in 1856, James Daly (1856-1942)began his busines life in his native district as a butter and egg merchant. His business acumen was not long in making itself felt, and at an early age he was able to open up as a butter merchant being founder and managing director, of the firm of James Daly and Sons, Ltd., Shandon Street, Dominick Street, and Mulgrave Road. His association with the butter industry extended over 50 years from the 1880s to the early 1930s – over half a century.

            Under his own personal supervision James merited for his firm a world-wide reputation and employed many people. In addition to the butter industry, the firm were also proprietors of the Shandon Castle Margarine Factory, which was established until 1905, and erected on the site of the ancient Shandon Castle.

James was one of the trustees of the Cork Butter Exchange. As an agriculturalist, James was well known throughout Cork and Waterford, being the owner of large farms in each of these counties, while he also possessed extensive fishing preserves on the River Blackwater, and game preserves in the same vicinity. James was also a Justice of the Peace, a member of the Cork Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the National Liberal Club of London.

The decision was made by City Engineer, Stephen Farrington that the new bridge should be a steel suspension bridge, a type popular in the early decades of the twentieth century, though few were built in Ireland. The decision was made to purchase a bridge from the English bridge manufacturers David Rowell & Company.

In his 3 February 1927 report, Stephen Farrington said he was notified by Messrs Rowell & Co that the steel erectors were coming over that week to start work on the suspension bridge at Ferry Walk. In late February 1927,the new suspension footbridge was rapidly nearing completion.

The formal opening of Daly’s Bridge took place on Saturday 9 May 1927. Very Rev Canon O’Sullivan presided at the function. Mr M O’Driscoll, PC on behalf of Mr James Daly opened the bridge.

Mr O’Driscoll said that he felt that a very great honour had been conferred on him in asking him to formally open the bridge, which “would do so much to enhance the attractions of the district, and at the same time confer such as substantial benefit on the citizens in general, and on the residents of Sunday’s Well in particular”.

For more information on the story of Daly’s Bridge aka The Shakey Bridge, check out Kieran’s History Trails on www.corkheritage.ie

Happy Christmas to everyone.

Caption:

1080a. Daly’s Bridge AKA Shakey Bridge, post refurbishment, December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020

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.

This year the last night of Hanukkah is Thursday 17 December and offers the only opportunity to see the tall ‘ninth lamp’ alight until next year. The cycle begins 10 minutes before sunset, which occured this year at 4.13pm, and continued for 30 minutes after sunset when the ninth lamp was extinguished.

Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Cllr McCarthy: Opening of Douglas Library will support social and cultural inclusion

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the reopening of Douglas Library in Douglas Village Shopping Centre. The library will be a transformed space both in design and enhanced services. The refurbished library includes a complete transformation of the children’s space, including a new children’s fiction area, a larger children’s story time area and a new personalised kiosk for the children and families to use.

The Listening Lounge is new to the adult area and will be a space for the public to listen to audio books and music on cd and vinyl. It will be a relaxing and calm space. My Open Library will be part of Douglas Library early in the new year and will significantly increase the opening hours for the public.

Plans are also being finalised to support those with dementia in the community, including a new Tovertafel magic table and memory café which will be a great addition to our Age Friendly Libraries initiatives.

A Per Cent for Art Commission has been awarded to two Cork based textile artists as part of the reopening of the refurbished Library. Taking its inspiration from the historic textile industry of the Douglas area the proposal includes a strong community engagement element with nursing homes and local schools. The end piece will be a textile wall hanging, a focus for discussion of the local history of the area for many years to come.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The staff of Cork City Libraries put in extra hours adding new items to ensure the stock of Douglas Library will be second to none, providing the most up to date titles available to the people of Douglas and the surrounding areas. The library will continue to host many activities, book clubs, writing groups and craft activities for all ages within the community. The City Council’s intention is that the library will continue to proactively support learning, diversity and social and cultural inclusion”.

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the reopening of Douglas Library in Douglas Village Shopping Centre. The library will be a transformed space both in design and enhanced services. The refurbished library includes a complete transformation of the children’s space, including a new children’s fiction area, a larger children’s story time area and a new personalised kiosk for the children and families to use.

The Listening Lounge is new to the adult area and will be a space for the public to listen to audio books and music on cd and vinyl. It will be a relaxing and calm space. My Open Library will be part of Douglas Library early in the new year and will significantly increase the opening hours for the public.

Plans are also being finalised to support those with dementia in the community, including a new Tovertafel magic table and memory café which will be a great addition to our Age Friendly Libraries initiatives.

A Per Cent for Art Commission has been awarded to two Cork based textile artists as part of the reopening of the refurbished Library. Taking its inspiration from the historic textile industry of the Douglas area the proposal includes a strong community engagement element with nursing homes and local schools. The end piece will be a textile wall hanging, a focus for discussion of the local history of the area for many years to come.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The staff of Cork City Libraries put in extra hours adding new items to ensure the stock of Douglas Library will be second to none, providing the most up to date titles available to the people of Douglas and the surrounding areas. The library will continue to host many activities, book clubs, writing groups and craft activities for all ages within the community. The City Council’s intention is that the library will continue to proactively support learning, diversity and social and cultural inclusion”.

Cllr McCarthy: Daly’s Bridge Press, 17 December 2020

17 December 2020, “We got a sneak-peak into the new-and-improved bridge earlier this week, and chatted to Cllr Kieran McCarthy about the work that went into the historic and culturally significant structure”, WATCH: First glimpse at the new-and-improved Shakey Bridge, WATCH: First glimpse at the new-and-improved Shakey Bridge – Cork Beo

17 December 2020, “Historian and independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy, who campaigned for years for the investment in the project, said he thinks people will be pleased. “I think people will be very happy that it still shakes. I would invite people to come down to test it out. Don’t come in large numbers but do come down to see the refurb job”,   Cork’s ‘Shakey Bridge’ to reopen on Saturday with its shake intact,
Cork’s ‘Shakey Bridge’ to reopen on Saturday with its shake intact (irishexaminer.com)

17 December 2020, Cllr McCarthy, who described the bridge as being “infused in the city’s DNA”, explained that it got its nickname “due to the fact that a large number of people used the bridge to go to GAA matches in the Mardyke. Consequently, the bridge would shake with the masses of people walking across it”, Cork’s ‘Shakey Bridge’ reopens after €1.7m refurbishment, Cork’s ‘Shakey Bridge’ reopens after €1.7m refurbishment

17 December 2020, “Local historian and Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy was amongst the first people to test out the newly restored bridge”, Iconic Cork bridge is formally reopened but has it retained its signature shake?, Iconic Cork bridge is formally reopened but has it retained its signature shake? (echolive.ie)

Daly's Bridge, Post Refurbishment, 16 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Daly’s Bridge, Post Refurbishment, 16 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)