Category Archives: Cork City Events

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 14 May 2020

1048a. Placename plaque for Oliver Plunkett Street, present day but possibly dating to 1920

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 14 May 2020
Remembering 1920: The Naming of Oliver Plunkett Street

 

    At the meeting of Council of Cork Corporation on 14 May 1920, Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney presided. On the agenda was a discussion on the beatification of Oliver Plunkett headed up by Sinn Féin councillors. A number of decisions arose out of it. One of the principal ones was the proposal by Cllr Micheal O’Cuill that the name or George’s Street be changed to that of Sráid Olibhéir Phluingcéid (Oliver Plunkett street), and this was seconded by Cllr Seán O’Leary and passed unanimously. This change in name just came within a month of the change from (Robert) King Street to MacCurtain Street.

     Renaming streets was a very symbolic act and another mechanism to breaking bonds with the British Empire. George’s Street, was laid out from 1715 onwards and was named to celebrate the House of Hanover. Its side streets are named after different colonial historical figures. Such names promoted British imperial remembering structures within the city.

     Oliver Plunkett (1625-1681) was linked to martyrdom and suppression and was an idea candidate to commemorate within a street name. Oliver was born at Loughcrew, near Old Castle, Co. Meath in 1625. Up to the age of sixteen he was educated by Dr Patrick Plunkett, Abbot of St Mary’s Dublin. Subsequently he studied for the priesthood at the Irish College, Rome. He was ordained in 1654 and acted as agent in Rome for the Irish Bishops. In 1669 he was appointed to the Archbishopric of Armagh. In 1670 be returned to Ireland and established a Jesuit College in Drogheda in 1670. In 1679 he was arrested on a charge of high treason, which was supported by the evidence of witnesses who came forward to prove a Popish or Roman Catholic plot to kill England’s King Charles II. The King did not believe in the conspiracy and refused to get involved in the case of Oliver, and the law was allowed to take its course.

    Brought to Westminster before an all Protestant jury, during the first trial, Oliver disputed the right of the court to try him in England. He was found to have pursued no crime but was not released. During the second trial, he drew focus on the criminal background of some of the witnesses, but to no avail. Found guilty Oliver was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn on 1 July 1681, aged 55. He was the last Catholic martyr to die in England. His story of a miscarriage of justice was not forgotten about in and was harnessed in many subsequent debates from condemning the Penal Laws to calling for Catholic Emancipation in the early nineteenth century.

   Fast forward to 1920 nationally the story of the miscarriage of justice of Oliver Plunkett was connected to the war for Independence and in a Cork context to the murder of Tomás MacCurtain and his ongoing memorialisation. At the Cork Corporation Council meeting of 14 May 1920 this latter connection is seen through Sinn Féin’s Cllr Professor Alfred O’Rahilly, who proposed: “We, the Corporation of Cork, in Council assembled, hereby record the joy and satisfaction of the people of Ireland at the approaching Beatification of the Venerable Oliver Plunkett, the martyred Archbishop of Armagh, who 239 years ago, as the victim of a bogus plot, was seized and deported by the English Forces then in Ireland, and was legally murdered as a criminal and a traitor. We direct that this resolution be forwarded to the Cardinal Secretary of State, to his Eminence Cardinal Logue, to his Grace Dr Harty, Archbishop of Cashel, and to his Lordship Dr Cohalan, Bishop of Cork”.

   Lord Mayor MacSwiney proposed that a deputation of four be appointed to go to Rome on the occasion of the Beatification. The City Solicitor pointed out that the Corporation could not pay the expense of the deputation. The Lord Mayor expressed his understanding of the financial position. However, the resolution appointing the councillor deputation was passed, and the following were appointed – Lord Mayor, Professor Stockley, Messrs Donal O’Callaghan, and Simon Daly.

   The Lord Mayor further noted he understood that to proceed to Rome they needed passports. He tried to get passports direct from the Italian Government but could not. He also understood that he would have to the nearest police barrack – and in this case that would be King Street. This was not a journey he wished to make especially after the focus placed on it during the inquest of Tomás MacCurtain.

    Cllr O’Callaghan. speaking in Irish, suggested that the four members of the deputation proceed as far as they could go without passports. Alderman Edmund Coughlan seconded, and the suggestion was adopted. The passports though were not received by the proposed delegation nor did they travel some of the way to Rome.

   To mark the Beatification of Oliver Plunkett in Rome on 14 May 1920, Bishop Cohalan celebrated high mass at the North Cathedral where Lord Mayor MacSwiney and councillors were present. In all the churches of the city after Mass at noon the Blessed Sacrament was exposed on the High Altar.

    Twenty-four hours previously, the Lord Mayor sent out a public call to citizens to illuminate their houses and display flags and bunting to commemorate the historic and holy event. On 14 May 1920 rows of houses in whole streets were all lit up. Statues and pictorial representations of the Sacred Heart were erected inside the windows and surrounded by vari-coloured lights, the Papal colours – gold and white – predominated. The Papal Flag was displayed from very many homes. The Sinn Féin flag flew over public buildings, such as the City Hall, the Markets, and was also hoisted over the Courthouse in Washington Street. The latter flag was put up in the morning by some young men with the aid of the fire escape outside the Court House. A demonstration was made in the evening by the members of the Irish Trades and General Workers Union whose hall at Camden Quay was beautifully decorated. Accompanied by the Connolly Memorial Fife and Drum Band, the Union members of well over one thousand left the hall and proceeded to Blackpool Bridge. Here a halt was made to pay tribute to the memory of the late Lord Mayor, Alderman Tomás MacCurtain. The band played outside his residence for some time. All of this happened as Black and Tans loomed more and more in making their presence felt.

Kieran’s new book Witness to Murder, The Inquest of Tomás MacCurtain is now available to purchase online (co-authored with John O’Mahony 2020, Irish Examiner/ www.examiner.ie).

Captions:

1048a. Placename plaque for Oliver Plunkett Street, present day but possibly dating to 1920 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1048b. Oliver Plunkett Street, May 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1048b. Oliver Plunkett Street, May 2020

Cllr McCarthy: Crucial Role for Local Enterprise Office in Times Ahead

    Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the ‘one stop shop’ approach of the Cork City’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO), which is based in Cork City Hall and is linked to the work of Cork City Council. Cllr McCarthy noted: “The Local Enterprise Office network is evolving and stands prepared to help businesses especially SMEs to address the critical challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. There are an array of financial and mentoring instruments to help SMEs during this very challenging time. Ninety-nine percent of businesses in Cork’s suburbs are SMEs and are crucial to their local communities they serve”.

   The COVID-19 Business Loan The COVID-19 Business Loan from Microfinance Ireland (MFI), in partnership with the LEO, is a Government-funded initiative to support small businesses through the current period of uncertainty.  It is designed for micro-enterprises that are having difficulty accessing bank finance and are impacted, or may be impacted negatively, by COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of 15% or more in turnover or profit.

   The LEO Business Continuity Voucher is designed for businesses across every sector that employ up to 50 people. The voucher is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The goal is to help business owners make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.

   The expanded Trading Online Voucher Scheme helps small businesses with up to 10 employees to trade more online, boost their sales and reach new markets.  The Scheme is administered by the LEOS’s on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. There is up to €2,500 available through the Local enterprise Offices, with co-funding of 10% from the business. Training and further business supports are also provided.

   Cllr McCarthy also recommends the free mentoring services for SMEs. “Clients work with an experienced mentor at the Local Enterprise Office to identify solutions to areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, clients develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities around COVID-19 challenges. The website www.localenterprise.ie/corkcity contains many links to the above financial supports and to mentoring and training. In terms of mentoring I also wish to point out the work online of the Cork Chamber of Commerce who are offering some really helpful webinars as well for businesses responding to the crisis”.

Cork City Heritage Plan Call Out for Ideas, April 2020

The closing date for submissions for the new Heritage Plan of Cork City Council has been extended to Thursday 30th April.
 
Express your perspective on aspects of Cork City’s Heritage that you value and want to see understood, enhanced and celebrated.
 
What are the challenges to heritage and what solutions you think might work?
 
What ideas do you have for projects that you would like to see done in the city or that you or your group could carry out given the appropriate resources?
 
The information gathered will feed into Cork City Council’s Heritage Plan, which will guide the implementation of priority Heritage actions in Cork City over the next five years.
The closing date for comments is Thursday 30 April 2020
You can make a submission in the following way:
 
Use our online portal https://consult.corkcity.ie/
 
Email heritage@corkcity.ie
 
Or write to The Heritage Officer, Strategic and Economic Development Directorate, Cork City Council, City Hall, Cork.
The current Cork City Heritage Plan is available to download from https://www.corkcity.ie/en/council-services/services/arts-culture-heritage/heritage/heritage-plan.html
 
Douglas Street, Cork, April 2020

Cllr McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project 2020

     Douglas Road and Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the tenth year of McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project. This year because of the Coronvirus all interested participants must make a model boat at home from recycled materials and submit a picture or a video of it to the competition organisers at kidsmodelboat2020@gmail.com. The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival Team who have cancelled nearly all of their festival this year bar their collaboration with Kieran on the Make a Model Boat Project. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘At Home by the Lee’, which is open to interpretation. The model must be creative though and must be able to float. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. For further information, please see the events section at www.corkharbourfestival.com. The closing date for participants is 30 April 2020.

     Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “I am encouraging creation, innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits for all of us to develop. I am going to miss this year seeing the models float at The Lough. The Make a Model Boat Project is part of a suite of community projects I have organised and personally invested in over the years– the others include the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project with Cork City Council, the Community local history walks, local history publications, McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition and Cork City Musical Society. Many of the latter projects were have gone digital or soon will go digital for this year. I look forward to the digital challenge”.

Some pictures from last year:

McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019

McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019

McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat 2020 (At Home Edition)

It’s the tenth edition and is usually held at the Lough but this year is different!
The Theme is “At Home by the Lee”
#athomebythelee #creativityathome
Make a model boat at home from recycled materials with the theme At Home by The Lee.
There are three age categories 4-8yrs, 9-12yrs and 13-16yrs.
There are prizes for best models and the project is free to enter.
The closing date for participants is April 30th 2020.
You will need to send a picture or video of your creation to kidsmodelboat2020@gmail.com
In association with Cork Harbour Festival & Ocean to City
More event details here:
http://corkharbourfestival.com/events/
Some pictures of boats from last year attached:

McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019

Cllr Kieran McCarthy: Community Response Phone Number of Great Help, 11 April 2020

   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy wishes to remind people of the Community Response Forum phone number specifically to provide support to vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 restrictions.  The telephone number is 1800 222 226. Over its first week the forum received over 300 calls. The freephone helpline operates seven days a week from 8am until 8pm.

   Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted: “The majority of calls to the helpline have related to the collection and delivery of groceries, prescriptions, fuel and other essential household items, and the delivery of meals.  Cork City Council staff, the HSE, An Garda Siochána and community organisations such as Meals on Wheels are amongst the partner groups who are responding to these requests for support”.

   Requests for support due to an increasing sense of social isolation have also figured in phonecalls received – with a number of people experiencing loneliness as they stay at home.  Those who have contacted the phone number have also been put in contact with Friendly Call Cork who provide a listening ear and a friendly voice on the phone to anyone experiencing loneliness.  Friendly Call Cork is set up to tackle loneliness among older people, those with physical and mental disabilities and those who are socially isolated. It has expanded its services to deal with Covid-19 and the Cork City Partnership team have brought on more volunteers to meet the increased demand.

   Cork City Community Response Forum Co-Ordinator,  Denis Barrett said: “Cork City has been broken into 16 local area teams with a Cork City Council community worker and HSE community worker in each area who will work with ‘local champions’ – the existing voluntary organisations and groups who know their locality and can help match need with service delivery”.

   Cllr McCarthy continued; “Corkonians have also contacted the helpline wondering how they could register to volunteer their service in this crisis.  Would-be volunteers are asked to contact Volunteer Cork on 021 4251572, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on info@volunteercork.ie.  They maintain a database of volunteers and are coordinating the volunteer effort in the city. Many thanks to everyone involved”.

   Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Sheehan said: “We are delighted to see that the people of Cork are using this helpline and we would encourage people, who maybe have never asked for help before, to not be afraid to pick up the phone. These are unprecedented times for us all  – but don’t forget we are all in this together and we will likely come out the other side with a deeper appreciation  of the important things in life – and that includes living in a city which is rich in community supports and community spirit”.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 9 April 2020

1043a. Cover of Witness to Murder by Kieran McCarthy and John O'Mahony

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 9 April 2020
Remembering 1920: Witness to Murder

 

     The new book Witness to Murder by John O’Mahony and I is a transcript of the Tomás MacCurtain Inquest from March and April 1920. Tomas (1884-1920) 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 murder of Tomás MacCurtain on the night of 19-20 March 1920 changed the future public and collective memory narrative of Cork history forever.

     One hundred years on after his murder, the memory of Tomás and his life and times and works are a central part of the history of politics in the city and the city and region’s role within the Irish War of Independence. Remembrance is carried through a variety of ways – books by local historians and seasonal historical newspaper articles in for example the Irish Examiner, yearly exhibitions in Cork Public Museum and Cork City and County Archives, conferences at University College Cork,  portraits and sculptures at Cork City Hall, and annual speeches by incoming Lord Mayors. Annually the MacCurtain family work closely with Cork City Council and community groups to highlight his memory and without fail every 19-20 March there are memorial civic ceremonies and political and community group ceremonies. All of the latter examples keep the candle lit on his story, legacy and memory. Indeed, one can say his narrative is highly structured as he retains his position amongst Cork top historical figures.

   As the news got out into the public realm after the murder of Tomás MacCurtain it sent shockwaves throughout every household – he had been Lord Mayor for less than 50 days an just 36 years old. People began to discuss their relationship with Tomás within Cork City. Some revered his character and work. Others saw his work as another part of the way of life of a busy port city, which had many activities happening on any given. But for a time in Cork, his murder brought the city and region to a standstill. This was another intensification of all-out war held across the streets of Cork that in time would be named the Irish War of Independence.

   The out-pouring of public grief was heard in the speeches in the days following through his successor to the Lord Mayor’s chain Terence MacSwiney, by fellow Corporation members, by MPs in the chamber of Westminster and visibly seen in the enormous turnout on the streets of Cork during the funeral procession. In the weeks that followed the civilian inquest of his death revealed more questions than answers to who actually killed him. The verdict proposes that it was a government and RIC cover-up but unfortunately, no official statement has ever come forward. So, in truth history will never be able to officially record who killed him and who the masked person was who pulled the trigger. That’s why the revisiting of his inquest is important.

     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 championed.

   So, this book firstly is about bringing together the data inquest into one source. It is about giving a voice to the solicitors, jury and those interviewed (see more in the next few weeks).

   Secondly, within the interviews and the remarks of Counsel, jurors, and solicitors, the frustration is plain to read plus one can view the complex relationships of all sides of the debate. The interviews and the answers given also provide multiple narratives on what life was like to those who interacted in the power play with authorities in the city, the nature of policing but above all the raw emotion attached to the murder of Tomás. On the raw emotion element, the witness statement by his wife of Elizabeth and family, and even the account of the bullets in his chest makes for harrowing reading.

   Thirdly, the publishing of the data is a nod to the Cork Examiner journalists present at the time who wrote up each verbatim what witnesses said from each individual session, and turned around the information in just a few hours, so it could be published in the following day’s edition.

   Fourthly it is my hope that this transcript of newspaper text will help scholars of the War of Independence in their research to mine down further into the complexities of the time but also to keep the human dimension at the heart of new emerging research. This transcript in particular is inspired by the epic Atlas of the Irish Revolution and the ongoing digitisation of State files and interviews of veterans of the War of Independence held at the Bureau of Military History in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin– both sources, the Atlas and the Bureau try to bring a holistic perspective to what narratives, sources and memories have survived.

    The book has an epic amount of valuable historical information but one, which I hope will help assist to create a roadmap of sorts in commemorating the life and legacy of Tomás MacCurtain in the next hundred years and place the inquest at the heart of future scholarship on Cork’s role within the Irish War of Independence.

Witness to Murder by Kieran McCarthy and John O’Mahony (2020, Irish Examiner) at this moment in time is only available to buy online at www.examiner.ie. Stay safe to everyone.

 

Caption:

1043a. Cover of Witness to Murder by Kieran McCarthy and John O’Mahony (2020, Irish Examiner).

Cllr McCarthy: Neighbourhood Watch More Crucial Than Ever Before

Press Release:

 

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called on neighbours to be vigilant of older neighbours during this difficult time; “I have had a good number of Independent Older People with generally no family support contacting me looking for daily community supports – in terms of grocery or medicine collection. I have contacted the invisible army of community supports in this corner of the city. Many of those who have contacted me are cocooning and have never had to ask for help before, and thus potentially are not on the local community’s vulnerable radar list. Many do not have the internet.  Many thanks to the many community groups working with local Gardaí, and individual local volunteers who are all doing trojan community work. There are many local shops as well doing a myriad of deliveries, whilst adhering to social distancing”.

A Covid-19 Community Response Forum (CRF) has now been set up in Cork to ensure that vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access vital grocery, medicine and fuel deliveries and social care supports. The new Cork City Covid-19 CRF helpline is 1800-222-226. Support can also be accessed via covidsupport@corkcity.ie.

The dedicated community support helpline is running from 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week. The new phone line is just one aspect of the Forum’s work. Its core aim is contributing to the community-wide effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring a coordinated community response. The Council’s COVID-19 CRF will work to ensure that local resources – including social care support and social contact – are targeted at the people who need them most.

Taking part in the Cork City CRF are Cork City Council, the HSE,  GAA, Tusla, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross Paul Colton, Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross, Fintan Gavin, the Age Friendly Network, Alone, Cork ETB, Migrant Forum, Citizens Information, the Cork City Volunteer Centre, the Red Cross, Civil Defence, An Post and the IFA amongst others. There are many agencies currently doing super work in delivering care to older and vulnerable people in our communities and this forum is aimed at building on this, not duplicating it.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “As part of the Community Response Forum, there are 16 teams of people in different areas of the city. There are two in the south east area. People on the other end of the phone are very approachable and will co-ordinate with those on the other end of the phone – the most vulnerable in our community. Ringing on someone’s behalf Without telling them or not co-ordinating with them though will frighten an older person when all of a sudden someone turns up on their door. I remain available as well if people have questions on the proposed support system at 087 6553389”.