Category Archives: Cork City Events

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


1067a. Project page on the local history of the Vikings in Cork from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 24 September 2019

Launch of Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020-21

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 2020/21 (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 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 “Living Through History”, which is a nod to the historic pandemic we are living through.

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 2020. 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 eighteen 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 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 (www.seankellyhorse.com). Overall, the Schools’ Heritage Project for the last eighteen 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, www.corkheritage.ie.

Captions:

1067a. Project page on the local history of the Vikings in Cork from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

1067b. Gameboard on Cork historical landmarks created by Eglantine National School student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).


1067b. Gameboard on Cork historical landmarks created by Eglantine National School student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020/21

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.

http://corkheritage.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2021-City-Brochure.pdf

Cllr McCarthy: Securing Historic Atlantic Pond is a Must, 11 September 2020

Flooding, Atlantic Pond, Cork, early September 2020

“The flooding around the Atlantic Pond is a huge source of concern for users of the amenity. The Atlantic Pond is as busy as The Lough in terms of frequent visitors and also is a site of high biodiversity value. So pressure is high on us local public reps to secure a solution for the flooding. I spoke with the City Council Engineer on site in the last few mornings. The drainage team present, as well as the contracted marine scuba diving engineer team, have only just found the much corroded and collapsed large iron flap/ gate, which leaves water in and out under the Marina Walk.

The large broken iron flap/gate section with its enormous pipe is 1970s in date and it is this pipe the scuba diver went down into safely last Friday morning. The pipe connects into the much larger 1840s engineering section which can be seen through tree and old stone arches in the eastern section of the Atlantic Pond. As it is a specialised engineering job, the City Council have estimated that the cost of repair is anywhere between e30,000 and e50,000. They have applied to central government for such emergency funding and await the government’s response. In the meantime, the engineering resolution is estimated at another fortnight at least. I will keep my pressure on a resolution.

The inadvertent flooding though has brought a huge focus by City Engineers on the historic construction and engineering of the Atlantic Pond. With my historian hat on, the Atlantic Pond was one of the city’s greatest engineering projects of early nineteenth century Cork and has stood the test of time for nearly 180 years. Its story is one of innovation and forward thinking. In 1843, City engineer Edward Russell was commissioned to present plans for the reclamation of the south sloblands, some 230 acres extending from Victoria Road to the river front with the proposed aim of creating an enormous public park and some building ground.

The task proposed was epic as the slobland undulated and when the tide was in, various areas of the slobland were more solid than others. Edward Russell’s eventual published plan in December 1843 proposed the extension and widening of the dock like Navigation Wall creating the Marina Walk, to manage the flow of tidal water entering the land by installing sluice gates, sluice tunnels and embankments.

Edward’s proposal for further reclamation of the South Sloblands did happen as well as the construction of a holding pond – a reservoir of six acres in size with sheeting piles driven in underneath it and possesses ornamental features to the general public.  The latter became known as the Atlantic Pond and still possesses its Victorian sluice gates and tunnels to facilitate the drainage and exclusion of water. The Great Famine and post economic fall-out took away the opportunity for the public park but in 1869 after twenty years of further drainage and land reclamation, business man John Arnott leased the south sloblands from Cork Corporation and it was converted into the Cork City Park Race Course. In 1917 the heart of its space was converted into the Ford Tractor Manufacturing Plant but the central road of the racecourse was retained – Centre Park Road.

 It’s clear what Cork Engineers built in the 1840s has lasted for near 180 years without any issue. There is enormous value in such an amenity. It is important now that finance is found to secure the use of the Atlantic Pond amenity for future decades”.


https://www.echolive.ie/corknews/Fixing-of-Atlantic-Pond-tide-gate-may-cost-50k-dc4d51cd-36ac-4b54-b74e-1bf273d01d1a-ds

Works, Marina, September 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Monkey Puzzle Tree Distribution, 3 September 2020

Collapsed Monkey Puzzle Tree, Mahon, August 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

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.

https://www.stmichaelscu.ie/MonkeyPuzzleTreeDistributionh

Cllr Kieran McCarthy: “Sad Day as Old Cork Icon Sextant Bar Set to be Demolished”

 “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”.

Sextant Bar, Summer 2020 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

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