The conclusion of this school season’s Discover Cork
Schools’ Heritage Project was recently marked by an online awards ceremony and
presentation of winning projects. A total of 25 schools in Cork City took part
in the 2020-21 edition, which ranged from schools in Ballinlough, Ballintemple,
Blackrock to Blarney and Glanmire, and from Ballyphehane to the Shandon
area. Circa 1,000 students
participated in the process this year with approx 200 project books submitted
on all aspects of Cork’s local history & heritage.
The Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project is in its 18th year
and is a youth platform for students to do research and write it up in a
project book whilst offering their opinions on important decisions being made
on their heritage in their locality and how they affect the lives of people
locally. The aim of the project is to allow students to explore,
investigate and debate their local heritage in a constructive, active and fun
Co-ordinator and founder of the Project,
Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted that: “The Project this year was even more apt this
year as we all find ourselves within our localities much more. In particular,
this year’s entries focussed on famous buildings of Cork City, historic
walkways, public parks and many oral history projects. Again, this year
students made fab models and short films on their topics. One could also see
the family and friend involvement in projects. Technically with this project
for every one student, there are another four people who have been consulted
and who are consulted to help with projects. One could argue that over 4,000
people have some input into project books every year”.
“The Schools’ Heritage Project remains focussed about
developing new skill sets within young people in thinking about, understanding,
appreciating, and making relevant in today’s society the role of our
heritage – our landmarks, our stories, our landscapes in our
modern world. Ultimately the project focuses on motivating and inspiring young
people through them working on a heritage project for several weeks and seeks
to build a sense of place and identity amongst younger people”, concluded Cllr
The Project is funded by Cork City Council with further
sponsorship offered by the Old Cork Waterworks Experience and Cllr Kieran
Full results are online on Cllr McCarthy’s local
history website, www.corkheritage.ie. There is also a link there to the YouTube
award ceremony. On the YouTube video Kieran, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe
Kavanagh, and Niamh Twomey, City Council Heritage Officer speak about the
winning projects for this school season.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy
has called for the need for stronger communication to be given to the general
public and public representatives on the extent and progress of the roll-out of
fibre optic cable for broadband in neighbourhoods across Cork City.
This week representatives of
broadband service providers attended an online meeting of Cork city councillors
to give an update on the national broadband roll-out plan in Cork City.
Cllr McCarthy, who asked the
Council executive to bring in the service providers for a special meeting
noted; “I certainly welcome the ambition of the National Broadband Plan but
every week, I’m getting emails from constituents asking for updates. With many
people working from home, the demand for broadband is so high at present. I am
getting emails that people are unable to log onto basic zoom calls or students
who cannot take part effectively in online schooling. The areas they live in
are not in far out rural areas but in the inner suburbs of Cork City. The old
copper coil cable technology is not fit for purpose for the modern world.
“The roll-out of the National
Broadband Plan is most welcome but the plan is just in year two of seven at the
moment and its communication with local people needs to be improved immensely.
I have had constituents who are so frustrated by the lack of communication of
when their neighbourhood is due to be upgraded”.
“It also doesn’t help that service
providers such as SIRO and EIR cannot speak to each other due to competition
rules. So joining up the dots of communication and ramping up broadband to make
sure Ireland’s second city has future proofed broadband, which can also drive
regional development, is difficult”.
“I heard at the service providers
online meeting this week that the roll out of fibre cable in the city centre is
being stalled due to the need to dig up the streets and the complexities that
go with that. And that it may not be looked at for several years. We may end up
with efficient broadband in the suburbs and anyone who needs effective
broadband in the city centre island not being able access fast and sustainable
broadband. This is not good enough for a city of scale such as Cork. Better
solutions for the city centre need to be fast-tracked”, concluded Cllr
By the last week of February 1921 revenge was the talk of
Cork IRA Brigade No. 1 for their fallen comrades of the Dripsey Ambush and the
Battle of Clonmult. On Saturday evening,
26 February, a comrade of Michael O’Donoghue’s whispered to him, “Go to
Confession to-night, Mick, and be ready for Monday near St. Augustine’s
In his witness statement for the Bureau of Military
History (WS 1741), Michael recalls that the members of A Company, got the
mobilisation order on that Monday afternoon, 28 February 1921. By 6.30pm, members
had reported at the college tower, at UCC’s quadrangle and had been issued with
small firearms and ammunition from the arms dump there. Their instructions were
clear – to shoot down at sight, every enemy soldier and policeman in uniform on
the streets of Cork City that evening.
Michael outlines that the particular area of operations
allocated to ‘A’ Company, was St Patrick’s Street and the adjoining streets
between South Mall and the Coal Quay. This was the most dangerous section of
the City as it was ringed by a chain of police barracks barely 150 yards apart
between the two river channels. On Cornmarket Street was the Bridewell police station
and its detention cells, all of which were strongly garrisoned. On Tuckey Street
corner, there was another large RIC barracks. These two barracks effectively
dominated the approaches to St Patrick’s Street from the west. At its other
extremity was the bottleneck of St Patrick’s Bridge. Michael recalls of the
“This then was the sector where our
University Republican soldiers were to challenge the military might of the
Crown Forces and exact bloody revenge for the execution by firing squad of the
six Republican prisoners that same morning. Every man of ‘A’ Company who had a
gun was in action that night. We operated in small groups of two or three. Zero
hour was 7pm by Shandon Church clock. By 6.45pm, we had made our way
unobtrusively to Patrick Street and begun to scout along quietly marking down
companion was Dan Barton, a fellow engineering student. They strolled casually
up the south side of St Patrick’s Street. No policemen in uniform were anywhere
to be seen in the whole section. Civilians, men and women, hurried by, each focused
on some vital personal business.
At 6.53pm, Dan and Michael reached St Patrick’s Bridge,
meeting Mick Crowley, Connie Lucey and “Nudge” Callanan, three of our
lads who had come in from West Cork, where they were with Tom Barry’s Column,
to share in the night’s desperate work.
It was 6.57pm and almost dark when they saw a party of
three khaki warriors with bandoliers ahead near Prince’s Street corner. With
two minutes to go at least, they ran rapidly down to Oliver Plunkett Street and
turned up Prince’s Street intending to get to the soldiers as they emerged on
to St Patrick’s Street again.Seven o’clock struck as they swung into Prince’s Street.
Michael describes the engagement.
“Loud and clear and ominous the strokes rang
out. A few seconds tense silence and then desultory shots to the north. Then shooting
seems to break out all over. Three soldiers came running from Patrick St.
straight towards us, all scared by the nearby shooting. Our revolvers are drawn
and I have the big Colt cocked. Fire! Within eight yards of us, two of the
soldiers crash to the ground, the survivor stops, shrieks in panic, turns and
raced after him as the survivor ran in through an open shop door:
“I am almost at his heels. It is a fancy shop
with a variety of musical goods. The soldier huddles, crying in a corner
against the counter. Another shot and he slumps down. I turn on my heels
quickly towards the door. I don’t even search the khaki body or glance at it.
Then as I reach the door I hear a loud shriek of terror behind me. I look back
and see the face of a terrified woman behind the counter. I do not know if she has
witnessed the ghastly business, but I am now scared”.
Outside near the corner Dan awaits Michael. The two slain
policemen lay motionless on the street. Shooting continued and seems to come
from the streets all round. It was now quite dark and the streets are
completely deserted. Both chose to escape outside of the ring of police barracks.
Curfew time was approaching and it was only minutes until the streets were
going to be filled with armoured cars and lorries and machine-guns.
As they emerged from St Patrick’s Street to cross to
Castle Street a volley of revolver shots rang out and crash went a plate-glass
shop window behind them. They were seen and fired at. Two dark figures, Black and Tans evidently
from Tuckey Street were firing at them from Singer’s Corner about fifty yards
away. Crouching low by the van of Woodford Bourne’s. Michael fired three rounds
at the two Tans to disconcert them.
Then together Michael and Dan rushed across the street to
Castle Street corner. They made it safely and continued down Castle Street. Michael
had but one round left in the Colt gun now.
Shooting could still be heard at intervals, now more
heavily in the Sunday’s Well and Blarney Street direction. It was almost on
curfew hour as they reached the Dyke Parade. Dan agreed to smuggle Michael into the Honan
Hostel where he stayed and to shelter him there for the night. As they reached O’Donovan’s
Bridge opposite UCC after crossing over the Western Road. Michael ejected the
five spent shells from the Colt end dropped them in the River Lee.
1088a. View from Woodford Bourne street corner,
Daunt’s Square, St Patrick’s Street, c.1910, from Cork City Through Time
by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.
“Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the beginning of the phase 1 of the Passage Railway Greenway Improvement Scheme on next Monday 22 February. Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding. There is a deep affection for the old railway line walk and in these COVID times is used regularly by locals”.
“The widening of the footpath is to be welcomed and one which locals have called for. I am personally excited that the old Blackrock Station platform is to get conservation works. It is in a poor state and it would be a shame to lose the platform completely due to neglect. I am also excited by the planting of 60 semi mature trees and over 2,000 saplings along the phase 1 from the Mahon Point to The Marina. It is also welcome that the greenway will be kept open to the greatest possible extent throughout the works”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
This presentation outlines the history and recent refurbishment of the iconic ‘Shakey’ Bridge which was originally built under the stewardship of the City Engineer, SW Farrington, who was also the first Chair of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland. Kieran McCarthy, an Independent Councillor in Cork City and a noted local historian with an avid interest in the architectural and industrial heritage of his native city outlines social and economic context of the original construction which opened in 1927 to replace an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. The bridge remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland.
Michael Minehane, Chartered Engineer and Principal Engineer at RPS details the recent rehabilitation of the bridge which re-opened in December 2020, including the special inspection and structural assessment, site investigations and material testing, rehabilitation works, the approach to conservation, structural dynamics and aspects of design and construction.
to a Truce: An Engineering Student Speaks
Cappoquin born Michael O’Donoghue was a final
year student in early 1921, who was studying for his Batchelor of Engineering degree
(mechanical and electrical) in UCC. He was Engineer Officer of the 2nd
Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1. In his witness statement to the Bureau of
Military History (WS1741), he provides insight into his life going between
student and IRA member.
At UCC, Michael details that his class was a
small one, about eight or so, and only three or four were Volunteers. University
College, Cork had at that time great teams competing in the Cork County Senior
Championships in hurling and football. In the years 1919-20-21 UCC teams
reached the Cork County finals more than once. During January and early
February 1921 Michael describes he put in a little hurling practice at UCC’s
Gaelic grounds in the Mardyke. Selection of players for the University’s
hurling and football championships – the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups – were
due for decision. He had not played much in Cork, but he had already competed
in the Waterford championships in 1919 and 1920.
Turning up for hurling practice with Michael was Jerome Twohill,
medical student, an ex-radio operator of the First World War and IRA member,
and who also ‘digged’ in the Shamrock Hotel or lodgings at 31 Grand Parade. Mick
Crowley, too, of Kilbrittain, afterwards second-in-command of Tom Barry’s flying
column in West Cork, also turned up for hurling practices with John Joe Joyce
of Midleton, a good friend of Michael.
Late in January 1921, Michael and volunteer Jack Daly met
Raymond Kennedy, who was acting Officer in Command of the 2nd Battalion.
They asked him to arrange to have them redeployed to the Brigade flying columns
in the county. Raymond told them that the county’s active service unit columns
were at full strength and that scores of City Volunteers were offering their
services for flying column operations in rural areas. He told them that we were far more valuable in
Cork City where the two city IRA battalions were holding down strong crown
According to Michael, Cork City’s IRA members aimed to keep
crown forces occupied and preventing them from being thrown into the campaign
against the Flying Columns in areas from West Cork to North Cork to East Cork. As
well as that British forces in Cork City hardly knew a single IRA officer
either by name or by description.
During January and early February 1921, Michael kept a
Colt .45 with ammunition in his lodgings in the Shamrock Hotel at 31 Grand
Parade. The Shamrock was located above Miss O’Brien’s Restaurant. Many a night the
landlady Mary O’Brien took the gun from him and concealed it herself during the
long night hours, handing it over to him in the morning. There were a number of
IRA men in the building sharing its 6-8 bedrooms, including her own
However, the 1921 Martial Law Ordinance decreed that all
heads at households had to list the names and occupations of all those residing
in their house and that they should hang this list for military inspection on
the inside of the front door. Absentees or fresh arrivals or new residents were
to be especially noted. The penalty for evasion of this blacklisting decree was
all the rigours of a British military court martial. Miss O’Brien had complied,
as did every other householder.
One day when Michael was at the university, a British
military officer with about ten armed soldiers visited 31, Grand Parade. The
officer removed the list of names, questioned Miss O’Brien about the then
whereabouts of all the residents – who were out and noted the names of the men
who were in. He ordered Miss O’Brien to show him to the rooms of these in turn,
leaving his armed soldiers below in the hallway and at the door. He queried
each man of those in about his name, age, occupation, and reason for being in,
and checked, with particulars on list. Satisfied, he returned the sheet to Miss
O’Brien and withdrew with his troops.
That night Michael remembers he kept the gun loaded in his
overcoat pocket hanging in the wardrobe of his room. He shared the room with
Mick O’Riordan, an IRA man with B-Company, 2nd Battalion, who worked
as a draper’s assistant over in the South Main Street.
The night passed without incident and next morning he
brought the gun, loaded and all, with him to the Crawford Municipal Technical
Institute where he was to do some practical work and study in the electrical
Michael’s two IRA class-mates were Bill O’Connor and Ned
Enright. During the morning laboratory work Michael did not feel at all at
ease, carrying in his trouser pocket the big Colt .45. At lunch break, he decided
on going ahead to the University College to hand up his gun to the
quartermaster, Jerry Wall, of A Company, and then return to his digs. Enright,
who was in digs down the Mardyke Walk, volunteered to accompany him as a scout
and look-out. However, on route up College Road, both ran into a group of Black
Both passed through a group of Black and Tans with
nervousness speaking aloud being late for classes. They reached the College
safely and gave the Quartermaster for safe keeping the gun for the company’s
1087a. Former site of the Shamrock Hotel, 31
Grand Parade, Cork City, present day, blue building in the centre (picture:
“Last week’s announcements by the National Transport
Authority (NTA) are really positive for the Marina area and the Old Railway
Line Walk through to Bessboro. Firstly phase 1 of the Greenway has been given
funding of e.3.2m to progress construction. It comprises widening of the existing surfaced area along
the old railway line path from 3m to 5m, the installation of new public
lighting and CCTV, emphasising the heritage of the railway (especially at
Blackrock Station) and producing a biodiversity corridor along the railway
Secondly, it is also really great to see funding
following the public consultation and its vision for the Marina and the Council’s
subsequent vote to pedestrianise the Marina walk full-time.
of e.240,000 has received from the NTA to progress preliminary design,
planning, design team appointment & detailed design for the Marina
Promenade Pedestrian and Cycle facilities project. Many people have complained
that is very difficult to walk over certain sections of the Marina’s road plus
the need to have a think about public lighting after dark and the counter
balance of that with protection of natural habitats around the Atlantic Pond
and eastwards. The project will also seek funding for some
repairs to the quay wall and some general improvement to the public realm
including seating, bike parking etc.
In March/ April this
year, the Infrastructure Development Directorate of Cork City Council will be
publishing a notice seeking tenders from suitably qualified and experienced
Design Consultants for the upgrade and enhancement of the Marina (Centre Park
Road to Blackrock Village).
By the end of 2021
City Hall officials aim to present a recommended layout to Council members with
construction to follow in early 2022 subject to the necessary consents and
Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding”.
On Tuesday, 16 February at 7pm the latest in a series of online talks by Engineer’s Ireland will be available: The History and Rehabilitation of Daly’s Bridge (The Shakey Bridge) presented by Michael Minehane, Chartered Principal Engineer at RPS and Kieran McCarthy, noted local Cork historian.
“As part of the Cork Regional 80th Anniversary celebrations, we are delighted to host this presentation on the history and refurbishment of the iconic “Shakey” Bridge which was originally built under the stewardship of the then City Engineer, SW Farrington, who was also the first Chair of the Cork Region of Engineers Ireland” says Ronan Keane, current Chair.
The presentation will outline the social and economic context of the original construction, first opened in 1927, replacing an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. It remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland. Michael Minehane says, “I will be giving the second part of the talk which will outline the recent rehabilitation of the bridge which re-opened in December 2020, including the special inspection and structural assessment, site investigations and material testing, rehabilitation works, approach to conservation, structural dynamics and aspects of design and construction.”
Kieran McCarthy will talk about the history of the bridge “of all the bridges in the city centre island, one can argue that Daly’s Bridge is the one which holds the fascination of the public the most. The removal of the main body of the bridge to deep clean it off site caused a large tinge of public sadness. Its return to the Banks of the Lee in the spring of 2020 heralded hope, and almost a sense that a valued family member had 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.”