Category Archives: Kieran’s Council Work

Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2021 concludes with online Awards Ceremony


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 way.

    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 McCarthy.

The Project is funded by Cork City Council with further sponsorship offered by the Old Cork Waterworks Experience and Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

 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. 

Cllr McCarthy: Better Communication with Public Needed on Broadband Fibre Optic Cable Roll-Out Progress

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 McCarthy.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 25 February 2021

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.
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.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 25 February 2021

Journeys to a Truce: Revenge in the City

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 [Church]”.

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 event:

“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 our quarry”.

 Michael’s 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 flees back”.

Michael 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.

Caption:

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.

1088b. UCC quadrangle tower, A Company’s arms dump, 1920-21 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1088b. UCC quadrangle tower, A Company's arms dump, 1920-21 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1088b. UCC quadrangle tower, A Company’s arms dump, 1920-21 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Ward Watch – Greenway construction to begin on 22 February on Marina to Mahon Point section of the Old Railway Line:

Press Release:

“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.

READ MORE: Extensive improvements in the pipeline for Passage Greenway (echolive.ie)

The History & Rehabilitation of Daly’s (Shakey) Bridge, Cork City, 19 February 2021

Press Release by Engineer’s Ireland, Cork:

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.

VIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j52poh2ZfSA&feature=youtu.be

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 18 February 2021

1087a. Former site of the Shamrock Hotel, 31 Grand Parade, Cork City, present day, blue building in the centre (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
1087a. Former site of the Shamrock Hotel, 31 Grand Parade, Cork City, present day, blue building in the centre (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 18 February 2021

Journeys 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 forces.

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 brother. 

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 laboratory.

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 and Tans.

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 arms dump.

Captions:

1087a. Former site of the Shamrock Hotel, 31 Grand Parade, Cork City, present day, blue building in the centre (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Cllr McCarthy, Former Lakelands Bar, Vacant building in Mahon could be set for a new lease of life, 17 February 2021

17 February 2021, “Speaking to The Echo, Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy, who has been vocal for many years about the need to develop the site, welcomed the news as “a really positive day for Mahon”, Vacant building in Mahon could be set for a new lease of life, Vacant building in Mahon could be set for a new lease of life (echolive.ie)

Cllr McCarthy: NTA Investments in Marina Area Warmly Welcomed, 15 February 2021

Press Release:

“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 line. 

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.

A total 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 funding approval.

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”.  

The Marina, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Talk on the History and Rehabilitation of Daly’s Bridge (The Shakey Bridge) 16 February 2021

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.” 

The History & Rehabilitation of Daly’s (Shakey) Bridge on Tuesday, 16th February at 7pm online via zoom, It’s a FREE event and all are welcome: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_7M2J_bAKQsGsGxKCD4QBaQ

Cllr McCarthy, Plan for Cork Sports Museum

10 February 2021, “Speaking to CorkBeo, Cllr Kieran McCarthy said the museum could see rolling exhibitions and the public could help out by lending out old medals, pictures, and trophies to be showcased there”, Plan for Cork sports museum to ‘showcase and celebrate’ county’s rich culture, Plan for Cork sports museum to ‘showcase and celebrate’ county’s rich culture – Cork Beo