Category Archives: Improve Your Life

Cllr McCarthy: Lifelong Learning can have a Huge Ripple Effect, 24 March 2023

“The smallest idea on learning can have a huge ripple effect on someone’s life” noted Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy at the spring European Committee of the Regions plenary. During a debate with European Commissioner Dubravka Šuica on the 2023 European Year of Skills Cllr McCarthy highlighted the importance of lifelong learning and Cork’s ongoing work including its annual festival.

Speaking at the plenary Cllr McCarthy emphasised this week’s organisation of the annual lifelong learning festival with over 100 events and the motto of “investigate, participate, and celebrate”. 

Cllr Kieran McCarthy on the importance of promoting lifelong learning, COR Plenary, Spring 2023

Cllr McCarthy observed: “For me, yes, it’s important that jobs and human capital have a focus; but we not only need to build an economy, but also we need to build a society, and put focus on society building and building society capacity as well”.

“In my city, out of the lifelong learning festival, we’ve also created learning neighbourhoods. We’ve brought together an ecosystem of people with different interests, and I’ve seen first-hand in my own community the building of community capacity, building upon the sense of place-making, inclusiveness, and sense of empowerment”, Cllr McCarthy observed.

Cllr McCarthy concluded; “I think the smallest idea on learning can have a huge ripple effect on someone’s life, on a citizen, on someone maybe who hasn’t changed anything in their life for a while. I think one of the keywords that has been appearing is that the world is change, but I think to change as well you need to learn – we all need to learn – new abilities through life”. 

Cllr McCarthy’s upcoming Cork Lifelong Learning Festival Walking Tours:

Saturday 1 April 2023, An Introduction to the development of Cork, meet at Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street 11.30am, in association with South Parish Learning Neighbourhood and fort activities on the day (free, duration: 30 minutes, no booking required).  

Saturday 1 April, Shandon Historical Walking Tour; meet at North Main Street/ Adelaide Street Square, opp Cork Volunteer Centre, 2pm (free, 2 hours, no booking required).  

Sunday 2 April, The Cork City Workhouse; learn about Cork City’s workhouse created for 2,000 impoverished people in 1841; meet just inside the gates of St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Road, 2pm (free, 2 hours, on site tour, no booking required).

Cllr McCarthy’s Historical Walking Tours Return for 2023, 13 March 2023

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy is to restart his free historical walking tours during the month of April. Tours will be of the old Cork City workhouse site on Douglas Road in St Finbarr’s Hospital, the Shandon quarter, and the Barrack Street/ Friar’s Walk area respectively.

Cllr McCarthy noted; “This year my talks and walks reach their 30th year. There have been many walks given since my teen years. I have pursued more research than ever in recent years as more and more old newspapers and books are digitised these have allowed greater access to material and hence more material to create historical walking trails of some of Cork’s most historical suburbs”.

“I am also trying to sharpen the tours I have and to create new ones in a different suburb. The three areas I am re-starting with for the 2023 all have their own unique sense of place, their own cultural and built heritage, their own historic angles, some really interesting ‘set pieces’ and add their own stories to how the city as a whole came into being; they also connect to the upcoming 2023 Cork Lifelong Learning Festival”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Full details of Kieran’s April tours are below:     

Saturday 1 April 2023, Shandon Historical Walking Tour; explore Cork’s most historic quarter; meet at North Main Street/ Adelaide Street Square, opp Cork Volunteer Centre, 2pm, in association with the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival (free, duration: two hours, no booking required).  

Sunday 2 April 2023, The Cork City Workhouse; learn about Cork City’s workhouse created for 2,000 impoverished people in 1841; meet just inside the gates of St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Road, 2pm, in association with the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival (free, two hours, on site tour, no booking required)

Saturday 15 April 2023, The Friar’s Walk; Discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street, Callanan’s Tower & Greenmount area; Meet at Red Abbey tower, off Douglas Street, 2pm (free, duration: two hours, no booking required).

Cllr McCarthy: Student Enterprise Programme key for building key entrepreneurial skills, 5 October 2022

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy is encouraging local secondary school students in the Douglas area to sign up for this year’s Student Enterprise Programme.  An initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, the country’s largest enterprise programme for second level students begins its 21st year and over 300,000 students have taken part since it began.  

Cllr McCarthy noted; “The programme is open to all secondary school students from 1st year through to 6th year.   The programme is run through the network of Local Enterprise Offices, which includes Cork City’s very active office, supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities such as Cork City Council. Local coordinators are located in every area to support teachers and students through the year of the programme, which helps foster entrepreneurship in students and gives them key skills they can bring with them into later life”. 

The Student Enterprise Programme has been in operation in Cork City since 2003, as part of the National Student Enterprise Programme. The programme begins each year in September with a student induction held where students from across the schools located within the Cork City boundaries are invited to participate.

Students across the participating schools take part in idea generation exercises, they produce their products and deliver their services, market their business and sell their products. Local Enterprise Office Cork City run a number of events during the calendar year which includes a Student Induction Day, held in September, MD’s day in collaboration with Otterbox, held in October, Christmas Market, Business Plan writing workshop held in January and concludes in March with a Cork City final. The city’s finalists go on to represent Local Enterprise Cork City at the National final which is held in May annually.

Contact for more information.

Kieran’s Press, Boreenmanna Road & NTA, 30 September 2022

30 September 2022, “Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said: ‘The tree line on Boreenmanna Rd in particular is incredible. It’s quite beautiful at autumn time and it would be an environmental travesty if those trees were actually cut down’ “, Road-widening plans prompt ribbon protest on Boreenmanna Road, Road-widening plans prompt ribbon protest on Boreenmanna Road (

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 22 September 2022

1169a. Gerard Martin O’Brien, age four, standing by the ‘Hatch’, The Glen, circa 1957, from Faeries, Felons and Fine Gentlemen, A History of the Glen, Cork, 1700-1980 by Gerard Martin O’Brien.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 22 September 2022

Launch of A History of the Glen

Gerard Martin O’Brien’s book on The Glen in the heartland of Cork’s northside is an impressive landmark and beautiful publication. It is a personal memoir brought alive with deep research on the story of such a space of industrial heritage but also the movement in recent years to restore the space as one of Cork’s leading biodiverse parks. The book is entitled Faeries, Felons and Fine Gentlemen, A History of the Glen, Cork, 1700-1980 and is being launched at 7.30pm at Mayfield Library on 23 September, aka on Culture Night.

The book is intermixed with Gerard’s stories of growing up in the heart of the Glen to the stories of the various industries, which harnessed the power and space of the Glen river valley. In his introduction, Gerard noted about playing in the Glen amidst the ruins; “My Glen, the one I grew up in, had such diamond-like qualities as far as I was concerned. Yet, as a youngster, when I explored the old ruins, mused on the function of old waterways, and listened to stories of past activities and occupations, I should have understood how my ‘permanent world’ was already changing and had always been changing”.

Gerard’s idea for the book had its origins in the chance discovery of an old photograph of Goulding’s factory, which is not just remarkable for the clarity of the image, but also surprised Gerard with the clarity of recall the image engendered. It was one of three taken by the intrepid aerial photographer, Captain Alexander (‘Monkey’) Morgan in 1956, which Gerard discovered in the Morgan Collection in the National Photographic Archive.

Gerard describes that the Glen River is neither big nor long but rises from the springs and marshes in Lower Mayfield and Banduff and flows west. It is joined at Valebrook by another stream emanating in upper Ballyvolane (Ballincolly). The enlarged river flows through the Glen. At Blackpool it joins the bigger and longer Bride River. The river provided power to many industrial enterprises over the past three hundred years. Five mill ponds of varying sizes once punctuated its course at relatively even intervals between where it first emerges near the Fox and Hounds Crossroads, and Spring Lane at the western end.

As far as a history of the Glen is concerned, Gerard details that there were many versions of what the Glen had been like ‘before’ and the farther he went back in time, the less clear-cut anything became. Even the names changed and changed again through the lack of standard spelling or mistranslation: Glounapooka, Glounaspike and Glounaspooks are now forgotten names once associated with opposite ends of the Glen.

Before the eighteenth century, Gerard speculates the activities that went on there. For instance, the trees that covered the Glen in the nineteenth century were English elm, which had been introduced to Ireland in the seventeenth century. For such trees to colonise an area, there must have been a clearance of native woodland – but by whom and why is not recorded. Of arable faming Gerard denotes: “There is evidence to show that the eastern part of the Glen, being arable, was farmed long before the eighteenth century. Then of course, going back into prehistory, the post ice-age landscape would have been entirely different, and at some stage it is possible that much of the lower Glen, possibly all the western half, was a big lake before the river eroded its way through the rocky pass”.

Gerard’s research details that the quarrying of stone, sand and gravel probably represented the first efforts at exploitation of the Glen’s resources. Historic documents refer to a ‘north’ and ‘south’ sand quarry in the eighteenth-century Glen. A third quarry was also opened in the nineteenth century on the borders of Cahergal and Clashnaganiff townlands. The rock on the south face of the Glen was also quarried, most likely to build the mills in the eighteenth century and the distillery in the early nineteenth. However, from examining a succession of early OS maps, Gerard argues that it is probable that the quarrying of stone continued, at least periodically, throughout the nineteenth century. The sand quarries have now either been built over or landscaped, but evidence of the stone quarries can still be traced.

The earliest date for which references can be traced for any of these mills is the beginning of the eighteenth century. Gerard argues that it is not impossible that one or two ‘prototype mills’ existed before that. The Dodge family, one of the first families to make their mark on the Glen, may have prospered but their prosperity was a relative one: they were comfortable but did not amass a large fortune and plied the same trade for a century.

Gerard maps out and writes in detail that towards the end of the eighteenth century, flax milling was established at the eastern end of the Glen, but the process appears to have lasted only thirty years at most, before the mill was converted to a starch mill. The only other manufacturing process to be carried on in the Glen at that stage was iron working – a trade as old as corn milling – so it appears that a slow, steady, hardly changing way of life prevailed for the first century covered in this work. Gerard describes that in effect, the mills are centred in two clusters; “The iron mill, flax mill and one corn mill were located at the eastern end of the Glen where the landscape is broader, and the hills rise gently from a wide, marshy base. The malt/corn mills and the distillery/fertiliser factory were at the western end where the hills rise steeply to approximately one hundred feet and the valley floor has a characteristic V-shape”.

With the beginning of the nineteenth century the establishment of the distillery introduced an industrial model to the Glen. Gerard outlines that the first of these individuals, Humphreys Manders, went bankrupt almost immediately. The Perrier Brothers, with more money and experience, straightaway took his place. They did not live in the Glen and had other interests elsewhere in the city. The nineteenth century would see several such individuals associated with the Glen. Then, as the twentieth century dawned, a new type of industry dominated the landscape – Goulding’s Fertilisers, which was arguably the first Irish multinational industry.

Faeries, Felons and Fine Gentlemen, A History of the Glen, Cork, 1700-1980 by Gerard Martin O’Brien – copies can be bought at the launch or contact Gerard through his website


1169a. Gerard Martin O’Brien, age four, standing by the ‘Hatch’, The Glen, circa 1957, from Faeries, Felons and Fine Gentlemen, A History of the Glen, Cork, 1700-1980 by Gerard Martin O’Brien.

Cllr McCarthy: Fortnight Left for Cork BusConnects Consultation, 19 September 2022

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy calls on householders with concerns on the proposed BusConnects route from Maryborough Hill through to Douglas Road across Boreenmanna Road and Well Road to make submissions to the consultation process by Monday 3 October on Cork

BusConnects Cork aims to enhance the capacity and potential of the public transport system. It will support the delivery of a low carbon and climate-resilient public transport system in addition to greatly improving accessibility to jobs, education whilst playing a key role in regeneration and improvements to public realm and City Centres.

Cllr McCarthy noted; “The plan is ambitious but proposes dramatic changes to the roadscape in order to future proof public transport across the city. I continue to receive a lot of calls and emails from locals asking for City Council members to intervene but on this enormous set of plans, the democratic powers of local Council members have been dismissed, and the National Transport Authority is now the key decision maker.

“If local residents have questions, they can still contact me. I have heard from many local residents who have concerns on the widening of Douglas Road, Boreenmanna Road, Well Road and Grange Road. It is crucial that those who live along these roads and who are still not unaware of the plans that they log onto Cork BusConnects website and come up to speed with proposals to take strips of front garden space, tree corridors and on-street car-parking”, detailed Cllr McCarthy.

Cllr McCarthy also organised a number of public meetings on the National Transport Authority proposal to place a 20 metre wide bridge to facilitate bus and cars over Ballybrack Woods from Donnybrook Hill to Maryborough Woods as part of the Grange to Douglas Bus Corridor. Cllr McCarthy noted: “This is a shocking act of environmental vandalism. Yes there is a need to improve the nature of public transport in the city and in the south east of the city but not at the expense of demolishing half a woodland to do it”.

 Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project Launches for Year 21

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has launched the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2022/23. The project is in its 21st year and is open to schools in Cork City. It is funded by Cork City Council and 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.

The fourth-class level is open to fourth class students. The primary senior level is open to students of fifth and sixth class. Post primary entrant/s will be placed in Junior Certificate or Leaving Certificate levels. The post primary level is open to any year from first to sixth year.

A student may enter as an individual or as part of a group or as part of a class project. The theme for this year’s project is “The Value of the Past”.

Free and important project support in the form of free virtual workshops led by the Project Co-ordinator Cllr Kieran McCarthy will be held in participating schools across September and October 2022. This is a 40 minute workshop to give participating students ideas for compilation and resources.

Free workshop support is also available to schools who have never entered before and wish to have a workshop to see how the project works or to get some perspectives on Cork history. Information on entering this year’s project is on Kieran’s heritage website,

Cllr McCarthy noted: “It is great to reach the twenty-first year of the project. Over 15-16,000 students have participated in the project through the years with many topics researched and written about – from buildings and monuments to people’s stories and memories. The Project continues to encourage and work with Cork students in celebrating, highlighting, debating and creating fresh approaches to Cork’s cultural heritage. The Project also focuses on students gaining acknowledgement and self-confidence from their work”.

“In addition, never before has our locality and its heritage being so important for recreation and for our peace of mind. In the past two years, more focus than ever has been put on places and spaces we know, appreciate, and attain personal comfort from”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

View the brochure here: 2022-23-Discover-Cork-Schools-Heritage-Brochure.pdf (

Cllr McCarthy’s September Walking Tour Dates Launched, 29 August 2022

Cllr Kieran McCarthy has launched his September set of public historical walking tours. They will focus on three locations – Ballinlough, Blackpool, and the old Cork Union Workhouse site at St Finbarr’s Hospital. 

Cllr McCarthy noted; “These three suburbs have much cultural and built heritage. There are many nineteenth century tales running through these locations. Blackpool has a rich industrial heritage at its heart. Ballinlough has everything from historic graveyards to stories of big house estates to tales of market gardens. Whilst the old workhouse site contains stories from impoverished society and those who struggled to make ends meet”.

“These three locations follow quickly on the back of a successful and recent series of tours for National Heritage Week. It’s great to be able to host physical tours again. The September tours are the last set of public tours till next spring again. I began the public tours in early April and by the time late September rolls around, 22 free public tours will have been given by me this year. All aim to build a sense of civic pride and also just to put a focus on the history and heritage in our own city”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Kieran’s September 2022 Tours:

Saturday 3 September 2022, Blackpool: Its History and Heritage, historical walking tour with Kieran; meet at square on St Mary’s Road, opp North Cathedral, 2pm, (free, two hours).

Sunday 4 September 2022, Ballinlough – Knights, Quarries and Suburban Growth; historical walking tour with Kieran; meet at Ballintemple Graveyard, Temple Hill, 2pm (free, two hours).

Saturday 17 September 2022, The City Workhouse, historical walking tour with Kieran; meet just inside the gates of St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Road, 2pm (free, two hours, on site tour).

Cllr McCarthy: Welcome for the Public Consultation on Road Safety Plans for Our Lady of Lourdes School Junctions, 15 August 2022

Cllr McCarthy noted: “In the last few weeks Cork City Council has been successful in its bid to a Central Government Road safety scheme to implement measures at the junctions adjacent Our Lady of Lourdes School. The provision of funding is very positive and responds to much public and local political pressure over many years to make the junctions safer”.

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy warmly welcomes proposals now out to public consultation for road safety measures at the junctions of Bellair Estate, Ballinlough Road and Wallace’s Avenue. The proposals include the construction of two table top raised areas at the junctions of Bellair Estate and Ballinlough Road, and Wallace’s Avenue with Ballinlough Road, respectively, and a zebra crossing from Our Lady of Lourdes School to the current Bean Brownie shop.

“It is also proposed to reconstruct and improve footpaths in the vicinity of both junctions, and modify and improve public lighting, road markings and road signage. In the early discussions on design a controlled crossing was ruled out due to people’s driveways adjacent to the junction”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

The public consultation is open from Wednesday 3 August 2022 until 4pm on Thursday 15 September 2022. 

The full set of drawings and maps are on Cork City Council’s Online Consultation Portal at or at the public reception desk of Cork City Council, City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork between the hours of 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

View the project here: Part 8 Planning – L1005 Ballinlough Road Junction Improvement Scheme | Cork City Council’s Online Consultation Portal

Submissions and observations with respect to the proposed development can be made on the Consult website above or in writing to “Executive Engineer, Traffic Operations, Room 338, City Hall, Anglesea Street, Cork”.

Second Call Out – Kieran’s National Heritage Week Events, 13 August-21 August 2022

Saturday 13 August 2022, A Tour of Cork City Hall as part of Cork Heritage Open Day, with Cllr Kieran McCarthy, 10am, meet at entrance at Anglesea Street (90 minutes, booking required at Cork Heritage Open Day website with Cork City Council, from 3 August 2022). Update, 5 August, booked out.

Sunday 14 August 2022, Cork Through the Ages, An Introduction to the Historical Development of Cork City; meet at the National Monument with Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Grand Parade, 6.30pm (free, 2 hours, no booking required). 

Monday 15 August 2022, Shandon Historical Walking Tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; explore Cork’s most historic quarter; meet at North Main Street/ Adelaide Street Square, opp Cork Volunteer Centre, 6.30pm (free, duration: two hours, no booking required).  

Tuesday 16 August 2022, The Northern Ridge – St Patrick’s Hill to MacCurtain Street; Historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy of the area around St Patrick’s Hill – Old Youghal Road to McCurtain Street; meet on the Green at Audley Place, top of St Patrick’s Hill, 6.30pm (free , duration: two hours, no booking required). 

Thursday 18 August 2022, Views from a Park – The Black Ash and Tramore Valley Park, historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy in association with the KinShip Project; meet at Halfmoon Lane gate, 6.30pm (free, duration: 90 minutes no booking required). 

Saturday 20 August 2022, Douglas and its History, historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy in association with Douglas Tidy Towns; Discover the history of industry and the development of this historic village, meet in the carpark of Douglas Community Centre, 2pm (free, duration: two hours, no booking required, circuit of village, finishes nearby). 

Sunday 21 August 2022, The Battle of Douglas, An Irish Civil War Story, historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy, meet at carpark and entrance to Old Railway Line, Harty’s Quay, Rochestown; 2pm, (free, 2 hours, no booking required, finishes near Rochestown Road).