Monthly Archives: August 2019

Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020 launched for new school term

     The Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project is entering its seventeenth year and is open to all schools in Cork City. The new areas of the City are especially welcome. The project encourages students to compile a project on any aspect of Cork history. It is about exploring and investigating local heritage in a constructive, active and fun way. Interested students can pick any topic on Cork’s local history to research and can participate as individuals, groups or as a class. Students produce a project using primary material such as fieldwork, interviews, making models and short films of their area.

 Project books may be submitted on any aspect of Cork’s rich past. The theme for this year’s project is “The Past and its Legacy”.

 FREE and important project support in the form of funded workshops led by Cllr Kieran McCarthy in participating schools will be held in October 2019. This is an hour 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.

 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.

 Co-ordinator and founder of the Schools’ Heritage Project, Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted that “The project is about thinking through, understanding, appreciating and making relevant in today’s society the role of our local heritage – our local history, our oral histories, our landmarks in our modern world for upcoming citizens. The annual workshops involve visiting circa 20 schools in Cork City with hours of workshops given overall to over 800 students. The workshops comprise showing students projects from previous years and providing a framework to work to and to encourage colour and creativity”.

 The City Edition of the Project is funded by Cork City Council. It is also sponsored by the Old Waterworks Experience, Lee Road, Learnit Lego Education, Sean Kelly of Lucky Meadows Equestrian Centre, Watergrasshill and Cllr Kieran McCarthy. Application forms to express interest and participation have been sent to all principals and history teachers in Cork. Unfortunately, due to back surgery for Kieran last year, the County Cork edition of the project has been discontinued. Contact Kieran at for details or click on the brochure here:

2020 Brochure Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 August 2019



1012a. Former site of Metropole laundry Alfred Street on right hand side of photograph, present day



Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 29 August 2019

Tales from 1919: The Burning of the Metropole Laundry


    A few minutes before 2am on Saturday night, 30 August 1919 some people passing along King Street (now MacCurtain Street) and the police on duty in the vicinity of St Patrick’s Church, observed flames emerging from the roof of the Metropole Laundry on Alfred Street. Within ten minutes the whole roof of the building was enveloped and the interior of the Laundry becoming a seething mass of flames. The block of buildings besides the Laundry and its offices comprised some well-known Cork businesses – the sweet and confectionery works of Hadji Bey and Company (their shop was within the Metropole Hotel frontage), Messrs Avery and Company, a shop belonging to Mr D R Baker, while adjoining the building at the western end or King Street end was the stone and monument construction works of Mr J A O’Connell.

    The Metropole Sanitary Steam Laundry company – one of the city’s largest laundries – was launched by the Southern Metropole Hotels, Cork on 24 February 1898. The extensive premises with frontage on Alfred Street had been a skating rink. It also had frontage onto lower King Street. It was opened in March 1898 as a public steam laundry. The Directors of the company visited several of the leading London, and Provincial Steam Laundries, selected the very modern American, patent washing and ironing machines. A separate portion of the premises was to be fitted up for carpet beating and general cleaning works. In 1919, the Metropole Laundry was one of five city laundry operations – the other four being Cork Hand Laundry on Drinan Street, Munster Steam Laundry on South Terrace, Convent of Good Shepherd Convent and St Mary’s Magdalen Asylum on St Mary’s Road. The Metropole Laundry operated till 1953 when its operations were moved to Millfield in Blackpool. The site was subsequently taken over by Chris O’Mahony Volkswagen Dealers.

   How the outbreak of fire in 1919 occurred is not known, but it spread with rapidity. The Cork Examiner records that the laundry was gutted within thirty or forty minutes from the time the outbreak was noticed. The Cork Fire Brigade was called on telephone and were on the scene within a few minutes. Police from the police station on King Street and soldiers from the nearby Soldiers’ Homes also arrived. Many nearby residents were awoken by the general commotion and watched the fire from their doors and windows, and their adjacent footpath.

    When the Fire Brigade under Mr T Higgins arrived, they proceeded to lay out a line of hoses from the street to each side of the burning building. Unfortunately, any attempt to extinguish the fire in the Laundry was useless as the material fabric of the building burned like matchwood. During the progress of the fire in the Metropole Laundry portion of the block, the boilers burst.

   The Fire Brigade men then directed their attention to endeavouring to restrict the area of the conflagration. The fire had entered the end of Mr O’Connell Works nearest the Laundry building and at this point the Brigade men concentrated their efforts to stop its further progress in that direction. Men in charge of the hose at the other side also endeavoured to cut off the fire at Messrs Avery’s. Several people, including a sailor and some soldiers, saved some stock from Messrs Avery’s but the fire made such extraordinary headway that very little could be done beyond look at the blaze while the firemen were directing the lines of hose at each side with a view to saving the adjacent building and property. At one time it looked as if the YMCA (Red Triangle) Hut would be involved.

   Notable amongst those engaged in the saving work was a party of sailors, one of whom, J Lindsay of HMS Heather, Queenstown, got a very bad cut in left wrist from some of the falling glass. He was attended to promptly by Sergeant Gloster and some civilians, but so serious was the cut and so great the loss of blood that he became weak, and he was taken to the North Infirmary by Fireman P Higgins on the Fire Brigade car. On arrival at the Infirmary he was at once seen and attended to by Dr W Galvin, who dressed the wounded hand.

   The heat from the laundry conflagration was so intense that the paint from some of the hall doors on the opposite side of the street was burned off. After much hard work the fire brigade succeeded in containing the fire to a portion of Messrs O’Connell’s, and the St Patrick’s Art Works on the western side of the Laundry, which had been destroyed before the Brigade came on the scene.

   On the Alfred Street side of the building, where the stabling of Messrs Musgrave was situated, the work of saving the large number of valuable horses stabled within began. Over twenty animals were brought to safety. In addition the saving of hotel buses and other cars were undertaken by the constabulary and a large number of willing workers.


1012a. Former site of Metropole laundry Alfred Street on right hand side of photograph, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1012b. Advertisement for Metropole Laundry from 1910s Cork Street Directory (source: Cork City Library).

1012c. Sections of Goad’s insurance map of Alfred Street, 1915 showing Metropole Laundry facility (source: Cork City Library).


1012b. Advertisement for Metropole Laundry from 1910s Cork Street Directory



1012c. Sections of Goad’s insurance map of Alfred Street, 1915 showing Metropole Laundry

Auditions, Cork City Musical Society, 4-5 September 2019

 Auditions!!! Auditions!!! Auditions!!!


 Cork City Musical Society presents its annual concert “An Evening at the Musicals” at the Firkin Crane, Shandon on Sunday 20 October 2019.

Open auditions to sing solo, duet, in a group or in the ensemble will take place at the Firkin Crane Shandon on Wednesday 4th August and Thursday 5th September, 6pm-9pm.

Prepare one song from any musical and preferably bring along sheet music for our MD or backing track on a phone. Older and newer musical theatre songs are all welcome.

Participants must be over 18 to participate in Cork City Musical Society.

To book an audition slot please PM us on our FB page with your optimum time and with the song you’ll be singing.

“An Evening at the Musicals will run on Sunday 20 October and will be directed by Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Musical Direction by Jimmy Brockie and production by Yvonne Coughlan, Red Sandstone Varied Productions.


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 22 August 2019

1011a. Tinted postcard of the unfinished St Colmans Cathedral, Queenstown, c.1900



Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 22 August 2019

Tales from 1919: The Consecration of St Colman’s Cathedral


    One hundred years ago this week on 24 August 1919 impressive ceremonies took place at Queenstown (now Cobh) to consecrate St Colman’s Cathedral. Local newspapers such as the Cork Examiner covered the event and the cathedral history was well documented in their August 1919 spread. Since then many historians, locally and internationally, have written on the gorgeous building.

   The building of a Cathedral in Queenstown was the-conception of Dr William Keane, Bishop of Cloyne from 1857 to January 1874. He had personal knowledge of the grand Gothic Cathedrals of France, where he had lived for the greater part of his life as student and Superior in the Irish College, Paris. About the year 1860 Bishop Keane appealed to the people of the parish of Queenstown to inaugurate a fund for the purpose of meeting the initial expenditure on his great project. Within ten years the Queenstown fund reached the large figure of £15,000.

   The Cathedral is one of Edward W Pugin and George Ashlin’s most important Irish commissions. It is one of the finest examples of ecclesiastical architecture in the Gothic revival style in Ireland. It was built at a time when leading architects had absorbed the principles of pointed architecture laid down by A W N Pugin (1812-1852), the father of E W Pugin and father-in-law of George Ashlin.

   When groundwork began preparing for the building of the Cathedral, the old church or the chapel of Queenstown was taken down to provide a site for the Cathedral itself. The building used as the Queenstown Intermediate School, run by the Presentation Brothers, was erected to serve as a temporary parochial church. The costliest part of the preliminary works was in connection with the laying of the foundations, which had to be built up from a depth of 24 feet. The outlay on these preliminary works amounted to more than half the £15,000 already subscribed from Queenstown.

   On 30 September 1868, Bishop Keane laid the cornerstone of the Cathedral. By January 1874 the month of Bishop Keane’s death. the outer walls of the Cathedral had been raised all round to the height of 14 or 15 feet. The outlay amounted to £20,486 4s 8d, representing £8,000 spent on the preliminary works and £12,460 paid to the contractors.

   In September 1874, Bishop John MacCarthy was consecrated Bishop of Cloyne in succession to Bishop Keane and took up the work. The external walls all round were raised to their full height; the magnificent roof of best Belgian slate, with its stone-cut water-valleys and numerous statues, were constructed. The tower, which stood when he took it in hands, only about 15 feet high, was raised by a storey. The crypt was constructed as well as the beautiful west front. Dalkey blue Granite and Mallow limestone were used in the external walls. The building contractors employed in the vast project comprised local quarrymen, car men, labourers, limestone and bath stone masons, sawyers, nailers, carpenters, smiths, plumbers, tradesmen’s helpers and numerous general stone masons.

   Notable additions were also made in the interior such as the high altar, side-chapels within the sanctuary. The tiled mosaic floor of the chancel was tiled. The bishop’s throne, the beautiful south transept stained-glass window, and the marble Communion railing were installed. On 15 June 1879, the first Mass was celebrated.

   In his Pastoral Letter of 1891-2, Bishop MacCarthy whilst making an appeal to the diocese for help, highlighted that the outlay on the Cathedral from its inception till then was over £100,000. He had received £8,000 from an appeal in 1882 to the diocese. He got £15,000 from the priests of his diocese, £50,000 from the generous laity of his diocese, £14,000 from Irishmen in the United States and Australia, £7,000 from dioceses in Ireland other than Cloyne, £8,600 from legacies and special donations, and to these sums.

   Following the example set by Bishop MacCarthy, his successor, Bishop Robert Browne, took up the work which Bishop McCarthy had left off. Right in front of the great western door stood the town bridewell and two very dilapidated houses, which he detailed should be taken down. Moreover, the space round the Cathedral was very narrow and unsuitable. A great bastion wall was created from the bottom of the nearby ravine, some 30 or more feet deep. A sacristy and Cathedral Hall were constructed as well as the Chapel of the Blessed Thaddeus. This work would cost over £8,000. The tower was unfinished, and it had no spire. The tower and spire became the highest in Ireland and were furnished with a peal of 42 bells. All in all the work on the Cathedral took a full 50 years to complete.

   The beautiful interior boasts different forms of marble. Fermoy red marble is used in nave columns which rest on Italian white marble. Midleton red marble is used in the shrines and in the first confessionals of both aisles. Connemara green marble is used in the sanctuary pillars. Kilkenny black marble is engaged in columns at the end of the north aisle. Italian white marble is used in communion rails and altar tables. Caen (Brittany) Stone is used in Stations of Cross. Californian Pitch pine is used in the ceiling of the nave and in seating. Austrian Oak is used in screens, the Bishop’s throne, the canons’ stalls and the pulpit.

Kieran’s Upcoming Historical Walking Tours:

Thursday 22 August 2019, The Lough and its Curiosities; meet at green area at northern green of The Lough, entrance of Lough Road to The Lough; 6.45pm (free, two hours)

Friday 23 August 2019, Douglas and its History, in association with Douglas Tidy Towns; meet in the carpark of Douglas Community Centre, 6.45pm (free, two hours).

Saturday 24 August 2019, Park Stories, explore the history of Cork’s Mardyke; meet at band stand in park, opposite Cork City Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park, 11am (free, two hours).


1011a. Tinted postcard of the unfinished St Colman’s Cathedral, Queenstown, c.1900 (source: Cork City Museum).

1011b. Present day picture from the waterfront of the front of St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh (picture: Kieran McCarthy).


1011b. Present day picture from the waterfront of the front of St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

Cllr McCarthy: Practical Projects must be core of Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Press Release:

   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has highlighted that Cork City Council’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy must embrace practical projects and that there is a large role to play for communities in Cork in the achievement of any proposals. The recently published draft strategy aims to ensure a proper comprehension of the key risks and vulnerabilities of climate change and bring forward the implementation of climate resilient actions in a planned and proactive manner. It also aims to ensure that climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into all operations and functions of Cork City Council.

   Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted: “At the initial debate between officials and councillors on the draft plan I articulated that practical climate adaptation community projects have a large part to play in achieving success for the proposal. For example, developing public parks and greening the city more can be achieved without an enormous amount of financial investment.

   In addition, a climate change adaptation strategy should also help the council to connect the relative global Sustainable Development Goals as well as re-applying for the European Green Capital programme, which was one of my five strands in my recent local election manifesto. There are also plenty best practice climate change adaptation projects to draw upon in other cities in Atlantic Europe and several successful EU urban initiatives that can be viewed on the insightful EU URBACT, EU Interreg and within the EU’s Horizon’s 2020 programmes. I am also delighted that Cork City Council will engage with schools and our youth as part of this consultation process”.

  A copy of the draft strategy may be inspected during the period from Tuesday 30 July 2019 to Friday 13 September 2019 (both dates inclusive) during normal business hours at Cork City Council, City Hall, Cork. The draft strategy is also available for inspection at all Council Public Libraries. The adaptation strategy may also be viewed on the Government Public Consultations Portal at

  Submissions or observations Cork City Council’s Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy may be made by e-mail to or via the online submission Portal on or in writing to Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, Strategic & Economic Development, Cork City Council, Cork City Hall.

Site Watch: Glenanaar, Boreenmanna Road, 21 August 2019


Despite large scale local concern planning permission has been granted for a controversial, 26-dwelling apartment complex on the site of the former Glenanaar pub on the Boreenmanna Road.