Monthly Archives: February 2020

Award Ceremony, Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project 2020

   Wednesday evening, 4 March coincides with the Cork City award ceremony of the Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project. A total of 25 schools in Cork City took part in the 2019-2020 edition, which included schools in Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock and Douglas. This year the project was open to new schools within the broader area of the new city boundary. Circa 1200 students participated in the process with approx 220 project books submitted on all aspects of Cork’s local history & heritage.

 The Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project is in its 17th 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 is 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. The project also focuses on motivating and inspiring young people, giving them an opportunity to develop leadership and self-development skills, which are very important in the world we live in today”.

   The City Edition of the Project is funded by Cork City Council with further sponsorship offered by Learnit Lego Education, Old Cork Waterworks Experience and Cllr Kieran McCarthy. Full results for the City edition are online on Cllr McCarthy’s heritage website, www.corkheritage .ie.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 27 February 2020



Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 27 February 2020

Remembering 1920: The Return of the Chaplaincy


    On 13 February 1920 a meeting of the Cork Corporation was held at 3pm. It was the first meeting since the election of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain and its agenda was to fill councillor positions on a variety of City Hall positions. Considerable public interest was taken in the proceedings, and the gallery was crowded long before the business was started. The congestion around the doors became so great that Alderman Daly complained to the Lord Mayor that some of the members were unable to gain admission. Three interesting elements arose in the meeting – the use of the Irish Language, insights into the deportation of IRA prisoners and the re-creation of a Mayoralty Chaplain position.

   The minutes having been read, Cllr Terence MacSwiney said that the resolution on allegiance to Dáil Éireann passed at the previous meeting had not been accurately recorded on the minutes. Alderman Liam de Róiste, who proposed the resolution referred to, spoke in Irish proposing to fix the record of what he proposed at the previous meeting. The minutes and resolution were corrected. Arising out of the debate was the questioning by Councillor Sir John Scott on the use of Irish as he could not understand the language. Lord Mayor MacCurtain noted that the members were quite within their right in addressing the Chamber in Irish.

   The Lord Mayor said that he wished to bring up a matter which he thought the Council should deal with or pass an opinion upon, and that was the manner in which up to eighty men were removed from Cork Prison and deported to somewhere in England, under cover of darkness, and with tanks and aeroplanes and armoured cars for an escort. He thought the Council should express its opinion on that action of a Government that called itself a constitutional Government. He asked some members to deal with the matter.

    Alderman Professor Stockley said that even English papers came out with very strong pro expressions with regard to the deportation of the Lord Mayor of Dublin and before others had been deported. The answer to these English papers, Stockley noted that the Irish people were in his opinion “not living under any law that claimed respect”. He highlighted that the ex-Crown Prince of Germany was to go on trial for deporting Belgians during the war. The act of taking people out of Ireland was according to him was simply making a “mockery of justice and was striking at the root of all respect for law”. He finished with the statement; “as long as Governments are the enemies of the people, the people will he the enemies of the law”.

   The Lord Mayor on the next point noted that about 34 years previously the Cork Corporation had the prerogative of appointing a Chaplain, but for some, reason or other it was allowed to drop into disuse. He had decided to bring it onto use again, and with the consent of His Lordship the Bishop he had appointed Capuchin Fr Dominic O’Connor, OSFC.

   Fr Dominic’s lay name was John Francis O’Connor. He was born on 13 February 1883 in Cork City and was the son of John O’Connor, a teacher, and Mary Ann O’Connor (née Sheehan). The young John was one of six sons and six daughters. Both parents held membership of the Franciscan third (lay) order, and eleven of their children bore the name ‘Francis’ or a variant thereof. Three of the sons became catholic priests, and three of the daughters became nuns. A maternal uncle of young John was a Capuchin priest, Father Luke Sheehan, and was among the order’s first missionaries the early 1900s sent to a newly established diocese in the US state of Oregon.

    John attended Christian Brothers on Sullivan’s Quay, and pursued his secondary education in the Seraphic College, the Capuchin feeder school, in Rochestown. On entering the Capuchin novitiate in Kilkenny town in 1899, John took the name in religion of Dominic. At the Roman Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, he undertook a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology and wrote a study of Francis Nugent, seventeenth-century founder of the Irish Capuchin mission. John or Fr Dominic was ordained a priest at the Kilkenny friary in 1906. He preached in various houses of the Order and undertook missions, and conducted historical research in Ireland, north-east France and Belgium for the papal commission on the beatification of the Irish martyrs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries such as Oliver Plunkett.

    During the First World War Fr Dominic became a volunteer within the chaplaincy service in the British military. For nearly two years, 1916 to 1917 was part of the 10th (Irish) Division in Macedonia as chaplain to several regiments. On his resignation and coming home to Ireland, he was allotted to the Capuchin’s Holy Trinity friary in Cork city. In 1918 he played an active in organising a counter movement to the proposal of enforced military conscription in Ireland. From 1919 onwards he ministered to local IRA volunteers in the war of independence, becoming the effective chaplain to the Cork No. 1 Brigade, focussed on the city and commanded by Tomás MacCurtain. In late February 1920 he became a chaplain to Tomás MacCurtain’s mayoralty.


1037a. Picture of Fr Dominic O’Connor, Chaplain to Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain, 1920 (source: (source: Irish Capuchin Provincial Archive).

1037b. Fr Dominic O’Connor (right) with Fr Albert Biddy (left) c.1922, Cork (source: Irish Capuchin Provincial Archive).


1037b. Fr Dominic O'Connor with Fr Albert Biddy c.1922

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 20 February 2020

1036a. Postcard of former entrance to South Infirmary, c.1910; this main block has now been replaced by the modern hospital


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 20 February 2020

Remembering 1920: Calls to Fund Public Health System


   Mid-February 1920 coincided with the annual general meeting of the Committee of Management of the South Infirmary, which was held in the Boardroom of the institution. The annual report was submitted by Mr J C McNamara and gives a further insight into the health care conditions of the time and the calls for investment to support the work of doctors and nurses. The number of patients-treated during the previous year was as follows – external attendances, 8,492; intern patients, 1,190 and the daily average of beds occupied stood at 71 per cent.

    Special attention was made at the meeting of the great services rendered by the hospital during the epidemic of influenza, which swept over the country in February and March 1919. A considerable number of those struck down, Mr McNamara detailed, had not the accommodation or the means for treatment in their own homes. Their only choice in many cases was to flock to their immediate hospital for treatment. Under normal conditions it was not usual or desirable to admit highly infectious diseases into general wards, but in the circumstances, the Committee of the hospital felt that it was the duty of the hospital to render all help possible. Mr McNamara records that the Committee had much pleasure in recording their admiration of the conduct of the nurses on duty in the medical wards during the epidemic. They gave what he described as “an exhibition of courage and self-sacrifice for which no praise can be too high”.

    The annual report, highlights of which were published in the Cork Examiner, praised the work of Dr W P Lehane, House Surgeon, who received much valued assistance from the senior resident students, Mr D Healy and Mr A Buckley. Thanks were also given to the hard-working Matron Sister Mary Albous Fogarty.

   The principal concern of the Hospital Committee was that the expenditure was greater than the income. Public hospital care was free to people. Only for local philanthropists, costs over the previous decades would not have been met or the growth of services within the South Infirmary would not have occurred. The number of free beds available could not have been maintained, nor necessary additions to the buildings carried out. It was even hoped that that the new timber boards with inscribed names on it might inspire more people to donate. Indeed owing to the serious financial position at the beginning of 1919, when £1,395 was due to the bank, the Hospital Committee decided that a special appeal should be made for funds to pay off this very heavy debt. Within a short time £1,143 was received, most of this sum being sent-by the annual subscribers.

   In the annual report, the Hospital Committee made grateful reference to the financial help received from the employees of one of the city’s inns and appealed for a far more generous support from the various staffs of the numerous large establishments in the city and county.

   The students of the hospital organised an open-air Fete and Bazaar and inaugurated a fund for building the Children’s Wards. The good attendance each evening resulted in £1,656 being raised. The report also acknowledged a munificent donation of £100 2s 8d (which is included in the amount, £1,656, already mentioned) from the people of Mallow for the latter fund. The collection was organised by Miss Wallace, a constant and generous friend of the hospital. Architect, Mr J F McMullen had already drawn up plans for the new children’s building, which was also to include two new x-ray rooms. A new porters lodge house was also planned to be built out of the fund.

   Towards the end of 1919 a few members of the Committees of the North and South Infirmaries held a conference or discussion with the Cork United Trades and Labour Council. There, it was pointed out that owing to the enormous rise in fixed cost of maintaining the hospitals, it was necessary, if the full number of beds were to be kept available, that the income must be considerably increased. A call was made that the different societies should arrange regular collections amongst their members, for the benefit of the Infirmaries. A discussion also took place that one penny be given by every worker through the unions towards the maintenance of the North and South Infirmaries. No agreement was reached at that meeting to accept the one penny subscription.

   Rev Dean Babington, in seconding the report, said he had attended two hospital meetings on the previous day and the same problem presented itself as the one which came up there. The problem was not one of want of doctors, nurses, or patients, but of money to keep the institutions going. They were in a period of transition, and he hoped that when prices began to come down, they would be better off than they were before the war. According to the Reverend “the working classes with higher and better standard of living, would be anxious and willing when they took their new place in society, to do their part in supporting the institutions of the country and becoming a subscriber”.



1036a. Postcard of former entrance to South Infirmary, c.1910; this main block has now been replaced by the modern hospital (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen).

1036b. Map of the grounds of South Infirmary, c.1910 (source: Cork City Library)

1036b. Map of the grounds of South Infirmary, c.1910

Kieran McCarthy elected to lead the European Alliance Group for the new European Committee of the Regions mandate

    As the European Committee of the Regions, a Brussels based EU Institution, which represents local and regional government, begins its new term of office on of the six Political Groups, the European Alliance (EA Group) has elected Independent Cork City Councillor Cllr Kieran McCarthy as its new President.

   Cllr McCarthy has been an active member of the European Committee of the Regions for the past five years in particular on issues of Urban agenda, Ports policy, green agenda and the Digital agenda, and cultural heritage – all areas, which are hugely important for CoR as a leading European City.

 In the first CoR Plenary session held on the 12th and 13th February and during a debate with Vice President of the European Commission Mrs Šuica responsible for democracy and demography, Cllr McCarthy highlighted the need for the European Union to have an open consultation with citizens across the European Union.  He said it was important to hear and act on the views of citizens whether they are in Cork or in Corsica, and we need to have actions on issues that matter to people in Environmental policy or on transport.  He added that the debate held in the context of the new initiative on the “conference on the future of Europe” would allow this to happen.

 The Governor of Central Macedonia in Greece Apostolos Tzitzikostas (EPP) was elected President of the European Committee of the Regions for the next two and a half years where he also focussed on increasing the local and regional government influence in the EU decision making process.

Photo: CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas with Cllr Kieran McCarthy Cork City Council and President of the European Alliance Group.

Photo: CoR President Apostolos Tzitzikostas with Cllr Kieran McCarthy Cork City Council and President of the European Alliance Group

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 13 February 2020

JL (Diarmaid) L. Fawsitt Portrait



 Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 13 February 2020

Remembering 1920: Made in Ireland


    The first meeting of the Council of the Cork Industrial Development Association (Cork IDA) for 1920 was held at the offices of the Association on Monday 2 February. Mr J C Dowdall, President, occupied the chair. The others present included the Lord Mayor of Cork Alderman Tomás Mac Curtain and acting secretary Liam de Róiste.

    The President welcomed the Lord Mayor to their meeting and expressed appreciation of the Lord Mayor’s interest in the work of industrial development. Continuing he said that while that Association had found that the old Corporation assisted in the city’s development as best it could, they all expected great things from the new body in the way of assistance for the industrial progress of Cork. There were great opportunities arising at the present time, and he trusted and believed that those opportunities would be availed of by the Municipal Council, and full advantage taken of them to promote the welfare of their city. Lord Mayor MacCurtain, who was received with applause speaking in Irish and English, thanked the President and members for the welcome accorded him. As an old member of the Council he regretted lie had been unable to attend the meeting for some time past. He could assure the Council that so far as lay in his power, he would do what he could to forward the city’s interests.

     The meeting minutes, as published in the Cork Examiner, laid out the annual financial statement and officers were elected for the ensuing twelve months. Much tribute was paid to the work of Diarmuid Fawsitt who was liasing with US companies and making them aware of Cork’s business interests and the Cork IDA with much success.

   In the present day, Cork City and County Archives and archivist Brian McGee have received family papers belonging to Diarmuid Fawsitt (from present day family members). The archive allows a stronger reading of Diarmuid’s successful work in promoting Cork and Ireland abroad in 1920. The archive comprises a large collection of documents such as correspondence, diaries, photographs, news clippings, articles, speeches, lectures, and ephemera related to his involvement in many causes and organisations, as well as more personal material. The archive is of high quality and has been kept with care over generations by the Fawsitt family.

   An obituary on 5 April 1967 published in the Cork Examiner also records elements of Diarmuid’s work. He was born near Blarney Street in Cork’s northside in 1884. Diarmuid was active in cultural, industrial and nationalist circles, including the Celtic Literary Society, Sinn Féin, the Gaelic League, Cork National Theatre Society, and especially the Cork Industrial Development Association.

    Diarmuid established the Cork IDA in 1903 with fellow Corkman E J Riordan following the successful Cork International Exhibition. Its members soon included important Irish manufacturers and traders. They insisted on themselves buying Irish made goods and persuading others to do likewise. They held meetings throughout the country and within a few years similar bodies were established in Dublin, Limerick, Belfast, Galway and Derry. One of the chief successes was to gain legal recognition for the Irish National trade mark, Déanta in Éireann (Made in Ireland), which went far towards preventing the bogus sale of so called Irish products. With the help of John Boland MP for Kerry, advantage was taken of a new bill, which made it possible to registrar and enforce a national trade mark. The Cork IDA instituted numerous prosecutions, which soon restricted the previous abuse of Irish names and labels. It also gave help to firms, which were willing to start new industries in Ireland.

    During the First World War years, the Cork IDA were repeatedly thwarted in its efforts to fund new industries, even in fields where war shortages were most acute. Strong approaches to British government departments showed what scope there was in Irish manufactures and in Irish raw materials. But suspicion of Irish hostility towards the was effort prevented the beginnings, which might easily have been made in those years. A notable win was the advent of the Ford Tractor Company to Cork Docklands in 1917, which the Cork IDA provided advice and support.

    Coinciding with Diarmuid’s strong lobbying of the British government, in November 1913 Diarmuid Fawsitt attended the inaugural meeting of the Irish Volunteers in Dublin and was inducted into the Irish Republican Brotherhood. In December 1913 he was one of the co-founders of the Cork Corps of the Irish Volunteers at Cork City Hall, later becoming Chairperson of the Executive. During the War of Independence, Arthur Griffith sent Fawsitt to the United States as consul and trade commissioner of the Irish Republic. He was based in New York.

One hundred years ago in February 1920, Diarmuid Fawsitt made arrangements for the visit to Ireland of Mr K J McCormack of the Moore and McCormack Shipping Company of 5 Broadway, New York. The American company had bought several surplus ships after the First World War and had trading links to the eastern Mediterranean, India and South America. The Cork Harbour Board met Mr McCormack and gave much information relative to the economic position of Cork harbour.

    At the same time Diarmuid Fawsitt directed the Cork IDA to consider and report on the organisation of a Foreign Commerce Department of the Association to work in co-operation with other bodies interested in foreign commerce already established in Dublin and Belfast. The provision of return cargoes to the United States, particularly with reference to cured mackerel was deemed important. There was also a big demand in the States for Irish tweeds, seeds, raw material for paper making and other commodities.

   The Cork IDA with Diarmuid Fawsitt in New York were well poised for success in the months and years to come with France and Germany in particularly focussed on.

More in the coming weeks…


1035a. Diarmuid Fawsitt (source: Cork City and County Archives).

1035b. Present day members of Fawsitt Family with Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, September 2019 (picture: Clare Keogh).

1035b. Present day members of Fawsitt Family with Lord Mayor Cllr John Sheehan, September 2019

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 10 February 2020

 Question to CE:

To ask the CE about the mechanisms in place to combat homelessness this past winter season in the city?

How many homelessness cases on the streets in the two weeks of January 2020?

Are their beds available for all homelessness at this point in time in the city

How many emergency accommodation units are there?

To ask for the breakdown of finance given to housing homeless agencies in the city in 2019 and to be allocated in 2020? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


That road safety measures be again looked at the junction of Ballinlough Road and Bellair Estate. The corner of Old Lady of Lourdes National School is a blind corner and has many people crossing this dangerous stretch of road everyday (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That the public lighting on Wallace’s Avenue, Ballinlough be improved (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That yellow boxes be repainted at the entrance and exit to St Finbarr’s Hospital on Douglas Road (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).


Old Cork City Hall, c.1920

Sports Grants 2020, Cork City Council

Cork City Council’s Sports Capital Grant Scheme 2020 is now open for applications.

 The scheme, which is open to local voluntary sporting organisations and clubs, is aimed at providing grant aid to projects that are directly related to enhancing facilities and must be of a capital nature.

 A sum of €400,000 has been provided for the Scheme in 2020.

Application forms, together with the conditions applying, are available from the Sports & Sustainability Section, Cork City Council, City Hall, Cork, phone 021-2389853, e-mail: or by downloading the form on our website at the following link:

 Completed forms with all supporting documentation, addressed to the Administrative Officer, Sports & Sustainability Section, must be returned before 5.00pm on 6th March 2020.

Cllr McCarthy: Promotion of Cork Festivals Crucial

Press Release:

    At the last meeting of the Community Culture and Place-making Strategic Policy Committee, a request by Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy was asked for that the city’s Festivals Forum would be revisited, as it has ceased to engage. The Festivals Forum, which was led by the festival organisations, up until a few years ago. This Forum ceased to exist as members advised that they did not have time to commit to same and a decision was made to wind up the Forum. While originally set up by Cork City Council along with Civic Trust House, which was nominated as a venue for arts organisations, it was ultimately managed by the Forum themselves. The forum was led by the arts industry and their engagement. In addition to industry partners, other festivals with an arts focus were also represented i.e. the Cork City Marathon and Cork Harbour Festival.

    Cllr McCarthy noted: “there should be some overview of the city’s thirty or so annual festivals. Some are ahead with their public relations and audience capacity building and some are not. Some are good at accessing funding; some are not. Some get more publicity than others. A Festivals meet-up event even once a year may help the smaller festivals in particular with support and access to promotional tools and possible extra funding access points at national and European level”.

     Director of Services at the City Council’s Community, Culture and Place-making directorate Adrienne Rogers noted at the meeting of councillors that a calendar, which captures festivals across the city is undertaken by Pure and all festivals and events should be encouraged to forward details of any event for posting on this site.