Monthly Archives: April 2020

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 30 April 2020

1046a. King Street, c.1910

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 30 April 2020
Remembering 1920: MacCurtain Street is Born

 

     On 23 April 1920 – this week one hundred years ago – one of Cork’s principal streets was to get a name change to provide another outlet for the public outpouring of grief arising from the murder of Tomás MacCurtain. Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney, under Lord Mayor’s items, at the Cork Corporation meeting proposed in a short motion: “That the name of King Street be changed to MacCurtain Street”. He did not wish to add anything to the motion except to say that it was their duty “to do honour to their immortal dead” but did propose that the plaque for the thoroughfare be solely in the Irish language.

    There were 36 of the 56 Council members present with the majority on the night being Sinn Féin members. Commercial public representative Sir John Scott moved as an amendment that the renaming proposal matter be deferred to the next meeting in order that the people who had vested interests in the street in question could come before the Council or any public objection could be taken to the proposed change. There was no seconder to Sir John Scott’s amendment and without any more debate the Lord Mayor’s motion was carried.

    Sir John Scott did give a historic reference within his speech, pointing out that King Street had been called after an old family whose members had been prominently identified with the commerce and politics of Cork. Robert King (1796-1867) was of the Kingston family of Mitchelstown Castle. He was a member of the British army, who stayed in France after Napoleon’s fall. He was returned to Parliament for County Cork – a Whig politician – from 1826 to 1832. In 1836 he was High Sheriff of County Cork.

    The renaming of King Street to MacCurtain Street was one of three acts of remembrance to be put into place to consolidate the public solidarity against the murder of Tomás MacCurtain in the  weeks that followed but also they were to make sure his future memory was secured in Cork. The other acts – the inquest and a public memorial fund – also caught the public imagination.

   On 30 March 1920 a public meeting was held in the City Hall to inaugurate a memorial fund for the widow und family of the Lord Mayor Alderman Tomás MacCurtain. Bishop Cohalan chaired the meeting. He very much regretted the sad and tragic event that brought them together. His first duty and the duty of the whole body of citizens was to express and convey to Mrs MacCurtain, the Lady Mayoress, their sincere sympathy on the great bereavement that had befallen her. He knew the Lord Mayor since 1916, and in his death he deemed that the citizens of Cork had lost an “intelligent, man, an upright man, and a very unselfish man”.

   The Bishop denoted that the object of their meeting was to erect a financial monument or fund to the Lord Mayor, to support for a time the widow and the children. He appealed to the citizens, irrespective of creed or class, to support the fund; he noted; “it is not an appeal for a private individual; it is an appeal for a man who was the civic head of the municipality, the first citizen of Cork”.

   The speeches from those present – politicians and commercial figures – contained many accolades given to Tomás and in their own way laid the foundations of how he would be remembered and described by historians in years to come. Alderman Liam de Róiste’s intervention is noteworthy in his description of Tomás. He rose and in Irish proposed the MacCurtain Memorial Fund. He appealed to the citizens of Cork and to the people of Ireland in general to make this fund a success. He said that never before in the history of Cork City had he seen such an occasion to arise; “Tomás MacCurtain was struck down by the hand of an assassin. Had he been spared those associated with his work he felt confident that his energy, his initiative, his love of country, and his desire for the city’s welfare would have been valuable assets to the whole community, and would have been meant much for the progress and welfare of all of all sections and classes in the city”.

   Cllr Barry Egan proposed that Messrs D. O’Connell, Coroner William Murphy, solicitor, the Town Clerk, the City Solicitor, City Engineer and Mr Hegarty (Lord Mayor’s Secretary) be appointed secretaries of the Fund. Alderman Denis Lucey seconded and it was carried unanimously.

   As the days and weeks passed between April and October 1920, donations were listed regularly as subscription lists – over 25 listings at least – on the Cork Examiner. By early October 1920, the public had subscribed over £14,600 in donations and over £2,300 has been given to the family. For the most part donations came in small monetary numbers – a pound and few shillings. On 26 April 1920, a letter (catalogued in Cork City and County Archives) to Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney from Michael Collins enclosed his contribution to the Lord Mayor’s Memorial Fund. The letter noted the national significance and great importance of the fund.

   However, one of the largest donations was from Terence MacSwiney himself who gave two donations from his Lord Mayor’s salary – two £125 donations – one at the start of the memorial fund and the other in early October 1920 during his hunger strike Brixton Prison where he gave £125 of his Lord Mayor’s salary. The memorial fund process finished just before December 1920.

   Kieran’s new book Witness to Murder, The Inquest of Tomás MacCurtain is now available to purchase online (co-authored with John O’Mahony 2020, Irish Examiner/ www.examiner.ie)

 

Captions:

1046a. King Street, c.1910 (picture: Cork Public Museum)

1046b. MacCurtain Street, March 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1046b. MacCurtain Street, March 2020

Cork City Heritage Plan Call Out for Ideas, April 2020

The closing date for submissions for the new Heritage Plan of Cork City Council has been extended to Thursday 30th April.
 
Express your perspective on aspects of Cork City’s Heritage that you value and want to see understood, enhanced and celebrated.
 
What are the challenges to heritage and what solutions you think might work?
 
What ideas do you have for projects that you would like to see done in the city or that you or your group could carry out given the appropriate resources?
 
The information gathered will feed into Cork City Council’s Heritage Plan, which will guide the implementation of priority Heritage actions in Cork City over the next five years.
The closing date for comments is Thursday 30 April 2020
You can make a submission in the following way:
 
Use our online portal https://consult.corkcity.ie/
 
Email heritage@corkcity.ie
 
Or write to The Heritage Officer, Strategic and Economic Development Directorate, Cork City Council, City Hall, Cork.
The current Cork City Heritage Plan is available to download from https://www.corkcity.ie/en/council-services/services/arts-culture-heritage/heritage/heritage-plan.html
 
Douglas Street, Cork, April 2020

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 23 April 2020

1045a. Picture of Inquest Jury of Tomás MacCurtain, 1920

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 23 April 2020
Remembering 1920: The Inquest Jury Speaks

 

   At the conclusion of the Inquest of Tomás MacCurtain on 17 April 1920, Chairman Coroner James McCabe thanked the jury for the great care and attention they had given the various witness interviews. The 14-man jury comprised: William J Barry (foreman), Daniel Barrett, Richard Barrett, Michael J Grace, David Hennessy, Harry Loreton, Patrick McGrath, Melville McWilliams, Florence O’Donoghue, Peter O’Donovan, Jeremiah O’Callaghan, Thomas O’Shaughnessy, Tadgh O’Sullivan and Pádraig O’Sullivan. With the passing of time, the memory of several of the latter members has disappeared. Through searching through obituaries, I have constructed some info on five of the jury members.

William J Barry was the foreman and his obituary for 27 January 1953 in the Cork Examiner outlines that he was a secondary school teacher, William was a language teacher and taught at various schools in Cork City, as well as outside colleges. He became a Fianna Fáil member of Cork Corporation in 1945 and was Secretary to the Cork Fever Hospital Committee.

Patrick McGrath became an apprentice blacksmith and had his own smithy in Morgan Street in Cork City Centre. During 1920 he was an officer in the C Company, Second Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade and took part in various armed engagements in and around Cork City. When peace returned to Ireland, Patrick or Pa McGrath contented himself with following his trade of blacksmith. He also became interested in bodies such as the Old IRA Men’s Association and Fianna Fáil. He remained in the background for more than twenty years, known and loved by his own circle of friends, political and sporting acquaintances. His entry into the open political arena came through his service as Director of Elections in Cork City on two occasions in the 1940’s. In 1946 he won a seat through a bye-election to Dáil Éireann and retained his seat in the 1948, 1951 and in the 1954 General Election. He did not become a member of the Cork Corporation until 1950. Two years in 1952 later he was elected Lord Mayor and was Lord Mayor for four years.

Florence O’Donoghue was one of three brothers – Paddy and Jeremiah being the others – who in 1910, left their farm home at Killeen, Glenflesk, County Kerry and travelled to Cork City to seek their fortune. Their father was a car-man having established a road business between Glenflesk and the city. He transported butter by horse and cart over the mountains of Derrynasaggart into the city and brought home merchandise for the neighbouring farmers. Jeremiah passed away shortly after arriving in Cork. Paddy and Florence after apprenticeship established a drapery business in North Main Street under the name O’Donoghue Brothers. Sometime later they moved to Oliver Plunkett Street, then known as Old George’s Street and there opened another establishment.

  Just before 1914, Florence or Flor opened up a public house at 54 Thomas Davis Street in Blackpool. He still maintained an interest in the Oliver Plunkett Street business. Flor, now advanced in years, became interested in the Volunteer and Sinn Féin movement. Tomás MacCurtain appointed him Head of Communications of the Cork No.1 Brigade and later was prominent in the city in collecting money for the Dáil Éireann Loan schemes. Then came the murder of Lord Mayor Tomás Mac Curtain and Flor was summoned to sit on the jury. Afterwards Flor remained head of intelligence of the IRA during the Irish War on Independence.

Family notes left by Patrick O’Sullivan of Bantry and the Silver Key Public House in Ballinlough (thanks to his daughter Clare O’Sullivan Herlihy) outline that during the period from 1 April 1920 to 21 March 1921 he was operating with C Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade. He was picked to take part in the funeral of Tomás McCurtain from Blackpool to City Hall and was also a member of the bodyguard at the lying in state.  Patrick was a member of the Volunteer firing party who in full uniform, fired the volley over his grave. He became a member of the inquiry into the murder of Tomas McCurtain acting on orders from his superior officer.

   Patrick noted: “The official Jury summoned by the RIC were evidently afraid to put in an appearance when the Coroner called them together. Commandant Jerome O’Donovan then took the initiative and selected a republican Jury. The inquest lasted three weeks and during that time we were constantly under the observation of the RIC until we were known by sight to every constable in the City. Consequently, after the inquest I was a marked man and suffered the usual handicap of notoriety at that time. Namely, constant, surprise raids on my digs in Wallace’s Avenue, until finally I was forced to go on the run completely in May 1920. Maddened by their repeated failure to catch me they raided my digs at night and when I wasn’t there, they lay in ambush hoping I’d return. They raided my digs again and snatched my belongings and ruined two suitcases of clothes, which I didn’t have time to remove. They told my landlady that they would riddle me on sight”.

Tadgh O’Sullivan was reared on a farm north of the village of Barraduff, Co. Kerry and was passionate in the study of Irish being inspired by his national school teacher. He joined the IRB and found himself in Cork City. As a volunteer and officer of C Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade, he was constantly on duty and participated in many major operations in the City. He participated in the attack on Farran RIC Barracks and also in the Barrack Street Ambush on 9 October 1920. On 19 April 1921, whilst coming out of a house in Douglas Street he was intercepted by the Black and Tans and shot down in the street. There is a plaque on the wall of the house in 82 Douglas Street and a monument in Rathmore on which he is remembered along with others.

If anyone has information on the jury members, I have flagged that have no information surviving on them, please get in contact with me at 087 655 3389 or email mccarthy_kieran@yahoo.com.

 

Caption:

1045a. Picture of Inquest Jury of Tomás MacCurtain, 1920; Back row: Daniel Barrett, David Hennessy, Pádraig O’Sullivan, Patrick McGrath, Peter O’Donovan, Thomas F O’Shaughnessy; Sitting: Richard Barrett, Jeremiah O’Callaghan, William J Barry (foreman), Michael J Grace, Florence O’Donoghue, Melville McWilliams, Harry Loreton, and inset Tadgh O’Sullivan (source: Cork City Library).

Cllr McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project 2020

     Douglas Road and Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the tenth year of McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project. This year because of the Coronvirus all interested participants must make a model boat at home from recycled materials and submit a picture or a video of it to the competition organisers at kidsmodelboat2020@gmail.com. The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival Team who have cancelled nearly all of their festival this year bar their collaboration with Kieran on the Make a Model Boat Project. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘At Home by the Lee’, which is open to interpretation. The model must be creative though and must be able to float. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. For further information, please see the events section at www.corkharbourfestival.com. The closing date for participants is 30 April 2020.

     Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “I am encouraging creation, innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits for all of us to develop. I am going to miss this year seeing the models float at The Lough. The Make a Model Boat Project is part of a suite of community projects I have organised and personally invested in over the years– the others include the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project with Cork City Council, the Community local history walks, local history publications, McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition and Cork City Musical Society. Many of the latter projects were have gone digital or soon will go digital for this year. I look forward to the digital challenge”.

Some pictures from last year:

McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019

McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019

Cllr Kieran McCarthy highlights the key role of Regions and cities in helping defeat the Covid19 during a debate with Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety

 Press Release:

   The European Committee of the Regions Conference of Presidents highlighted the key role of Regions and Cities in implementing measures to defeat the Corona Virus.  The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides spoke to members about the measures taken by the European Commission including the coordination of efforts and the solidarity between our regions. 
 
   A subsequent debate also took place with Jan Olbrycht, European Parliament Co-rapporteur on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 where Cllr McCarthy spoke of the future budget to also be more accessible to Regions and Cities and called for specific actions to help SME’s with specific measures for the tourism sector.
 
Cllr McCarthy also welcomed a strong joint statement by the Conference of Presidents, as follows:
 
COVID-19: We call for an ambitious recovery plan for a sustainable, resilient and socially-just Europe, which leaves no places and no people behind
 
   As mayors, presidents of regions and local and regional councilors we are on the front-line in the fight against the Coronavirus. The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 shock requires immediate measures and a bold social and economic recovery plan for the European Union, built on solidarity, sustainability, resilience and social justice, in line with the European Green Deal and digital transition agenda. Together with all levels of government across Europe, we commit to join efforts to fight the pandemic, protect our people and contribute to the economic, social and financial recovery.
 
   In these difficult times, our priority as regional and local authorities is to continue providing healthcare and public services to our communities, making sure that no one is left behind. We are doing all possible efforts to support the local economy, save jobs, create new employment opportunities, help all companies to continue their businesses and provide quality education. Our work on the ground complements the efforts put in place at EU and Member States level, but more needs to be done, particularly regarding solidarity beyond borders.
 
   Therefore, it is key for us to create an EU Health Emergency Mechanism as a synergy tool to integrate and streamline EU, national and regional/local resources in order to fund the purchase of medical equipment and facilities, deepening the efforts the European Commission has already done on the matter. The EU must also finance a regional health and hospitals programme to assess, refit and monitor regional health systems’ capacity on the ground and invest to ensure healthcare sustainability. A new EU Pandemic Coordination Centre should directly involve regions and cities. A more efficient cross-border coordination must be put in place for providing health services to citizens. In the future, the EU, Member States as well as cities and regions should assess ways of rebalancing their health competences in line with the subsidiarity principle.
 
   To compensate income tax losses, EU mechanisms to allow Local and Regional Governments to have direct access to funding scheme should be developed. Regional and local communities must be supported to reengineer public services to make them digital, sustainable and resilient. The EU should provide new funds and simplified procedures for sustainable local infrastructure, and support SMEs via a post-pandemic strand in the InvestEU Fund. A dedicated aid programme must also be set for small enterprises who suffered disruptions in the food supply chain. A rural inclusion plan should be developed to boost innovation, entrepreneurship and connectivity in rural areas.
 
   We call for an ambitious recovery plan for a sustainable, resilient and social Europe that builds a new circular and inclusive economy, activating all existing tools to ensure financial solidarity. One that develops new commonly-funded financial instruments and sources of income which have sufficient size and long maturity to be fully efficient. At the centre of such a recovery plan should be an EU Recovery Fund, connected to the EU budget and based on European debt insurance. The Fund, which would have to amount to approximately € 500 billion, should allow for future-oriented investment. The new EU budget must be the backbone for the recovery and must be considerably increased to be a true instrument of solidarity and cohesion. Only an ambitious Multi-Annual Financial Framework, pushing EU budget investments to unprecedented levels, would be up to the challenge of a fair and sustainable recovery.
 
    A way to unlock the necessary resources, and guarantee leverage and mobilization of further public and private investment, is to push the investment capacity of the EU budget by lifting, at least temporarily, the ceiling of the EU budget beyond the current 1.2% EU GNI, and by considering new own resources. The EU budget needs indeed strengthening to make additional investments and guarantees possible, to support national governments, regions and cities to restart the economy and guarantee a just transition. A strengthened cohesion policy aimed at reducing inequalities and improving resilience of Members States, regions, cities and villages across Europe is key. 
 
   All new measures, and the next Multiannual Financial framework, must take into account the concrete experience of regional and local authorities and support them to provide social care and all essential services for its citizens. One third of public service expenditure, and two-thirds of all public investment in the EU is carried out by local and regional authorities: they will be indispensable in rebuilding our economies, implementing the ecological transition and social innovation, so that no places and no people are left behind and they must be at the forefront of the formulation and implementation of the recovery plans.
 
 
* The Conference of Presidents of the European Committee of the Regions:

 

Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions and Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, Greece

Vasco Ilídio Alves Cordeiro, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions and President of the Regional Government of the Azores, Portugal

Olgierd Geblewicz, President of the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions and President of the Westpomeranian Region, Poland

Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions and Mayor of Coulaines, France

François Decoster, President of the Renew Europe Group in the European Committee of the Regions and Mayor of St Omer, France

Władysław Ortyl, President of the ECR Group in the European Committee of the Regions and President of the Podkarpackie Region, Poland

Kieran McCarthy, President of the EA Group in the European Committee of the Regions and Member of the Cork City Council, Ireland

Satu Haapanen, co-President of the Greens Group in the European Committee of the Regions and City Councillor of Oulu, Finland

 

McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat 2020 (At Home Edition)

It’s the tenth edition and is usually held at the Lough but this year is different!
The Theme is “At Home by the Lee”
#athomebythelee #creativityathome
Make a model boat at home from recycled materials with the theme At Home by The Lee.
There are three age categories 4-8yrs, 9-12yrs and 13-16yrs.
There are prizes for best models and the project is free to enter.
The closing date for participants is April 30th 2020.
You will need to send a picture or video of your creation to kidsmodelboat2020@gmail.com
In association with Cork Harbour Festival & Ocean to City
More event details here:
http://corkharbourfestival.com/events/
Some pictures of boats from last year attached:

McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019 McCarthy's Make a Model Boat entry 2019

Witness to Murder Publication Launched, April 2020

Cover of Witness to Murder by Kieran McCarthy and John O'Mahony

 

    The new book ‘Witness to Murder’ by Cllr Kieran McCarthy and John O’Mahony, and published by the Irish Examiner, has been launched. It is a transcript of the Tomás MacCurtain inquest one hundred years ago following his murder on 20 March 1920.

    The last time Tomás’ inquest in full was published was in the Cork Examiner between 23 March 1920 and 18 April 1920. Despite the ordeal and daily fallout, over time the fourteen hearing sessions have not overly been revisited by scholars of the Irish War of Independence.

   The verdict has been highlighted on many occasions by many historians, but the information of the inquest has never been overly written about or the narratives within it championed. So, this book brings together the inquest data into one source. It is about giving a voice to the solicitors, jury and those interviewed

    The transcript of the newspaper text will help scholars of the War of Independence in their research to mine down further into the complexities of the time but also to keep the human dimension at the heart of new emerging research. This transcript in particular is inspired by the epic ‘Atlas of the Irish Revolution’ and the ongoing digitisation of State files and interviews of veterans of the War of Independence held at the Bureau of Military History in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin– both sources, the Atlas and the Bureau try to bring a holistic perspective to what narratives, sources and memories have survived.

   Cllr McCarthy notes: “Tomás MacCurtaim (1884-1920) is truly a colossus in Cork history who has attracted many historians, enthusiasts and champions to tell his story. His story is peppered with several aspects – amongst those that shine out are his love of his family, city, country, language comradeship, and hope – all mixed with pure tragedy. In many ways, the murder of Tomás MacCurtain on the night of 19-20 March 1920 changed the future public and collective memory narrative of Cork history forever”.

   Cllr McCarthy continued; “One hundred years on after his murder, the memory of Tomás and his life and times and works are a central part of the history of politics in the city and the city and region’s role within the Irish War of Independence”.

At this moment in time Witness to Murder by Kieran McCarthy and John O’Mahony is only available to buy online at www.examiner.ie.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 16 April 2020

 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,
Cork Independent, 16 April 2020
Remembering 1920: Coroner James McCabe Speaks

 

    One hundred years ago, the Tomás MacCurtain inquest was the most significant inquiry of its kind ever held in Cork City. The verdict, which was given on 17 April 1920, was the most startling ever pronounced by a coroner’s jury in the British Empire.

   The inquest comprised 14 sessions from 23 March to 17 April 1920. Coroner James J McCabe read out the verdict was as follows: “We find that the late Alderman Tomás MacCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork, died from shock and haemorrhage, caused by bullet wounds, and that he was wilfully murdered under circumstances of the most callous brutality, and that the murder was organised and carried out by the Royal Irish Constabulary, officially directed by the British Government, and we return a verdict of wilful murder against David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England; Lord French, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Ian Macpherson, late Chief Secretary of Ireland; Acting Inspector-General Smith, of the Royal Irish Constabulary; Divisional Inspector Clayton, of the Royal Irish Constabulary; District Inspector Swanzy, and some unknown members of the Royal Irish Constabulary. We strongly condemn the system at present in vogue of carrying out raids at unreasonable hours. We tender to Mrs MacCurtain and family our sincerest sympathy in their terrible bereavement; this sympathy we extend to the citizens of Cork in the loss they have sustained by the death of one so eminently capable of directing their civic administration

   Apart from the verdict there are many voices in the 70,000 word transcript of the inquest, which I recently compiled with news editor John O’Mahony and the Irish Examiner to create the publication Witness to Murder. The voices of the 90 interviewees are a very important part of the inquest but so also was the work of the chair Coroner James McCabe and his jury. Whilst researching the proceedings of the 14 sessions of the inquest you can read how Coroner James McCabe tried to remain calm remain and thorough, in what was a raw and emotional time inside the inquest’s location at the old City Hall and outside in a city, which was unstable with tit for tat attacks by the IRA and the growing swathes of Black and Tan auxiliaries in the city.

   James McCabe handled all interviews of witnesses, solicitors and police officials alike with calmness, dignity and courtesy. He was always helpful and courteous to the journalists present too and was held in high esteem amongst its members. In his final conclusions at the inquest James McCabe reminded the jury that they had heard from the witnesses what occurred in the house on the night of the 19 March when the Lord Mayor was murdered. They also had the depositions of witnesses as to what occurred in the streets on that night, both at Blackpool, King Street and St Patrick’s Hill, and also as to what was stated to have occurred on the night of 20 March. The Royal Irish Constabulary authorities had put in a large number of depositions on the policing arrangements in the various police barracks, the patrols of the men of those barracks and of their weapons and motor cars and other movements. The police authorities had also put in books and documents connected with such matters. All those depositions were available for the members of the jury, if they desired to refresh their memories on any portion of the evidence given at the inquest.

  The background of James McCabe is also as interesting as his involvement in the Tomás MacCurtain Inquest. His obituary in the Cork Examiner on 17 September 1949 details that James was born in Midleton, County Cork, in 1862. He received his education in his native town and at an early age became clerk to the firm of Messrs Blake, solicitors, Cork, where he showed a deep interest in his work and soon became versed in the principles of law.

   James took up studies in Law at Queens College, Cork, where he was popular amongst his professors and fellow students alike. A prominent member of the Cork Catholic Young Men’s Society, he participated in the Amateur Theatrical Association attached to the Society at the time. He ended up dividing his time between reading for his legal examinations and appearing in dramatic productions by the Young Men’s Society. In both he was most successful, being a most admired figure on the stage, whilst he completed his legal studies with distinction and became a solicitor in 1897.  He soon became one of leading legal figures in the city and enjoyed a large practice which he kept right through his career.

    James was also deeply interested in the welfare of his country and a Nationalist and Home Rule supporter. On behalf of John Redmond, he addressed a large number of meetings during the campaigns in the city with his speeches being known for being thoughtful, forceful and sometimes quietly humorous. He acted as election agent for many Redmondite candidates, including Mr Augustine Roche, when he successfully contested local elections in Cork and became Lord Mayor of Cork in 1904.

    In 1911 James McCabe was appointed City Coroner and as can be seen across the southern regional newspapers oversaw a myriad of inquests in Cork City during the Irish War of Independence and during the Irish Civil War. Despite his political leanings, he remained politically impartial in his work. In 1934, he was elected to the office of president of the Southern Law Association – an office which he held with distinction. He lived at Bellevue Terrace, Tivoli for many years. After his death in 1949, his son Joseph McCabe succeeded him as City Coroner for over two decades.

 

Caption:

1044a. Bust of Tomás MacCurtain by Cork sculptor Seamus Murphy, on display in Cork Public Museum (picture: Kieran McCarthy).