Monthly Archives: January 2021

Cllr McCarthy: Closing date approaches for Public Submissions on Old Railway Line Walk Scheme at Rochestown, 27 January 2021

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy wishes to remind the public that consultation on the Passage Railway Greenway Project by Cork City Council Scheme is open till Friday 5 February. The Council is working to improve this popular greenway amenity as a walking route and dedicated cycling connecting Cork City and Cork Harbour. They welcome your comments and invite your views on your experiences as a local resident living next to the existing greenway, your experiences as a user of the existing greenway, your opinion on the route and car park options being considered, and any other information you would like them to consider when developing this project. Public feedback will be considered as part of the project development process.

 Cllr McCarthy noted: “In particular, the proposed scheme focuses on the intersection of the walkway with the Rochestown Road and how that should be addressed. There has always been a series of tensions at this spot – as there is a carparking overflow problem, lack of lighting, questions of access along the waterfront and all the resident and general public concerns that go with it, as well as ecological interference concerns. These are all countered by the health/wellbeing narrative and the need to improve access and connectivity with the areas around the greenway. It is very welcome to see the public engagement so far on the consultation portal”.  

The plans can be viewed on the Cork City Council Consultation Portal. Submissions can also be made through the latter portal, ( where more details can be viewed on the proposals, or alternatively submissions can be sent in writing to Senior Executive Engineer, Infrastructure Development Directorate, Anglesea Street, Cork. Closing date for all submissions is on or before 5pm on Friday 5 February.

READ more here:

Passage Railway Greenway Improvement Scheme- Phase II | Cork City Council’s Online Consultation Portal

Cllr McCarthy: Regeneration for The Marina Walkway Proposed, 28 January 2021

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the new regeneration proposals being drawn up for The Marina’s walkway. These will be presented to central government by City Hall engineers later this year. They include proposals for a complete replacement of the existing footpath and carriageway with the exact layout to be decided through the design process and public consultation. The project will also seek funding for public lighting, some repairs to the quay wall and some general improvement to the public realm including seating, bike parking etc.

Ultimately, the scope of works wishes to create a high quality public amenity space for pedestrians and cyclists with a car free zone between Pairc Uí Chaoimh and Church Avenue.

The Infrastructure Development Directorate of Cork city Council will be publishing a notice seeking tenders from suitably qualified and experienced Design Consultants for the upgrade and enhancement of the Marina (Centre Park Road to Blackrock Village).

Cllr McCarthy noted”: Discussions are underway with funding agencies regarding the financing of the project. City Hall is aiming to appoint the design team in March/April 2021. By the end of 2021 they aim to present a recommended layout to Council members with construction to follow in early 2022 subject to the necessary consents and funding approval”.

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

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 28 January 2021

1084a. Picture of Mary Bowles from non-recorded photographer, January 1921 (source: Cork Examiner).
1084a. Picture of Mary Bowles from non-recorded photographer, January 1921 (source: Cork Examiner).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 28 January 2021

Journeys to a Truce: Clogheen and the tale of Mary Bowles

P J Murphy, Company Commander with Fianna Éireann, in his witness statement for the Bureau of Military History (WS869) recalls that in January 1921 owing to the activity of police and Black and Tans, a number of C-Company of Cork IRA Brigade No.1 could not sleep at home. They were accommodated in the former Cork Lunatic Asylum on the Lee Road. The place was raided several times. A number of arrests were made, including one named Tadhg Barry who was later shot dead on 15 November 1921 by a sentry in Ballykinlar Camp).

P J Murphy’s hideouts with others comprised a number of friendly houses and barns in the Clogheen district (three miles from Blarney). There they made sure that they had sentries posted throughout the night. Flying Columns were now being organised and all necessary arrangements were being made to make sure arms and equipment were protected and in serviceable order. A number of visits had been made by C-Company members to their arms dumps. However, they also had also to contend with informers, who led crown forces to Clogheen.

On 13 January 1921, P J Murphy recalls that the C-Company party included Liam Deasy, Dan Donovan (Sandow), Tom Crofts, Pa Murray, J Dennehy, Mick Bowles, Paddy Connors, Tom Dennehy, Dan Murphy, Mick O’Sullivan, Dan Crowley, Jeremiah Mullane and Jeremiah Deasy.

P J Murphy did the last sentinel duty from 5am to 7am. When they moved out in the morning – some of them to the city to their jobs – P J remained behind with Mick Bowles and Paddy Connors and brought the guns and grenades up to the family home of the Bowles family nearby. At this time, they had the Lewis gun, which was used in the Parnell Bridge Ambush in early January 1921 and had brought it out to show it to Liam Deasy and some of the Brigade officers. They were proud of its possession.

P J Murphy describes that about 11am the place was surrounded by military and Black and Tans. The few of P J’s comrades who remained behind were in a nearby house having a cup of tea when they heard strange voices in the adjoining fields. They picked up their equipment and made their escape. The Lewis gun was lying near a fence covered with a ground sheet. Sixteen-year old Mary Bowles tried to get the gun to a place of safety. She was spotted by the Tans and arrested. Over the ensuing 24 hours, a great deal of the arms equipment, including the Lewis gun, was captured. The arms dump was discovered complete with rifles, revolvers, ammunition, gelignite, gas masks, periscopes, megaphones, and German automatics. Mary was arrested with four men and brought to the Bridewell in the city.

Shandon History Group’s book Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times records that at the Bridewell Mary Bowles was found to be wearing under her blouse steel body armour strapped to her shoulders and fastened at the sides. She was also in possession of a service revolver and an automatic pistol, both loaded in every chamber.  Senior Cork Cumann na mBan members such as Sorcha Duggan, May Conlon and Lil Conlon approached Bishop Cohalan requesting his intervention in seeking her release but were not successful. Mary was moved to the Women’s Prison in Sunday’s Well. On 25 February 1921, she was sentenced to Roman Catholic Reformatory School. Shandon History Group have suggested that the Good Shepherd Convent may have been her detention school.

Meanwhile the capture of the arms led the Black and Tans to become more frequent visitors to the Clogheen area, with the result that C-Company members had to go further afield for sleeping quarters. P J Murphy details that they moved to the Carrignavar area where Company Officers Jerry Dennehy, Mick Bowles, Seán MacSwiney (Terence’s brother) and five or six more were arrested one night in a local house. They were captured with arms and each were sentenced varying from 10 to 15 years imprisonment. The guns were not actually captured in their possession. They were found in another part of the house.

P J Murphy highlights that curfew in Cork City in early 1921 was from 5pm to 3am on Saturdays and Sundays. Martial law was enforced and anyone caught with arms was executed. The military patrolled the streets during curfew hours, and when they withdrew the Black and Tans came out and carried on with their wholesale murders, burnings, and lootings. These activities had a discouraging effect on some of the Volunteers. They feared repercussions on their families and returned their arms to the Unit Quarter Master. P J Murphy describes: “Physically those sleeping out were in a bad way. Scabies was rampant and those who returned home infected their families. Many others contracted TB. People who were friendly to us became afraid that they would be caught harbouring the IRA. No place was safe for more than a few nights”.

As the British campaign intensified it was met by increased activity by the Volunteers. Trees were felled, trenches dug across the roads, bridges blown up and everything done to hamper their communication.


1084a. Picture of Mary Bowles from non-recorded photographer, January 1921 (source: Cork Examiner).

1084b. Commemorative plaque in Clogheen, Cork to Mary Bowles, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1084b. Commemorative plaque in Clogheen, Cork to Mary Bowles, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Open call for Cllr McCarthy’s Community Ward Funds 2021

Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Blackrock, Mahon, Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Douglas, Donnybrook, Maryborough, Rochestown, Mount Oval and Moneygourney with an interest in sharing in his 2021 ward funding to apply for his funds.

A total of e.11,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s Cork City Council ward funds. Due to the annual take-up of the ward funds, in general grants can vary from e.100 to e.300 to groups. Application should be made via letter (Richmond Villa, Douglas Road) or email to Kieran at by Friday 5 February 2021. This email should give the name of the organisation, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact telephone number, details of the organisation, and what will the ward grant will be used for.

Ward funds will be prioritised to community groups based in the south east ward or the south east local electoral area of Cork City who build community capacity, educate, build civic awareness and projects, which connect the young and old. Cllr McCarthy especially welcomes proposals where the funding will be used to run a community event (as per Covid guidelines), digital included, and that benefit the wider community. In addition, he is seeking to fund projects that give people new skill sets. That could include anything from part funding of coaching training for sports projects to groups interested in bringing forward enterprise programmes to encourage entrepreneurship to the ward.

Cllr McCarthy is also particularly interested in funding community projects such as community environment projects such as tree planting and projects that that promote the rich history and environment within the south east of Cork City.

Cllr McCarthy: Work undertaken to stabilise iconic sign at busy Cork roundabout, 26 January 2021

26 January 2021, “Independent Cork City councillor Kieran McCarthy said a member of the public contacted him in December last year, with concerns that the iconic sign at the Fingerpost roundabout in Douglas had collapsed slightly on the mound it stands on”, Work undertaken to stabilise iconic sign at busy Cork roundabout,
Work undertaken to stabilise iconic sign at busy Cork roundabout (

Cllr McCarthy: Mural paying tribute to Cork Hospital staff vandalised, 22 January 2021

22 January 2021, “Local Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy was disappointed with the recent acts of vandalism; “I am disappointed. It is a pity. We have earmarked various commissions in recent months throughout the city, but this one seems to have particularly annoyed somebody who lives in the local area. There is no reference to Covid, it is actually a thank you message to the workers across the road”, Mural paying tribute to Cork hospital staff vandalised, Mural paying tribute to Cork hospital staff vandalised (

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 21 January 2021

1083a. Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Donal Óg O'Callaghan, 1920 (source: Cork Public Museum).
1083a. Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920 (source: Cork Public Museum).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 21 January 2021

Journeys to a Truce: Donal Óg Presents at Washington D.C.

Following the Burning of Cork and the ramping up of the rounding up of IRA men by crown forces, all active members had to be careful. Lord Mayor of Cork, Donal Óg O’Callaghan had to be extra careful.

From late August 1920, Donal had empowered Cork Brigade IRA member Seamus Fitzgerald in the collection of statistics dealing with raids, imprisonments and atrocities by crown forces. Seamus in his Bureau of Military History witness statement (WS1737) oversaw Dáil Éireann publicity for Cork City and County and acted in conjunction with the Cork Brigade intelligence on a full-time basis on this work. He took up duties in a room on the other side of the corridor to the Lord Mayor’s room where a small contingent of supporting IRA staff were already in place.

Seamus’ duties meant that he collected sworn depositions covering every important phase of enemy activity and prepare them for publication. He studied carefully the Blue Books and other books of Britain and the other war countries covering the First World War One period. Hence his reports and statements became formal and official in their look.

In early January 1921, much of Seamus’s research was taken by Donal Óg O’Callaghan to America, where he placed it before the American Commission of Conditions in Ireland and where it was subsequently published in the report of that body. A great and insightful biography has been recently been published by Cork City Council and written by Dr Aodh Quinlivan who has not only shines a light on a forgotten Lord Mayor such as Donal Óg but also how Cork’s War of Independence story was brought onto the international political stage.

One of Aodh’s excellent research chapters focuses on the aftermath of the Burning of Cork. Donal received deaths threats for being a prominent political member involved in the IRA and as a result was a fugitive moving from house to house. Donal departed Cork as a stowaway on the steamship West Cannon, a cargo ship, with Terence MacSwiney’s brother, Peter. For several days on board, they both hid. When discoveredboth were put to work on board the ship. On reaching New York, Irish American figures and societies fought successfully against their deportation claiming they were political refugees.

The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland was the brainchild of the editorial team at New York’s Nation newspaper. The Commission was established in September 1920 and set up very quickly to collect information for the American public about the conditions in Ireland, which as the Commission noted “increasingly menace the friendly relations that have existed between Great Britain and the United States”. The Nation newspaper was and still is a current affairs publication. In 1920, the newspaper’s owner was Oswald Garrison Villard who was journalist, a civil rights activist, and a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. Villard was also founder of the American Anti-Imperialist League, favouring independence for territories taken in the Spanish-American War. He was a strong advocate of small nations (such as Ireland) and their civil liberties under the rule of law with a focus on economic freedom.

In order to secure an impartial and distinguished body for the American Commission’s investigation, every United States Senator, every State governor, every member of the higher clergy of the Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish churches, and the leading educators, journalists, editors, mayors, and publicists of the country were extended an invitation to become members of this committee. Over 150 individuals accepted representing a broad diversity of ethnic groups and political and religious beliefs, and from 36 states of the USA.

The Commission immediately got into communication with the British Embassy in Washington and with Eamon de Valera in Ireland. They also cabled to Ireland’s cities and towns to secure witnesses who might appear before the Commission and give testimony. De Valera had been in New York in January 1920 and made a huge impression on not only Irish America journalists but also those who had an interest in civil rights such as The Nation newspaper. There was also ongoing fundraising across the USA for the establishment of the Dáil Éireann concept.

The report of the American Commission on Conditions in Ireland can be viewed online – an epic 1,130 pages – containing the witness statements from six hearing sessions and up to 14 days of interviews from 18 November 1920 to 21 January 1921. Participants were mainly Irish citizens with some British and American citizens with a direct link to the War of Independence also giving testimony. The opening session of the Commission came three weeks after the hunger-strike death of Cork’s Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney. Terence had generated significant international headlines and motivated the Commission to move at pace collecting its witness statements.

 Terence’s widow Muriel and his sister Mary testified to the Commission at the second hearing on 8 and 9 December 1920. They were shortly followed after by the testimonies at the fourth hearing by Tomás MacCurtain’s sisters in law, Suzanna Walsh and Anna Walsh on 22 and 23 December 1920.

At the fifth hearing, Lord Mayor O’Callaghan gave testimony. He spoke for 11 hours across Thursday 13 January and Friday 14 January 1921 at the Hotel LaFayette, Washington D.C. In a wide ranging and much detailed testimony, Donal drew on the research of his team back in Cork. He proceeded systematically through a multitude of topics from harassment of his public duties, being on the run, to raids and destruction of property, to the murder of Tomás MacCurtain, the Republican Courts, suppression of the press, attacks on women, to the Burning of Cork, to reading the witness statements from residents of Cork.

            Such was Donal’s detailed description, for weeks after he was wanted for a multitude of speaking engagements with sympatisers of the Irish cause for freedom. Donal spent the next eight months in America. The Commission’s report ultimately got stuck in the American political quagmire in the spring and early summer of 1921 by which time talks of a truce between British and Irish sides War of Independence had already begun.

Check out Aodh Quinlivan’s new book, Forgotten Lord Mayor, Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920-1924, published by Cork City Council, when Cork bookshops re-open.


1083a. Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920 (source: Cork Public Museum).

Cllr McCarthy: Cork’s Parliament Bridge Needs a Regeneration Project, 13 January 2021

13 January 2021, “In a response to a question posed by Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy, it was confirmed that Cork City Council is in the process of appointing a contractor and that it is anticipated that repair works for Parliament will be completed by mid to late February”, Repair works to be carried out at busy Cork bridge following partial collapse,Repair works to be carried out at busy Cork bridge following partial collapse (

Parliament Bridge, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Parliament Bridge, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Cllr McCarthy: Councillors to seek answers on collapsed Cork city wall, 13 January 2021

13 January 2021, “Cllr Kieran McCarthy who has a keen interest in history and archaeology gave a brief history of the buildings in that area of the city. ‘It is the site of an old fort called Cat Fort from the 1690s. Cat Fort was an additional barracks to Elizabeth Fort which was created around 1698. It is said that it began its life as some sort of ditch on a waterless moat on that side of Elizabeth Fort”, Councillors to seek answers on collapsed Cork city wall, Councillors to seek answers on collapsed Cork city wall (

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 14 January 2021

1082a. Fr Dominic O'Connor, c.1920 (source: Irish Capuchin Provincial Archive)
1082a. Fr Dominic O’Connor, c.1920 (source: Irish Capuchin Provincial Archive)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 14 January 2021

Journeys to a Truce, 1921: The Trial of Fr Dominic

Following the sad events of Terence MacSwiney’s funeral on 31 October 1920, the Lord Mayor’s Capuchin chaplain Fr Dominic O’Connor received death threats in Cork. For his own safety, the Father Provincial sent him to Kilkenny and then to Dublin. Fr Dominic arrived in Dublin in November 1920. He rarely left the house and during part of that time he also became unwell.

On 16 December 1920, a party of military raided the Capuchin Franciscan Monastery situated at Church street, Dublin. Fr Aloysius in his Bureau of Military History witness statement (WS207) records that the raid on the Monastery took place about 10.20pm on the night of 16 December and continued till close on 4am on 17 December. There were circa 300 soldiers engaged in the operation and some sixty fully armed men occupied the Monastery. The soldiers got over the railings, gates and walls — armoured cars and care with powerful searchlights patrolled the streets adjoining. All apartments of the house were minutely searched. The church, confessionals and sacristy were all visited and presses and desks within opened. Books, documents, miscellaneous and private letters were thoroughly examined. Beds and even waste paper baskets were examined.

Fathers Dominic and Albert were placed under arrest and given about a half an hour to prepare, being under guard during that time. At about 1.30am they were taken to Dublin Castle under armed escort. Father Albert was released after a few hours and was home by 4.30am but Father Dominic was detained. On 23 December he was removed after curfew hours in an armoured car to the Old Prison, Kilmainham.

Father Dominic remained in solitary confinement. Fr Aloysius succeeded in obtaining permits to visit him and to converse with him daily in presence of a guard. He arranged to provide him, during the period of his detention prior to his trial, with some extras in food and with necessary clothing. But Fr Dominic had to conform to the ordinary prison diet and to sleep on the floor with merely a small mattress under him. He was to be kept within his cell under lock and key except for an hour’s exercise, morning and evening. After the first week he could celebrate Mass nearly every morning.

 No notification of the charge was made until late on Wednesday 5 January 1921. Fr Dominic had no opportunity of consulting a solicitor until 6 January whilst the court martial was fixed for 10.30am on 8 January. The lack of a forthcoming charge and that he was a priest meant that the detention of Fr Dominic became a large media story, not alone in Ireland, but in many other countries.

On 9 January 1921, Fr Dominic, was charged before a Field General Court Martial at Kilmainham Courthouse.  The Cork Examiner of the time, through their reporter, records that at Kilmainham Court, though the proceedings were open to the public, the attendance was of limited nature. In the precincts of the building several soldiers were on duty, and every person seeking admission to the courthouse was carefully searched. Prior to the opening of the court Fr Dominic was detained by four armed soldiers in a passage leading to the court.

For security reasons, when the court assembled the press representatives and public were requested to retire and the order was carried out. Fr Dominic was then accompanied by his solicitor as they entered the space. After a short time, the press and public were again admitted, and the proceedings commenced. The Court consisted of three military officers assisted by a Judge Advocate or legal adviser.

Fr Dominic was charged on two counts – that he was making a letter statement in a house in Brixton London “to cause disaffection to his Majesty” and secondly that whilst in Dublin he had in possession a “memorandum tablet” or notebook containing statements – the publication of which would be likely “to cause disaffection to his Majesty”.

Fr Dominic’s solicitor Mr O’Connor noted that he was instructed not to appear on Fr Dominic’s behalf. Fr Dominic denied the jurisdiction of the court to try him. At that stage Mr O’Connor then left the court room.

Father Dominic then took the stand and refused to recognise the Court, giving as his reasons that he was an ecclesiastic who could only be tried by an ecclesiastical court, and as an Irishman he objected to the court not being constituted “by the will of his fellow-countrymen”. He critiqued that in the first charge it was only random words on a letter the prosecution had and in the second charge, the notebook held the statements of Terence MacSwiney who was in the later stages of his 74-day Hunger Strike. The trial was detailed and still ended with the charges against Fr Dominic.

At the conclusion of the evidence the Court closed, and Father Dominic remained in custody awaiting the proclamation of his sentence, which was not announced to him until 29 January. The sentence was five years’ penal servitude, with two remitted, i.e. three years’ penal servitude.

On 31 January 1921 Father Dominic was led handcuffed under military escort to a boat at Dún Laoghaire and in the same manner from Holyhead to London. In the prison at Wormwood Scrubbs his clerical attire was taken from him and he was garbed in ordinary criminal convict clothes, and handcuffed. He was taken to Parkhurst Convict Prison in the Isle of Wight. There he was bound by the conventional convict regime regarding dress, diet, and labour (though his hair and beard were not cut).

Fr Dominic was released in a general amnesty in January 1922 pursuant to ratification by Dáil Éireann of the Anglo–Irish treaty.

Missed one of the 51 columns last year, check out the indices at Kieran’s heritage website,


1082a. Fr Dominic O’Connor, c.1920 (source: Irish Capuchin Provincial Archive)