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
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, (https://consult.corkcity.ie) 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.
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.
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
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”.
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
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).
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
email@example.com 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.
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 (echolive.ie)
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 (echolive.ie)
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
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 theNational 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
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.
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).
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 (echolive.ie)
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
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 Martialat 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
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
Missed one of the 51 columns
last year, check out the indices at Kieran’s heritage website,