Monthly Archives: March 2021

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 25 March 2021

1092a.  Pat O'Regan, Vice Chair of Clogheen/ Kerry Pike Community Association, with the Ballycannon Monument, March 2021 (picture: Jim O’Mahony).
1092a.  Pat O’Regan, Vice Chair of Clogheen/ Kerry Pike Community Association, with the Ballycannon Monument, March 2021 (picture: Jim O’Mahony).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 25 March 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Ballycannon Boys

At Ballycannon, Kerrypike lies a memorial (erected in 1945) to the memory of six young IRA men that were killed near the spot on 23 March 1921. Farmer Cornelius O’Keeffe was witness to the killing of the six men. His detailed affidavit appears in the appendix of the witness statement in the Bureau of Military History of Daniel Healy, C Company, 1st Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1.

Aged 21, Cornelius O’Keeffe had a farm of 105 acres, which was situated on the northern side or the high road leading from Cork to Blarney and was approached by a laneway leading from main road. The farmhouse consisted of a kitchen, parlour and four bedrooms. There were also extensive out-offices, barns, and sheds for cattle, also stables. It was one of the safe houses for the IRA.

In his affidavit, Cornelius remembers that on the night of Tuesday, 22 March 1921 about 11.30pm on that night there was a knock at his door after they had all gone to bed. He asked, “Who is there?” and a voice replied, “There are a couple or us [volunteers] going to sleep down in the stables; give us a call at seven in the morning”. He said “alright” and went to sleep.

About 4am, there was a thundering knock at his door. He leapt out of bed and looked out through the window. He saw the police outside. Before he could say anything, they roared at him to open the door. Cornelius relates:

“Just as I rushed downstairs to open the door it was burst open by the police and they said to me “Why the bloody hell didn’t you open the door”? I explained that the delay was due to the lamp not 1ighting. They then asked me if I had any man in the house. I said there was no win there only myself. They asked me if there were any men in the out-house. I said, ‘I can’t tell but the doors are unlocked’. They ordered me back to bed and searched the buds and the other rooms in the house. They then went outside, and I heard then search the out-houses”.

Cornelius was looking out the window and suddenly saw all the police rush up to where the lads or volunteers were sleeping. He went to bed and ten minutes later the police came in and took him out into the yard. There they charged him with harbouring rebels, which he denied. They then took him about 100 yards away from the out-house and gave him in charge to a sergeant and constable of the Royal Irish Constabulary.

One of the Black and Tans present came up to where he was standing with the other policemen and told them that they could find no arms in the house. He was then asked him to tell them where the arms were, and he said he did not know. As they were speaking to him Cornelius heard one of the boys roaring as if he was being tortured;

“I then saw one of the boys being pushed across the field. It was still somewhat dark, and he was too far away to distinguish who it was. The Black and Tan then returned and said, ‘he is showing where the arms are’. They then carried the same boy over to the ditch and brought him back to the stables again. A few minutes after I heard a shot. Then at intervals there were two or three shots and then a volley of shots”.

Cornelius asked the policeman what the shooting was about, and he replied they were only blank cartridges. A report then came up from the other body of police that some of the lads had escaped and to watch out for them. The police with him then prepared to shoot in case anyone would attempt to escape. There were then volleys fired where the boys were.

Cornelius then knelt and said his prayers as he thought his turn would be next. The police near him began shouting to the others not to shoot in their direction for fear they would be shot themselves. Cornelius was sent up for then and taken down to where the boys were. There two lines of Black and Tans in front of the stables so that he could not see who was there. As he was being taken down the field where the shooting took place, he saw two of the boys stretched out, on the grass. He was then taken over the road and down to Kennedy’s public-house at the nearby crossroads.

“There were five police with me – three old RIC and two Black and Tans. After some conversation, in which they accused me of keeping arms on my premises which I denied, I was brought back to Flaherty’s gate and I then saw five bodies being removed from my farm. They were all covered up in blankets. These bodies were placed in a lorry. They then brought out the sixth of the boys who was then alive and as they were throwing him into the lorry he said “Oh, my leg”. There was a bandage around his forehead”. [The sixth volunteer was subsequently killed].

Cornelius was put into the third lorry. They drove him in by Healy’s Bridge and the Lee Road as far as Gale’s quarry. When they got there the first lorry in which the bodies were want on and I did not see it again. He was taken up to the Military Barracks where he was kept in the Detention Barracks until 17 April 1921, and then he was released without any charge being brought against him.

The six men killed were Daniel Crowley of Blarney Street (aged 22), William Deasy of Mount Desert, Blarney Road (aged 20 years), Thomas Dennehy of Blarney Street (aged 21 years), Daniel Murphy of Orrey Hill (aged 24 years), Jeremiah O’Mullane of Blarney Street (aged 23), and Michael O’Sullivan of Blarney Street (aged 20 years).

This week the local community group of Clogheen/ Kerry Pike Community Association will place a wreath at the monument in Kerry Pike. They have also ordered six benches, which will have plaques dedicated to the six young men who were murdered at the location.  

My thanks to Jim O’Mahony of the Community Association for his help and insights.

Caption:

1092a.  Pat O’Regan, Vice Chair of Clogheen/ Kerry Pike Community Association, with the Ballycannon Monument, March 2021 (picture: Jim O’Mahony).

Cllr McCarthy calls again for Our Lady of Lourdes Road Junction to be Re-Examined, 23 March 2020

Press Release:

Cllr Kieran McCarthy has again asked the Operations Directorate of Cork City Council to re-examine the road safety measures at the junction of Ballinlough Road and Bellair Estate. Cllr McCarthy highlights: “It’s a regular issue local people have raised with me. It’s also that time of the year when funding is allocated to complete outstanding roads projects. The corner of Old Lady of Lourdes National School is a blind corner and has many people crossing this dangerous stretch of road every day”.

In response to Cllr McCarthy’s motion, the Operations Directorate of Cork City Council noted that “earlier this year improved signage and line markings have been installed on the western arm of the junction on the one-way portion of the Ballinlough Road to increase visibility and awareness that this section is a one-way road”. Notwithstanding this, the Council have said the road junction will remain on the list of areas for assessment for a traffic management project or road safety improvement scheme. The assessment will also consider which additional measures may be appropriate and feasible to improve road safety in the vicinity of the area. Concluding the operations directorate have noted to Cllr McCarthy’s motion; “Currently there is no funding available for traffic management projects. Any works deemed appropriate can be added for consideration in the future roads programme and undertaken subject to selection by the Members and available resources”.

Cllr. McCarthy stated that improved signage was welcomed but he would like details on the actual timeline for this road safety improvement scheme at the Our Lady of Lourdes junction.

Cllr McCarthy: Marking MacCurtain’s murder 101 years on

20 March 2021, “Historian and Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy described the former Lord Mayor as a true ‘colossus in Cork history’. ‘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’, ” Marking MacCurtain’s murder 101 years on, Marking MacCurtain’s murder 101 years on (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Intervention with Charles Michel, President of the European Council 143rd Plenary Session of the European Committee of the Regions, March 2021

On behalf of the European Alliance group congratulations President Michel on your hard work, energy and enthusiasm.

On this St Patrick’s Day, my City Council in Cork has projected onto an old concrete grain silo in my port area an old Irish proverb. It runs –

“ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine” – which means – it is in each others shadows we live – which invokes the sense of community and interdependence. 

And it is clear in our context today that both the member state and the local and regional authority both live in each shadows and both are dependent on each other.

Consistently the COR asks to be partner with the European Council and seeks to bring the idea of community back to the top table in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Many of the priorities and challenges you regularly outline in your briefings are common challenges for the over 95,000 local and regional authorities across Europe. 

Whether you are in Cork or Corsica; Namur to Naples we have a common purpose and this is delivering for the better good of those we represent.

It is my firm belief that Cities and regions and concepts of multi-level governance also need to be to the heart of the priorities, and passionate narrative and story outlined by you at numerous times in the past and reiterated by you today.

 The CoR is a strong asset of Team Europe. We are more than just the opinions we produce. We are on the frontline in building the future of Europe. 

We are the story builders, strategy builders, the capacity builders. We build ideas from scratch and bring them to life. We are more than the sum of our parts. If you empower the Regions the EU will be a success.

Cities and Regions must be to the heart of the delivery process and the CoR will continue to collaborate with the other EU institutions in the delivery of this vision,

 albeit we wish for our work, the opportunities that go with such work, and the strong added value connected to such work, to be recognised more by those, who lead the European Project forwards.

 My final point is on Communication. The current pandemic has turned our world upside down over the past year. Now more than ever how we need to inform people that what the EU is delivering is crucial.

To conclude it is in each others shadows we live, but it’s how those shadows blend together to create solidarity, to celebrate diversity and ultimately showing that the European project is leaving no one behind – that are all crucial in the Europe of today.

 Go raibh maith agat / thank you.

Cllr McCarthy: Consultation now open for draft Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan, 19 March 2021

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the publishing of the he draft Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan (2021-2026). It is an action plan and sets out a series of realistic and practical actions to protect, conserve and manage the city’s heritage over the next five years.  The Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan includes actions on archaeology, built, cultural and natural heritage, so is a combination heritage and biodiversity plan.

Cllr McCarthy commented: “Consultation is now open. There are many people who have an interest in the city’s heritage and it is important that thoughts and perspectives are given on the new plan. The information gathered will feed into the final Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan (2021-2026), which will guide what heritage actions will be prioritised in Cork City over the next five years”. The draft plan can be viewed at https://consult.corkcity.ie

Cllr McCarthy added “Great credit is due to the Council’s Heritage Office for their hard work on the draft plan. I think the project work that was pursued in the now expired Heritage Plan was very worthwhile. Empowering local communities to pursue heritage projects has been fab. I think the community and education heritage grants and the publication grants scheme are fantastic and I hope they will be maintained in the next heritage plan, as do I hope the focus on the city’s archaeology story and biodiversity story will remain and grow even stronger in their delivery”.

“There is so much heritage to mind and promote in Cork. So a plan is very important so that relevant financial resources can be prioritised and new ideas developed”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 18 March 2021

1091a. Crossbarry memorial, present day (source: Cork City Library)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 18 March 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Victory of Crossbarry

By mid-March 1921, British crown forces invariably operated in West Cork in units of not less than three hundred. Consequently, the 3rd West Cork IRA Brigade flying column under the leadership of Commandant Tom Barry was brought to its greatest possible strength by the addition of every available rifle and the limited ammunition they had. The column had a membership of 104 men. It was also not easy to move, conceal, billet and feed a flying column of that strength over a long period, in an area that was then holding down at least five thousand British troops.

Tom Barry assembled the column into seven sections of fourteen riflemen in each section including the section commander. Those seven sections were commanded respectively by Sean Hales, John Lordan, Mick Crowley, Denis Lordan, Tom Kelleher, Peter Kearney and Christy O’Connell.

Barry in his book Guerilla Days in Ireland (1949) recalls that on the morning of 16 March 2021, information reached him that 300 British soldiers were being sent on the following day from Kinsale to Bandon as reinforcements. That night his flying column marched to ambush them at Shippool, half-way between Kinsale and Bandon. British crown forces had set out as scheduled, but after a mile halted and later returned to barracks.

Barry withdrew the column to Skough, just east of Innishannon. Meanwhile a British reconnaissance plane flying low, zoomed along the valley, searching for the column who laid low. At 1am that evening the column arrived at the house of John O’Leary’s, Ballyhandle, and this house became column headquarters. The son of the house, Paddy, was a member of the column.

Two days later at 1am on the morning of 19 March, four hundred troops left Cork, two hundred from Ballincollig, 300 from Kinsale and 350 from Bandon. Later 120 auxiliaries left from Macroom. Still later, troops left Clonakilty and more left Cork. They proceeded by lorries to four points, approximately four miles north-north-east, south-east and west of Crossbarry. They raided and closely searched every house and out house in the countryside. They took many civilians and some unarmed volunteers as prisoners. One of the eastern columns came to the house three miles north of Crossbarry, where Commandant Charles Hurley was recuperating from a bullet wound arising from the Upton ambush. He was killed fighting as he tried to break through the cordon.

Tom Barry had no doubt that they were out-numbered by ten to one at least. He had to determine without delay whether to fight or to evade action. The decision to fight was made. From observations of enemy movements, it was clear that the British force from the west would reach Crossbarry some time before the other British columns. That would even up the opening fight, and he was confident of being able to defeat it and thus smash one side of the encircling wall of troops. This would leave the flying column free to pass on to the west where it could, according to circumstances.

At 3am, Tom Barry spoke to the flying column, giving them a summary of their situation and the strategy of attack for each of the seven sections. He stressed that no section was to retire from its position without orders, no matter how great the pressure and that no volunteer was, in any circumstances, to show himself until the action started.

The column marched off to Crossbarry at 3.30am, and positions were occupied by 4.30am. Seventy-three officers and men were deployed for an attack. The 31 others were to protect their flanks and rear. By 5.30am all these preparations were completed.

About 8am a long line of lorries carrying British troops came slowly on past Christy O’Connell’s flanking section and into the main ambush positions. Twelve lorries were between Mick Crowley’s section in the centre and Christy O’Connell’s flankers, but many more stretched back along the road. The leading lorry came on, but suddenly it halted and the soldiers started shouting. Unfortunately, despite the strictest orders, a volunteer had shown himself at a raised barn door and was seen. The British started to scramble from their lorries, but Tom Barry had given the order to fire.

Volley after volley was fired, mostly at ranges from five to ten yards, at those soldiers and they broke and scattered, leaving their dead, an amount of arms and their lorries behind them. The survivors fled towards the south.

Helping them now was a man named White of Newcestown, who although was not a volunteer, had been arrested that morning and carried as a hostage in the leading lorry. He had a double lucky escape from death as, after escaping the first volley, he was nearly shot dead until he started shouting that he was an Irishman and a prisoner of the British.

The lorries were then prepared for burning and the British dead pulled away from their vicinity. The first three lorries were burning when heavy rifle fire broke out on their left flank, and all volunteers were ordered back to their original action stations. Another British column of about 200 had advanced from the south-east. They were attacked by Denis Lordan’s section. Peter Kearney’s men were moved up to reinforce Lordan’s, and after heavy fighting the enemy retreated leaving a number of dead.

Tom Barry describes in his book that his men did had not long to await the third phase of the engagement, for shortly afterwards the sounds of rifle fire came from their right flank. Here about a platoon of British tried to come in across country but they were met by Christy O’Connell’s Section.

Ten minutes later the fourth development of the action opened. Still another British column came in on their left rear. Numbering about 200, they had entered an old boreen about a mile back, and, keeping close to the ditch as they crept in, they were unobserved for some time. Tom Kelleher’s riflemen were waiting for them and killed a number of them. The remainder hurriedly retired to cover from where they continued to engage our men but some minutes later withdrew.

It was a victory for Tom Barry’s column at Crossbarry. He records though that three column members lay dead – Peter Monahan, Jeremiah O’Leary, and Con Daly, and several others were wounded. The column retired to billets at Gurranereigh, which were fourteen miles due west of Crossbarry, Flankers would have to travel cross-country for at least twelve miles.

Caption:

1091a. Crossbarry memorial, present day (source: Cork City Library)

Cllr McCarthy, Nostalgia: St Patrick’s Day in Cork through the decades, 13 March 2021

13 March 2021, “Pictures in The Echo archives underscore the joy of previous St Patrick’s Day parades in Cork, which historian and Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said may have commenced in 1872, albeit with a different focus”, Nostalgia: St Patrick’s Day in Cork through the decades, Nostalgia: St Patrick’s Day in Cork through the decades (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 11 March 2021

1090a. Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, late 1920s from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.
1090a. Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, late 1920s from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 11 March 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Opening of the Pavilion

Against the backdrop of the ruins on St Patrick’s Street from the Burning of Cork and the unsettling tit-for-tat violence across Cork City’s streets, the opening of the decorative Pavilion Cinema in early March 1921 was a very different and positive event of that time.

Cinema was a very popular form of entertainment in the 1910s and 1920s. Up to 1921 and before the Pavilion’s construction, Cork could boast having seven cinemas– Picturedrome at the Assembly Rooms on the South Mall, Imperial Cinema on Oliver Plunkett Street, The Washington Cinema on Washington Street, Bellevue at Barrackton, Lido Cinema on Watercourse Road, Lee Cinema on Winthrop Street and the community picture drome at St Mary’s Hall opposite the North Cathedral. The Picture Palace, 40-42 Grand Parade, was also in the course of construction.

The press commentary on 7 March 1921 in the Cork Examiner described the Pavilion as a “super cinema of the very latest, rich in design and finish”. Passing through the imposing and spacious entrance in St Patrick’s Street, two flights of broad marble stairs were ascended from the centre of the hallway. Here was the café and ballroom in a colour scheme of French grey.

The Cork Examiner further elaborates on the design: “The rose du Barri with gold with a fine arrangement of French mirrors and lustre lighting effects, and the artistic workmanship of the ceiling all combine in the richest and most artistic harmony. Then there is the oak panelled smokeroom where one could sit. Here there are lanterns hanging from the oak beams. The construction, ornamental and decorative work of the cinema portion of the buildings are superb in design and colour, while the seating is made to provide the most luxurious comfort”.

Great credit was given to the Dublin architect Thomas Francis McNamara for his design. McNamara was a popular architect who received a considerable number of commissions in the early twentieth century connected with the Catholic church, particularly for buildings in the Diocese of Dromore. He had become architect to the Dublin Joint Hospital Board and was later increasingly engaged in hospital work. His pupils and assistants included Harry Clarke whom he advised to take up art rather than architecture as a profession. McNamara travelled often in France, Italy and Spain. He had a special interest in Hispano-Romanesque architecture, which is an interest he brought to the design of the Pavilion.

The capacity of the Pavilion cinema was 900 people while the tea and smoke rooms could accommodate comfortably 150 persons. The luxurious furnishing was carried out by Cork’s Munster Arcade and the decorating and painting was completed by Messrs John O’Connell, Cork. On the ground floor three shops and managerial offices were fitted in. The entrance to the chief seats were viz – balcony and back parterre is on St Patrick’s Street and the front parterre seats entrance was in Carey’s Lane.

The cinema was originally conceived by T J Moran and other investors. The contractor though was Mr Moran’s firm. Under his direction, the ornamental, decorating and furnishing the theatre and café was carried out. The resident orchestra was under the direction of Dr William George Eveleigh and Signor Grossi, leader and violinist. Dr Eveleigh was an organist in St Finbarre’s Cathedral.

Ferrouccio Grossi was a lecturer in the Cork School of Music on violin, viola, and conductor of orchestra. He was part of a small orchestra of foreign musicians of various nationalities who had been engaged for the Cork International Exhibition in 1902. In the same year, Grossi took up residence in Cork, and with his pianist wife, began a career of concert hosting and teaching, up to 1930.

The Pavilion was to be managed by Mr Fred Harford, formerly of the Abbey Theatre. There he was a long standing actor there and eventually became manager of the venue.

Opening on 10 March 1921, the programme of the new Pavilion Cinema was composed of what was deemed “highest class items” and it included a violin solo by Signor Grossi and music by Dr Eveleigh’s orchestra.

D W Griffith’s “The Greatest Question” was the principal film. Griffith was an American film director and was one of the pioneers of the financing of the feature-length movie. Circa 1919-1920 together with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, he established United Artists, allowing them to plan their own interests, rather than be dependent on commercial studios. By the time he made his final film he had made near 500 films.

Based upon a novel by William Hale, the silent film, The Greatest Question, had a plot about an orphan girl being given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the hands of a murderous farmer and his wife. The film also had ghostly apparitions and would have been deemed a thriller genre in its day.

The film was supported by one of Burton Holmes interesting travel pictures and also by a comedy entitled “It’s a Boy”. Burton Holmes was the first person to blend travel stories, slides shows and motion pictures into documentary travel lectures, for which he coined the word “travelogue”.  By the turn of the twentieth century Holmes was recognised as America’s leading travel lecturer. Holmes generally spent six months of each year travelling and photographing in various locations. His 1920-21 material for showing in cinemas is listed on his American archive at the US Smithsonian Institution and includes Constantinople Under Allied Control, Jerusalem – Holy City of Three Faiths, Gardens of Allah and the Barbary Coast, Spanish Cities and the Pyrenees, Vision of Venice and the Italian Lakes. Some or all of these may have been shown before the main feature at the Pavilion in Cork in the Spring of 1921.

Captions:

1090a. Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, late 1920s from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.

1090b. Golden Discs, former Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1090b. Golden Discs, former Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick's Street, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1090b. Golden Discs, former Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Cllr McCarthy: Repair of Atlantic Pond Valve Essential, 9 March 2021

9 March 2021, “In a reply to a question posed by Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy at Monday evening’s full council meeting, Mr Joyce revealed that Cork City Council was not successful in securing funding last year from central government to proceed with the second phase of repair works”. Atlantic Pond repair works on hold due to funding delay,
Atlantic Pond repair works on hold due to funding delay (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 8 March 2021

Question to CE:

To ask the CE for an update on fixing the Atlantic Pond valve problem? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Motions:

That safety signage be erected at the unprotected pier in Blackrock. There is no life jacket sign. There is no indication that it is a dangerous area for vehicles (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

In light of the recent presentation on the city centre and the difficulty of rolling out broadband fibre cable to replace the old copper cable, that a suitable, sustainable and efficient technological solution be sought out with service providers. Cork City Centre cannot be left behind in the roll-out (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That the remains of the Cantillan family sponsored drinking fountain atop a grassy mound at the western end of The Marina in front of Shandon Rowing Club be re-imagined – either as a conservation project or a new drinking fountain installed at the location – or a mixture of both (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).