Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the sponsorship by Coillte of new native saplings at the Blackrock Castle Walkway. Cllr McCarthy remarked: “In total this year, up to 1,200 trees were planted by Cork City Council Operations (Parks) this year. Cork Chamber are sponsoring another 200 of the 1,200 native trees being planted this year and have committed to at least two more years of sponsorship at €3,000k per year. This is a very generous contribution as it assists with increasing tree cover throughout the City”.
Outgoing Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh said: “The Coillte trees planted are a representation of all primary and secondary schools in Cork City and speak to our past, present and future. The Lord Mayor’s Oak Tree Initiative 2021 symbolises the resilience, sustainability and growth synonymous with our schools”.
Coillte Supply Chain Manager, Dominic Joyce said: “Coillte is delighted to support such initiatives as they inspire future generations and increase awareness of the important role that trees play in mitigating climate change, improving habitats, increasing biodiversity and providing sustainable and renewable building materials. We are delighted to be associated with the Lord Mayor’s initiative to commemorate the independence struggle 100 years ago in this novel and environmentally friendly way”.
Saplings were also planted Glen River Park, Bridevalley Park, and the Curraheen Walkway. Plaques have been installed near the new trees and a QR code will direct people to the Cork City Council commemorations site, www.corkcitycommemorations.ie where further details of the initiative will appear.
On the evening of 23 June 1921, there was a
concerted attack on all RIC barracks in Cork City and suburbs at an appointed
time by members of the first and second battalions of Cork IRA Brigade No.1. In the city centre, a fine summer evening was
disturbed closing on to 7.30pm. Loud explosions, quickly followed by shots,
startled everybody. The first reports were heard all over the city and within
the suburbs. The mobilisation of Crown Forces ensued, and the rattle of rifle
fire, the tearing of machine guns, added to the fear of citizens outdoors and
short time, the streets became deserted. Tram cars with their complements of
passengers went to the end of their journeys and then returned to the central
station. The occupants, motor men, and conductors of some ofthe cars were ordered off, searched, and questioned by the RIC and Black
and Tans. By 8pm, business houses that were open were soon shuttered and closed.
In various districts, and anyone out was halted and searched. Towards 9pm quiet
was restored, but the streets remained deserted. At the South and North
infirmaries, they were busily engaged attending to several people admitted
consequent to the explosions and subsequent firing.
Examiner, the following day on 24 June, reported that bombs were initially thrown
at police in Tuckey Street, where constabulary occupied an old barrack and had recently
acquired premises, which fronted the Grand Parade. Some citizens who were in
Washington Street and Grand Parade about 7.30pm spoke to the press about a high
speed of a motor car passing down Washington Street and onto the Grand Parade:
As this car came along the Grand Parade by the Berwick Fountain, opposite
Tuckey Street Police Station. Two loud explosions, followed by quick firing,
shots also were discharged by the occupants of the car at the windows of Tuckey
Street barrack, but nobody was injured. The police fired on the occupants of
the motor, and believe that they killed one and wounded another, but the car
dashed on through Tuckey Street and over the South Gate Bridge.
stampede on the Grand Parade followed, and it was noticed that some people
fell, whether wounded or terror stricken. There was one fatality. Josephine
Scannell, aged 19 years, living at Frenche’s Quay, was shot dead through the
heart. She was seated at the window of her residence engaged working at her
sewing machine. The fast shots had barely sounded when a bullet struck through the
window and hit her over the heart. She collapsed immediately, and through
assistance was soon removed by the Cork Corporation ambulance to the
South Infirmary. She was dead on arrival. The body was later taken from the
Infirmary by her grief-stricken mother back to her house.
from the Tuckey Street incident, a bomb was thrown into the garden of a house
in Ashburton Terrace. No damage was done, but it is reported that the child of
the inmate of the house, who was playing in the garden, had a very narrow
escape, the bomb exploding under the little girl’s feet. It was following this
that the firing started in the St Luke’s Church direction, and several
civilians were wounded.
neighbourhood of St Luke’s was also thrown into alarm about 7.30pm. At that
hour two men came to the door of the public bar of Messrs. Henchy, Tea and Wine
Merchants, St Luke’s. They simply pushed glass door and fired two shots from
revolvers. They then hastened away. One man in the bar was shot in the face and
was seriously wounded. The wounded man was taken to the military hospital. The second
shot wounded another man and he was conveyed to the North Infirmary, where on examination
it was found that his wound was not dangerous.
thrown at Shandon Barracks was, like those thrown at Tuckey Street, thrown from
a motor, but whether the distance from the roadway to the barracks was too far,
or through some other reason, there was no very great damage done, und there
were no casualties.
Robert C Ahern, D Company, 2nd
Battalion, Cork No.1 IRA Brigade in his witness statement for the Bureau of
Military History (WS 1676) describes that he was one of a small party of men
who took part in an attack on Douglas RIC Barracks that evening. The object of
these attacks was to show the enemy that we were still strong in numbers and
equipment, notwithstanding our losses in officers and men killed, wounded, or
Of the ambush on Douglas RIC Barracks, Robert
outlines a short five minute event but a dangerous situation: “Sailor Barry,
Eddie Fitzgibbon, one other man and myself opened fire on the front of the
barracks whilst other men from ‘D’ Company took the rere of the building. The
garrison of police and Black and Tans replied with rifles and machineguns. None
of us suffered a casualty, and I am not aware if any of the garrison of the
barracks was hit during the firing. So far as we were concerned, the affair was
over in about five minutes, although firing from the barracks continued for
some time after we had left”.
1105a. St Luke’s Church Area, c.1910 from Cork City Reflections (Amberley Publishing, 2021) by Kieran
McCarthy and Dan Breen.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy wishes to remind business owners that the expanded Small Business Assistance Scheme (SBAS) for COVID is now open for applications through Cork City Council. Phase two of this scheme has been expanded to include those that had previously been ineligible. Cllr McCarthy noted: “SBASC gives grants to businesses who are not eligible for the Government’s COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), the Fáilte Ireland Business Continuity grant or other direct sectoral grant schemes. This scheme aims to help businesses with their fixed costs, for example, rent, utility bills, security. If you have received Phase 1 of SBASC you can apply for Phase 2 if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements. The closing date for this scheme is 21 July 2021”.
Businesses working from non-rateable premises are now eligible to apply and if they meet the other eligibility criteria will receive a grant of €4,000. Businesses with a turnover between €20,000 and €49,999 are also now eligible to apply if they meet the other eligibility criteria and will receive a grant of €1,000.
The scheme is available to companies, self-employed, sole traders or partnerships. The business must not be owned and operated by a public body. The business must operate from a building, including working from home, or similar fixed physical structure such as a yard or a street trading pitch for which rates are payable or in a co-working hub or a rented fixed desk. This does not include businesses carried on from motor vehicles, such as PSVs or construction trades. The business must have a current eTax Clearance Certificate from the Revenue Commissioners. Cllr McCarthy concluded: “Further information can be obtained from Cork City Council’s Business Support Unit on the home page of www.corkcity.ie or at the following phone number, 021-4924484 or at the following e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org”
18 June 2021, “Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said the engineering problems blighting the Penrose Quay streetscape must be addressed once and for all. ‘I ask this question every year to keep it on the agenda, and I think this is my 13th time asking,” he said.“And the latest answer seems to be just kicking the can further down the road. It’s just not good enough”, Councillor blasts decade-long presence of hoarding on Cork quay, Councillor blasts decade-long presence of hoarding on Cork quay (irishexaminer.com)
Crown forces patrolled city centre streets en mass in
June 1921. Orders were issued that all prisoners should be chained to the
lorries so that they could not attempt an escape. In addition, if the lorry was
ambushed by the IRA, the prisoner could be caught in the crossfire. Prisoners
were also used when the lorries were being sent out on some essential business
to discourage any ambushers.
Prisoners were mainly detained in Victoria Barracks. Seán
Healy, Captain of A Company, 1st Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1, in
his witness statement for the Bureau of Military History (WS1479) describes
that he was detained in a cell for three days before he was taken before the official
photographer. He was compelled to pose for a photograph in different positions,
and this was followed by the taking of his fingerprints. He was then removed to
a place called The Cage in the heart of Victoria Barracks.
The Cage was erected on the barrack square and consisted
of three large military huts surrounded by several rows of 12 feet high barbed
wire entanglements with armed sentries patrolling around it day and night. Prisoners
in The Cage were supposed to have taken part in the city shootings, and a
notice was hung on the outside requesting identification. There were about 150
prisoners in The Cage – roughly fifty in each hut. There was an outer circle of
barbed wire, which was covered with canvas. Between the two lines of wire the
sentries patrolled. The outer wire had a number of spy holes, which enabled
those outside to see in.
Seán describes that this camp was erected, as an
emergency measure and was more or less a clearing station. During the three
weeks that he was detained there he witnessed about 1000 prisoners passed
through its gates. Most of the men were arrested on suspicion and their records
were subsequently investigated. If evidence could be produced that any of them
took part in actions against the crown forces, they were then court-martialled and
sentenced by the Military Courts. In most cases they were sent to internment
camps without any trial. Spike Island was the destination of large numbers who
As the stay was usually of short duration, no beds were
provided but blankets, which had to be frequently deloused. Seán remarks; “We
slept on low trestles on, which were placed three or four boards. The number of
boards depended on the number of prisoners that had to be catered for. Large
numbers of curfew breakers, tramps, down-and-outs and adventurers were brought in
nightly, during curfew hours, and simply bundled into the huts…I was attached
to No.1 dormitory”.
Newcomers were all screened next morning in the hope of
finding some wanted IRA man, and the rest were released. The usual procedure
was for a sergeant to enter The Cage, call out the names of some wanted men who
were removed there and then, no information being given of the business for
which they were required or of their destinations.
Amongst those brought in at night was an occasional spy,
but the Cork IRA members usually had not much trouble in spotting them, and after
hassling them this hastened their moving out again for their own safely.
Military matters were never discussed with strangers and IRA prisoners
generally were very guarded in their conversations as the smallest leakage
would lead to trouble. The spies were specially planted for the purpose of
seeking information regarding ambushes, etc.
Seán details that on the whole, life in these huts was
not the worse situation it could be; “The food, which was supplied was fairly
good, and we were allowed to receive parcels from outside friends. I must place
on record the kindness of my former landlady, Miss Mary Farrell of Lower Road,
with whom I was staying at the time of my arrest. This lady walked up the
steep. hill to the barracks with food and cigarettes almost daily. She was one
of those fine types of Irishwomen who bravely faced the perils of the time. No
visitors were allowed near the camp and all letters were strictly censored”.
Reveille was sounded at 7am and lights out were at 10pm. Activities brightened camp life considerably.
Seán describes that there were sing-songs and dances, and Micheál Ó Gráda held
Irish classes. Mass was said in one of the huts every Sunday morning by the
Military Chaplain. Seán recalls: “Solitaries were brought up from their cells
to attend Mass. Commandant Mick Murphy was amongst those unfortunate men. I saw
him being marched up the centre of the Mass hut with a soldier on each side of
him and nobody was allowed to go near him. No newspapers were allowed into the
camp, but the fresh prisoners who arrived almost daily, to replace those who
had been sent to Spike Island, Ballykinlar, etc., kept us supplied with up-to-date
Seán’s trial was not proceeded with afterwards as the
Truce came into being on 11 July 1921. Others were not as lucky. Seán describes
the case of Mick Leahy; “I remember Mick Leahy being released about 1pm on a
certain Friday, and the very next night the murder gang called at the hotel
where he was staying (Wren’s Hotel, Winthrop Street) They asked to see Mr Michael
Leahy and when he appeared they immediately opened fire on him with revolvers.
Thinking that he was shot dead, they took their departure. This man was very
badly wounded but regained his health after a long illness”.
Barracks, now Collins Barracks, Cork, c.1910 from Cork City Reflections (Amberley
Publishing, 2021) by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.
To ask the CE on an update on the Penrose Quay
hoarding? Whilst acknowledging, the recent creation of a smaller hoarding space
and the Crawford Art Gallery print display of historic Cork paintings, it is
now over a decade since my initial asking of when this remnant of the Cork Main
Drainage Project will be completed, and the site levelled off? (Cllr Kieran
Cork City Council in 2022 celebrate the 300th anniversary of
the construction of the Church of St Anne, Shandon recognising its impact on
the city and its unique landmark for Cork citizens (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
[co-signed with Cllr Tony Fitzgerald).
the City Council with Ballintemple National School traffic review the
management guidance provisions in place for both school campuses currently.
With an increase in the number of children attending Scoil Iósaf Naofa and
increasing volumes of traffic in the surrounding community vicinities, the
Board of Management feels that further traffic and pedestrian safety measures
need to be implemented. In particular, the school seeks additional traffic
calming measures on Crab Lane itself, an increase in visual awareness
signage, and a pedestrian priority feature at the school gate itself, to ensure
all car users are aware of the school gate. At the Boreenmanna Road campus, an
additional lollypop person is sought for the senior school as an immediate
necessity. A pedestrian crossing is sought in close proximity to the senior
school as an important safety feature (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
That Cork City Council enhance their directions / signage in City
cemeteries to help locate burial plots. Where the cemeteries are well
maintained, in some of the older cemeteries it is difficult to locate faded
inscribed numerical markers. In additional, that there be
an increased effort by the City Council to put burial records online so they
can be located, either on their own website or on Cork City and County Archives
website, and especially through the use of volunteers (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
That Cork City
Council calls on An Post to create a maintenance plan for the older green
historic post boxes. These are historical artefacts which, literally, have
history inscribed on them, and which deserve to be preserved and
maintained. They are examples of craftsmanship and are part of our fine
national heritage and Cork’s fine street furniture (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).
In mid-June 1921 Seán Healy, Captain of A Company, 1st
Battalion, Cork Brigade No.1, was elated at the prospect of bringing off a successful
ambush against crown forces. He had plans completed for a large ambush on a
patrol of Black and Tans whose daily beat brought them through Silversprings
Lane in Tivoli. About thirty fully armed Black and Tans passed through it every
evening. The Company considered this lane as an ideal place for an ambush. The
hills on both sides were heavily wooded, which would provide ample cover for the
men. A-Company company were only awaiting sanction from their Brigade Officer-in-Command.
However, events did go according to plan.
In his Bureau of Military History witness statement
(WS1479), Seán recalls that at 11am on the morning of 14 June, Seán was in the
Parcels Office at the Glanmire Station (now Kent Station) when two British
Intelligence officers, in mufti, entered and he was trapped and arrested. He
notes of his arrest: “I had no way of escape, being taken unawares. The railway
station had been surrounded by military and police. I was placed under arrest
and marched from the station to the nearby Black and Tan Barracks at Empress
Place, under a heavy escort. When climbing the long flight of stone steps
leading from the Lower Road to Empress Place, I felt that my race was run…It
was obvious that I was in for a rough time. Heavy fighting was taking place in
most parts of the country at that time. The enemy was being attacked on all sides.
The Dublin Custom House was burnt down a short time previously. The temper of
the Crown forces was very high”.
When Seán was taken into the police barracks he was
handed over to the Black and Tans by the military, as a temporary arrangement –
the British Intelligence Officer Lieutenant Dove remarking that he would call
back him back later. Seán was pushed into an office and the sergeant insitu
demanded his name and address. Seán gave him the required information and his
particulars were recorded. The sergeant then ordered two of his men to search Seán.
They removed his coat, vest and shoes.
Seán remarks of being interrogated: “We had strict orders
from G.H.Q. to remain silent during interrogations and to refuse to recognise
the enemy Courts. Next questions were: “Are you a member of the I.R.A.? Another
one of the Murder Gang? Where were you born? How old are you? What occupation
do you hold? Where does your father reside? Knowing that the military officers
were calling back for me again, I played for time and informed the interrogators
that I would not answer any questions until my solicitor was present”.
was then handcuffed and removed to a military lorry which was waiting outside
and was conveyed to Victoria Military Barracks. Before leaving Empress Place,
the military took possession of Seán’s belongings, which had been taken from him
by the police. The lorry halted outside the main gates of the military barracks
which were then opened by a sentry and Seán’s lorry was admitted. All alighted
from the lorry and an orderly wrote down the usual particulars.
Sean was then un-handcuffed and escorted to the
Intelligence Office: He remarks: “I was again searched and subjected to an
interrogation by three Intelligence officers. Your name? Your address? Your
occupation? Are you a Sinn Féiner? Did you take part in any of the attacks against
our forces? What do you know about Sinn Féin dispatches being sent on railway
trains? What business had you and three other Sinn Féiners outside the Cork
University at 9am on a certain morning? etc, etc”.
The Intelligence Officer had information that Seán was
prominent in Cork IRA Brigade No.1 and that he held the rank of an officer. It
now became quite clear to Seán that a spy had given information against him. He
again claimed privilege not to answer any questions until his solicitor Mr.
Healy, solicitor, South Mall was present.
Seán was abruptly told that this was a military inquiry and
under Martial Law they had a means of making him talk. The interrogation lasted
about half an hour. After leaving the Intelligence Office, Seán was taken to a prison
cell where he was kept in solitary confinement for three days and nights. The
weather was exceptionally warm so that bed clothes did not bother him. The only
ventilation in the cell was a small window, which was about ten feet from the
ground and strongly protected with iron bars. The only furniture in the cell
was the plank bed on which there was one army blanket.
A notice was crudely hand-printed on the wall over the
cell door – “All who enter here are doomed men”. This was evidently done for a
joke by some of the soldiers who were guarding the prison. Seán describes that
he slept very little on those nights; “I was expecting visits from the
Intelligence officers, who frequently took out their prisoners during the late
hours for further interrogations, but for some inexplicable reason they did not
interfere with me at night. The thought of the ordeals that confronted me did
not help to induce sleep. Realising that if any of the various charges which
could be brought against me were proved, torture, the firing squad, then the
release by death, would be my end, I prayed that I would be strong enough to
stand up to them all”.
be continued next week…
1103a. Empress Place, Former Black and Tan
Barracks 1921, Summerhill North, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy will host three events for the upcoming Cork Harbour Festival. Two of the events focus on the rich history of the city’s bridges and the third focuses in on the history and sense of place on The Marina. The events and dates are as follows:
– Bridges of Cork, Online Talk by Kieran, Tuesday 8 June 2021, 7.30pm-8.30pm, FREE:
This zoom presentation explores the general development of the city’s bridges and why they were historically so important and are still so important in connecting the different parts of Cork City together. Details of the link for the talk are available at www.corkharbourfestival.com
– Bridges of Cork, Heritage Treasure Hunt, hosted by Kieran, Saturday 12 June 2021, 1pm, FREE, self-guided walk:
This treasure hunt is all about looking up and around and exploring the heart of Cork City whilst exploring the stories and place of the city centre’s bridges. Suitable for all ages, approx 2hr, with mixed footpaths on city’s quays.Meet Kieran at National Monument, Grand Parade, Cork, between 1pm-1.15pm on Saturday 12 June, to receive the self-guided treasure hunt pack, no booking required. Bring a pen.
– The Marina, Self Guided Audio Trail with Kieran, 4 June 2021 -14 June, FREE:
A stroll down The Marina is popular by many people. The area is particularly characterized by its location on the River Lee and the start of Cork Harbour. Here scenery, historical monuments and living heritage merge to create a rich sense of place. The audio tour will be available here to stream live on your smartphone from 4-14 June 2021. Details of the link for the audio trail are available at www.corkharbourfestival.com
One hundred years ago,
military cordons were common place across Cork City Centre. Cappoquin born Michael O’Donoghue was
a final year student in early 1921, who was studying for his Batchelor of
Engineering degree (mechanical and electrical) in UCC. He was Engineer Officer
of the 2nd Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1. Michael in his witness statement to the Bureau
of Military History (WS1741) describes one such round-up from late May
One Friday early afternoon towards the end of May 1921, Michael was
having his lunch at his accommodation at the Shamrock Hotel when news arrived
that there was a big round-up outside by the military and that the whole Grand Parade
– Oliver Plunkett Street – Princes Street – South Mall was cordoned off. Michael
was afraid of a systematic house to house search, so he collected his bomb
parts, including a couple of empty mills grenade cases, and went downstairs
into the small rear room at the back of the adjoining fruit shop.
details: “Here, occasionally, customers had a quiet cup of tea or coffee or
maybe ice cream and fruit. Luckily, there was no one present. I deposited my
deadly load in the fire grate, beneath and behind some shrubs and flowers which
were covering up the ugliness of the empty grate. Then I went back upstairs,
finished my lunch, and got some large books which I carried beneath my arm.
Down the stairs with me and out on the street. A military cordon stretched
diagonally across the junction of Old George’s Street and The Parade. An
officer and two sergeants were busy searching all males. A queue of men of
various ages were resignedly awaiting search”.
dawdled for a few minutes awaiting his turn; then, getting impatient, he went
up boldly to the nearest NCO and presented himself for scrutiny and search. The
officer looked hard at him, felt his pockets and all over his body with his
hands and then asked him where he was going. Michal told him that he was going
back to College preparing for an examination, which was true. He told him to
pass on. In the evening Michael returned to the “Shamrock”. The military were
gone. They had not even visited the digs, so the arnaments in the grate were still
intact. Later he transferred the lot to the custody of Raymond Kennedy,
Battalion Vice Officer-in-Command.
final engineering examination in mechanical and electrical engineering was due
early in June. Mick Crowley, second in command of Tommy Barry’s 3rd Brigade Column,
came along to Cork, met him at the College and asked me to come along to Cork
111 Brigade and help him to reorganise the engineering services of that IRA
eagerly accepted but told him that he would not be available to go to West Cork
until after his June exam, then about to begin. He agreed. Michael describes a
change of heart after the first three papers; “After I had answered the first
three papers it was clear to me that I had not the remotest chance of a pass.
Rather than mess up the rest of the exam. I withdrew and appeared no more that
June in the exam. hall. I wrote home to father and mother explaining how I had
missed doing some of the papers so to prepare them for the disappointment which
they would suffer at not seeing my name in the pass lists for the B.E. degree.
Of course, they knew little of my exclusive preoccupation with IRA operations and
activities and did not realise at all that my own engineering career and
University studies were only a very secondary consideration. I told them, too,
that I was going to a temporary engineering job down in West Cork in Kinsale
and that I might be back home later in the summer to prepare for the autumn
the same time frame as Michael’s narrative, P J Murphy – a Company Commander of
Fianna Éireann in Cork– the youth division of the IRA – describes a bold
attempt to blow up a destroyer in Haulbowline Dockyardsabout 9.30pm on Wednesday, 1 June. The destroyer was to
act an escort to the sloop HMS Heather, which was carrying prisoners to
Belfast jail. The destroyer was lying in the basin of the dockyard. She was
after test and had steam up in one of the boilers. The charge was placed
between the boilers. The charge went off at 9.30pm and did sufficient damage to
hold up the movement of prisoners. This job was headed by Volunteers from
Passage West with help from some of Cork City’s volunteers. Next morning the
yard was surrounded by Marines and RIC.
J, who worked as an apprentice within he dockyard, was an insider. He was arrested
by the RIC and handed over to a Marine Captain. He carried out the search of his
tool kit. PJ details; “I was then brought to the Chief Engineer’s office and interrogated
there as to my movements the evening before. I was released and told to report
again that evening for further investigation. I did not report but got off the
island as fast as I could. My indentures were cancelled by the Lord
Commissioners of the Admiralty”.
J also describes in his witness statement that on 11 June 1921, a number of the
Active Service Unit. were arrested in Mrs. Stenson’s public house, Douglas
Street. They included Mick Murphy, Frank Mahony, Jerry O’Brien, C. Cogan and
Jim Fitzgerald. Jim Fitzgerald was wounded; a few escaped, including D. Hegarty.
P J elaborated that in order to fool crown forces as to the importance of their
capture, three RIC barracks were attacked that night – Tuckey Street barracks,
Shandon barracks and Douglas barracks.
Dockyard, c.1910 from Cork Harbour Through Time by Kieran McCarthy &