Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy welcomes progress on the Old Rail Line works. Work on the Greenway Improvements Scheme Phase 1 is progressing well. Surfacing is now fully complete from Pairc Ui Chaoimh to Blackrock Station and from the St Michael’s Drive Ramp to the N40.
The first section of Public Lighting has been installed from Pairc Ui Chaoimh to Blackrock Station. The new access ramps from Eden, Ballinsheen Bridge and Skehard Road are currently under construction as is the new ramp from the Greenway to the Marina.
Cllr McCarthy notes: “Local people have been very patient with the works. The Marina Ramp though requires staged construction to allow for settlement of the poor underlying ground. Similarly works are ongoing at Blackrock Station”.
Cllr McCarthy concluded; “Landscaping work including tree planting will begin early in the new year. The section of the Greenway from Pairc Ui Chaoimh to the N40 flyover will re-open in the weeks ahead. However, all associated access ramps will only be fully open by early summer 2022. Completion of the Marina ramp will be delayed due to the required timeframe for settlement of soil. However it is expected to be fully complete by the end of the 2022”.
29 October 2021, “Cork city councillor and local historian Kieran McCarthy has called on the council to enhance their signage in city cemeteries to help locate burial plots. The Independent councillor put forward a motion in which he stated that although many of the city’s cemeteries are well maintained, in some of the older cemeteries it is difficult to locate faded inscribed numerical markers”, Councillor calls for signage in city cemeteries to be enhanced, Councillor calls for signage in city cemeteries to be enhanced (echolive.ie)
October 1921 coincided with many public events, which
drew a focus on the importance of the beginning of the Treaty negotiations in
London. Rural events called “aerideachts” or cultural events returned, which focussed
on Irish music and on orations on Irish nationalism. Such events were banned just
before the physical months of the War of Independence. But as peace reigned in
the autumn of the 1921, such events returned and were used once again as a
political tool by Sinn Féin to outreach to the Irish public.
On Sunday 2 October 1921, the Cork Examiner reports
that thousands of visitors mustered at Crossbarry aeridheacht. The event
commenced at 2pm. A special train left Cork for Kinsale Junction at noon, and
another special left Clonakilty at the same hour, both calling at intermediate
stations. Teas and refreshments were supplied on the grounds. Threatening rainfall
though did lessen the crowds from Cork City. However, large numbers travelled
to Crossbarry in motor cars, motor lorries, horse traps and horse cars of all
descriptions, as well as on bicycles and on foot. Towards the close of the programme,
persistent rain began to fall but those present did not leave.
The fixture was held in a field adjoining the road at
the point where the Crossbarry Ambush was carried out. Previous to the opening
of the programme, many people who had come to Crossbarry occupied themselves in
visiting the various places of interest in connection with the engagement – the
points occupied by the military in their advancing movements and the line of
retreat of the IRA, and houses involved with the ambush.
The very best talent including All-Ireland
prize-winners contributed to the success of the aeridheacht programme. This
comprised singers of traditional songs, Gaelic dancing, and the Irish music and
sport. Members of the Cork Pipers’ Club and also the Bandon and Kinsale Pipers’
Club were participants.
Commandants Tom Barry and Seán Hales TD presided. Addressing
the gathering, Tom Barry was enthusiastically received and had been asked by
the committee to say a few words to the people present. In his opinion an
aeridheacht was not the place for speaking on matters affecting the government
of the country, and he would confine himself to matters affecting him
personally as a “Soldier of the Irish Republic”. Probably the matter engaging
their attention more so than any other at that moment was the Truce. He
outlined that the Irish Republican Army had entered into the Truce, not at its
own request, but at the request of others but would adhere to the terms, noting
– “We have entered into it loyally, and with every intention of scrupulously
adhering to its terms. We have expected the enemy to keep the terms as
strictly, but as we all know, this was far from the case”.
Continuing Tom Barry referred to a breach of Truce
conditions through the actions of the Royal Irish Constabulary in Tipperary
Town in September (1921) and said it had been stated that it was not the
intention of either side to make a statement in reference to the matter pending
Another matter concerning the Truce was the treatment
of Irish prisoners by Irish gaols. Citing the case of Cork Gaol, Tom Barry said
the men undergoing sentences of imprisonment with hard labour were placed on
the same status as prisoners. He highlighted that 6,000 men were being treated
in gaols and camps as criminals. Tom Barry argued: “The Irish Republican Army
was recognised by the British Government as an army of soldiers, but their
comrades in gaol were treated as criminals”.
Tom Barry noted that he would not go into the question
of whether there would or would not be peace as a result of the negotiations.
He stated that the Irish Republican Army was there to act under the orders of
the Government of the Republic – “they were not looking for war, but they were
ready for it. The country wanted liberty, and would insist on getting it…we
must not forget that from this particular area, people had laid down their
lives in the cause. Some had died almost on the very field in which the people
were standing…it was the duty of everyone to be prepared to fight on if
necessary…the people around West Cork as a whole, and of that district, in
particular, had always backed up the Army as those of no other district in the
country had done”.
Seán Hales in his speech reiterated Tom Barry’s
core points. In 1920, Seán was section commander of the West Cork Flying Column
and took part in the Crossbarry Ambush on 19 March 1921. In retaliation for the
arson attack on the Hales home in Knocknacurra House, Ballinadee, Bandon, in March 1921, he led a contingent of Volunteers and burned Castle Bernard,
the residence of the earl of Bandon. The occupant, Lord Bandon, was held hostage until General
Strickland, the British Officer-in-Command, assured he would not execute
Volunteers in Cork prison. The British authorities conceded and there was a
conclusion to the policy of executing prisoners of war in the Cork area. Seán
was elected to the Bandon county electoral area in June 1920, nominated to Dáil
Éireann as a Sinn Féin candidate in the May 1921 elections held in fulfilment
of the Government of Ireland Act.
On that Sunday 2 October 1921, two other Aeridheachts
– one at Clondrohid and one at Youghal – were held. The Clondrohid event
focussed on the importance of the Irish language. Mr Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire from
the Munster Training College in Ballingeary delivered what was described a
powerful address in Irish with the core focus on the need for Irish citizens to
speak Irish more. Meanwhile at Youghal, David Kent and Mary MacSwiney gave addresses,
which focussed on the history of the Irish Independence movement and setting
out their perspective for a modern Ireland.
Crossbarry Ambush Memorial, present day, sculpted by Terry McCarthy and erected
in 1966 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1123b. Detail of cross on
Crossbarry Ambush Memorial, present day, sculpted by Terry McCarthy and erected
in 1966 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
It is true to say that Bishop Lucey Park has served this city well since 1985.
It’s been 36 years since the park has been revisited as a whole.
The site has always been in flux with interesting ideas on the nature of Cork’s urbanity.
Delving into a site biography of the park site and one can see old seventeenth and eighteenth century maps of the city showcasing the structural legacies of an alms house and a school associated with Christ Church – so the site initially was space of helping citizens and one of education.
Fastforward to the mid-twentieth century and the demolishing of such buildings created an open sore in the heart of the city.
The additional decision in the 1970s to build Cork’s first public carpark on the site was deemed a constructive one at the time but was bound up with the city’s struggle to cope with increased cars and the demand for car parks.
But it was the city’s University archaeologists that put Cork Corporation thinking on another track in a very short time.
The excavation in the late 1970s by the late Dermot Twohig showcased what stories lay beneath the old school and almshouse. It was the first urban excavation in Cork City.
Finding timber tree trunks as foundational supports for medieval housing, collapsed fourteenth century wattle walls and full to the brim timber lined pits with shells and associated objects re-ignited an interest in the city’s medieval and resilient past.
The dept of archaeological work completed in the 1980s can be viewed in the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society in Cork City Library and online.
That coupled with various local historians, the late Sylvester O’Sullivan, who was the Corporation’s autobiographer of the history of its officials and engineers, and of course the late Seán Pettit, amongst others in the hallowed halls of UCC’s history department, who wrote at length newspaper articles and conducted walking tours, and who put public pressure on the Corporation Cllrs and the officials to create something more beneficial than a car park on the site.
And credit needs to be given to our predecessors in 1984 and 1985 for their vision and their re-interpretation of what was a derelict site and for taking a risk with it. Indeed, their risk in creating Cork 800 – the celebration of Cork’s being granted its first urban charter in 1985 – was one that laid many foundations across many arts and cultural fields and left our generation many positive cultural legacies especially in the fields of heritage, music and dance in the present day.
The centre piece of the celebrations was to be a new inner city public park. Majority support was expressed in the Council chamber for its name Bishop Lucey, who had just passed away – and was widely acknowledged for his work on the creation of the city’s rosary churches and associated community centre infrastructure and in the creation of the Credit Union system in Cork.
Of course when it came to laying out the park, the experience of the city’s archaeologists came to bear as foundations of the town wall were discovered. Indeed, such experience is very apparent in an interview with Maurice Hurley, consultant archaeologist at the time who spoke to RTE news – a piece of which is now archived online – when he went through the finds on the site, the nature of the town wall discovery and called for a larger museum for the city.
The City was also blessed to have Tony McNamara, City Architect, working in the city at the time – his re-engaging with the old cornmarket gates at City Hall and finding them a home at the entrance to Bishop Lucey Park as is thanks due to the vision of other City hall officials over the years, who gathered sculptures such as Seamus Murphy’s Onion Seller and plaques to the men of the 1798 rebellion and in more recent years the boxing wall memorial plaques.
One also needs to nod to the wider environs and the infrastructure work that has gone on there – the widening of the Grand Parade project, the re-orientation of Berwick Fountain, and the reputed seventeenth century canon.
Indeed, not only has Bishop Lucey Park served this city well over its 35 years – this little park has served as an inspirational platform for conversations on dereliction, environmental and greening challenges, well-bring, public art, incorporation of archaeological finds, conservation and preservation of urban memories and stories – to name but a few – but above all it is a little oasis in a busy city, which adds immensely to the heart of the city’s beating sense of place and identity. It is a place to be cherished and minded going forward. It has given the city so much over its 35 years but also the wider site has a long heritage of a number of centuries.
My thanks to Tony Duggan and his team for his work on our re-interpretation in the present day, and look forward to see the re-animation of Bishop Lucey Park.
More to be added at some point!
Kieran’s submission, Ref: Public Consultation, Bishop Lucey Park Regeneration Project, 16 August 2021
Dear City Architect’s Office,
I wish to warmly welcome the regeneration proposals for Bishop Lucey Park and its surrounds. I outline below a number of comments;
On areas outside of the park on Tuckey Street and on South Main Street extending to South Gate Bridge, there is an opportunity to demarcate archaeology reference points through lining perhaps or other different coloured road surface material – e.g. the original width of Medieval South Main Street, the old drawbridge tower on the South Main Street side of South Gate Bridge, or at Keyser’s Hill.
Within Bishop Lucey Park, the Pavilion feature is welcome plus it would be great to have info panels in it on the surviving town wall section. The 1985 Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society archaeology report on the town wall section by Maurice Hurley should be revisited and possible ideas of artwork and symbolism gleamed from it.
It would be great if the tower feature on the South Main Street side could be moved to the Grand Parade side – it would be great to mark the site of Hopewell Castle, the walled town turret, which in modern day terms existed at the Grand Parade side of the former Christ Church lane. The rectangular foundations of the tower were exposed in preparation works for the park in 1984 but were destroyed inadvertently.
I have an open mind on the current Cork 800 fountain site within the park. The core part of it really are the eight swans, which represent 800 years since Cork’s first charter. There is an opportunity, I feel, to create a new sculptural piece, which would not take up as much space as the large fountain and the eight swans could be incorporated into the new sculpture. Such a sculpture could also bring together the existing plaques in the park together – boxing memorials, 1798 memorial, and even Seamus Murphy’s Onion Seller sculpture.
Such latter clustering of heritage assets, perhaps next to the window ruins of Lyons Clothing Factory, may free up more public realm space – in particular helping to create more of an effective greening strategy for the park itself.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the most
recent update on the Bus Connects project by Cork City Council’s Roads and
Transportation Directorate. The improvement and expansion of Cork bus services
has been a long- standing objective for the City. The availability of frequent,
reliable and cost effective bus based transport is a critical enabler for the
planned growth in Cork over the period to 2040. Bus Connects is a key component
of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy and it is supported by the
National Development Plan.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “The National Transport Authority
(NTA) is now progressing the necessary measures for planning and delivering Bus
Connects in Cork. Additional staff have also been recruited by the City Council
with National Transport Authority assistance to support the development and
roll out of the programme. A number of separate design teams have been
appointed to develop concept designs for the core bus corridors. These corridor
improvements will be necessary for the efficient running of an expanded bus
service and will include provision for bus priority as well as cycle and
Cllr McCarthy continued: “The issues to be
addressed in the network review were presented for public consultation in July
2021 and submissions received have been fed into the design process. It is
expected that the emerging draft network proposals will be subject to further
consultation in November 2021 and that the revised network layout will be
published in quarter one of 2022”.
to a Truce: Commemorating Terence MacSwiney, One True Man
1921 coincided with the first annual anniversary of Terence MacSwiney’s death.
He was commemorated through a number of means – many of which were politically linked
to the formal opening of the Treaty negotiations in London. First up on Sunday
16 October 1921 Dublin’s Abbey Theatre presented Terence’s play The Revolutionist (1915), which was presented by
special permission by the MacSwiney family. The proceedings were in aid of the
Irish Republican Prisoners Dependents’ Fund.
the play’s interval, an interesting address was delivered by Richard Mulcahy, Chief
of Staff of the Irish Republican Army. He expressed regret that the committee
of the fund had been unable to get Mary MacSwiney to deliver an address. He
said that Terence MacSwiney needed no introduction to them. Mr Mulcahy referred
to some of his associations with Terence mentioning that his first introduction
to him was through reading some “wonderful articles” on the pages of the
newspaper entitled Irish Freedom. Irish society, said the speaker, was “on
the threshold of big things” and they faced a future with the realisation that
all of them had certain duties if they were going to win. He noted: “A few men could
do very great things, but it was the people of Ireland who are fighting against
the enemy. The few men doing great things could be undermined if the people of
Ireland did not realise that these great things were to be done and if as a whole,
they do not make themselves one in the work and on the outlook of those great
October 1921, a demonstration in commemoration of Terence MacSwiney was held in
Trafalgar Square. The members of 40 branches of the London district committee
of the Irish Self Determination League (ISDL) of Great Britain, many of which
were Sinn Féin supporters, were present at full strength. These contingents
were headed up by banner bearers and accompanied by pipers, brass and reeds,
and fife from drum bands. They marched through different thoroughfares on their
way to the square.
Square, Republican colours were worn by large numbers of the crowd while colour
draped banners hung in different positions around the plinth of the Nelson
monument. A number of these banners contained models, one of which attracted a
good deal of attention been written as follows – “In loving memory of Terence MacSwiney,
Irish Patriot, who died for his country in Brixton Gaol, October 25th, 1920 –
One True Man”.
audience heard stirring speeches, which made reference to Terence’s great
sacrifice. Art O’Brien, Vice President, ISDL of Great Britain, and Sinn Féin
London correspondent & Dáil Éireann Envoy to London, opened the proceedings.
After him the crowd was addressed by other speakers from three platforms.
Alderman Liam de Róiste was present, representing Cork and the municipality.
Liam was greeted with loud cheers and cries of “Up the Rebels” and “Up Cork”.
He said as a friend of Lord Mayor MacSwiney and as a representative from his
city he deemed it his duty to attend the demonstration to honour an Irish patriot.
He highlighted that it was important that Terence’s memory should be honoured
in London because “it was in an English gaol, he laid down his life for Ireland”
and that his memory is honoured in Cork and in Ireland and throughout the
the conclusion of the addresses, a resolution was simultaneously submitted from
each platform and the following was adopted unanimously and enthusiastically;
“That this meeting of Irish
residents in London expresses its reverent admiration for the glory of
sacrifice made by Terence MacSwiney in defence of the rise of his country, and
its sincere respect for his memory; and the Irish residents in London further take
this opportunity to call for the release of all Irish prisoners and internees
who, like Terence MacSwiney, have been seized and imprisoned by the British
government on account of the part they have taken in Ireland’s fight for
the anniversary of Terence’s death on 25 October 1921 at Saint Georges
Cathedral, Southwark, London, a requiem mass was held for him. It was attended
by the Irish delegates to the peace conference negotiations as well as by other
Irish people living in London.
on 25 October, high mass was celebrated for the repose of the souls of Terence
MacSwiney, Michael Fitzgerald, and Joseph Murphy at the North Cathedral. Bishop
Daniel Cohalan presided. There was a full attendance of clergy, and members of Cork
Corporation, Cork Harbour Board, the Cork United Trades and Labour Council, the
University College, and the city’s hospitals – were all represented.
In addition, a beautiful portrait
of Terence got a formal showing and was unveiled at the Munster Fine Art Club
in the gallery of the Crawford Municipal School of Art. It was completed by the
school’s principal Hugh Charde.in late 1920. A native of Cobh, Hugh Charde (1858-1946) was Principal
of the Crawford School of Art from 1919 to 1937. He was a teacher in the School
as far back as 1889 and received his early tuition in the Drawing School of the
North Monastery. He later studied at the School of Art under Mr James Brennan,
RHA. Apart from instructing and encouraging young art students, during his
forty-eight years connection with the School of Art, Hugh Charde was a painter
of great ability himself. Of latter years he specialised in water colours. Hugh
Charde was also the founder of the Munster Fine Art Club, of which he was
President for very many years. The Terence MacSwiney painting is still a much
favoured piece within the collection of the current Crawford Art Gallery.
1122a. Hugh C. Charde’s
Portrait of Terence MacSwiney, 1920, oil on canvas, 77 x 64 cm. Collection
Crawford Art Gallery, Cork. Many thanks to Michael Waldron for his help at the
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has
welcomed the replacement of lead service connections in the Blackrock area to
provide a more reliable water supply and improve water quality. The project is
a collaboration project between Irish Water Cork City Council.
Works are due to be undertaken on the
Blackrock Road (greenway crossing to pier), Church Avenue, Glandore Avenue,
Post Office Avenue, the Marina, Castle Road, Convent Avenue, Rope Walk, Upper
Convent Road, Castle Avenue, Sandy Lane and Dunloe Cottages. This will involve
the replacement of existing lead pipes connecting the public water network to a
customer’s property with modern polyethylene (plastic) pipes. Property owners
will be notified if it is likely that there is lead present within the boundary
of their property. Property owners are responsible for replacing this lead.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “These works have been
called for by local residents for a long time. Works are limited to short
sections to minimise impact on customers. They may involve some short-term
water outages. It is crucial though that the project team engage on the ground
and ensure that customers are given a minimum of 48 hours prior notice of any
planned water outages. A local traffic management needs to be put in place. It
is important that emergency traffic and local traffic, including deliveries,
are maintained at all times”.
Residents and businesses in the areas to
benefit from the planned improvements will be notified directly and customers
can phone Irish Water on 1800 278 278 if they have any questions about the
In October 1921,
Irish newspaper outlets reported on the second visit of representatives of the
American Committee for the Relief of Irish Distress. They came to view sites of
devastation plus also how their White Cross fund was being distributed.
December 1920, the Committee for the Relief of Irish Distress was founded in
America by Dr
William J Maloney, a Republican cause sympathiser. The committee was inspired by the many charitable
organisations that went out from the United States to offer relief in the days
of the First World War. The committee influenced a series of great drives for
funds, which were organised throughout 48 States of America. In a short period
of time, it had at its command a large sum – approximately five million dollars
– for the relief of people in Ireland.
From the establishment
of the committee American members of the Religious Society of Friends were
prominent in the ranks of its active members. In January 1921, several members
of the latter group with experience in relief and reconstruction work in France
and other areas devastated in the great war arrived in Ireland. Their mission lasted
until April 1921. The delegation’s subsequent published report in August 1922 (which
in the present day is now digitally scanned and online) outlines that during their
first visit members visited nearly one hundred communities in Ireland in which
acute distress existed.
delegation’s first visit, over the ensuing 18 months £788,215 was sent to
Ireland to be distributed through the Irish White Cross in Dublin and down to
parish committees and in the Cork context to the city’s own Distress Committee.
A total of £170,1398 was sent to Cork City to be distributed to those effected
by the Irish War of Independence. For the most part documentation has not
survived of how the Cork fund was spent.
One of the most
prominent projects though of which information has survived was the near £5,000
spent was on the landscaping of The Lough during the summer and autumn of 1921.
Nineteenth century maps of The Lough show the varied shapes of the natural
spring lake, whose volume could grow and substract depending on the rain. It
was also riddled with a build up of mud and overgrowth extending beyond its
island birdlife island.
The 1921 works
programme involved removing a depth of mud from four to ten feet deep in some
places exposing the lake’s gravel bed. The mud was deemed a dangerous feature,
both as a trap during skating times and a danger generator in the summer
months, when the mud was exposed in the hot sun. During the summer and autumn
of 1921, forty to fifty men were employed in the work per week, and in the
short time, they removed hundreds of tons of mud. A Fordson tractor and lorry
were kindly supplied by Messrs Henry Ford and Son. The horse transport and
tools were provided by the Corporation of Cork.
Arising from the
provision of the a horse and tools, the works programme was discussed at the
meetings of Corporation members across September and October 1921. Apart from
the removal of layers of mud, several other features were pursued – the reclaiming
of ground to enable a playground for children, consolidating the immediate path
around the Lough by providing kerbing on the edge of the Lough, creating an
outside path twenty metres from the water’s edge as well as cutting small
canals through the wildlife island to facilitate the further shelter of
birdlife. It is all of the latter landscaping that has created the modern look
of The Lough today.
On 14 October
1921, representatives of the Committee for the Relief of Irish Distress arrived
back in Cork for another tour of Cork City – to hear about its reconstruction
and to hear where possible further fundraised funding could go towards. The notable
US representatives comprised Mr John J Pulleyn, Judge Richard Campbell, Miss
Pulleyn, and Mr and Mrs C J France. In the course of an interview with the Cork
Examiner the delegation outlined they had already visited Dublin, Wicklow,
Wexford, part of Kilkenny and Tipperary.
On arrival by
motor car to the city, they were welcomed by Lord Mayor Donal Óg O’Callaghan
and a number of local councillors. During their visit in Cork they visited the
city centre’s burnt ruins to see the devastation first hand and to hear about
the reconstruction challenges. The took a trip down the harbour with Frank
Daly, the chairman of the Cork Harbour Commissioners, to hear about the port’s
future economic prospects and also took time to kiss the Blarney Stone.
At a packed formal
dinner in the city centre, which was held to mark the stay of the
representatives, a number of speeches were made by. Judge Campbell noted he had
just read what he deemed as one of the “best classics” – The Principles of
Freedom, by Terence McSwiney – a collection of his writings compiled after
his death. He remarked that it was a great honour to speak in front of Terence’s
sister Mary McSwiney. He believed that her brother’s book upon the subject of liberty
would “do honour to any country, and that the author would go down in history
for the part he had played in the fight for liberty”. Mary McSwiney was asked
to reply and she thanked the representatives present for all they had done and
what they were still doing for Ireland, and referenced her brother’s ongoing
legacy to the cause of Irish freedom.
representatives Committee for the Relief of Irish Distress left the city to
travel to Bantry and from there to Killarney and Tralee, Limerick, Clare,
Galway, Mayo, Donegal and Belfast before returning to Dublin.
1121a. The Lough, present day, showing landscaped areas funded by the Irish White Cros fund – footpath kerbing and landscaping were principle elements that can be viewed today (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
7 October 2021, “Cllr McCarthy explained that Cork City Council Council is also continuing to work with the multitude of landowners on the renewal part of Avenue De Rennes. “What has been revealed is a complex network of over a dozen owners of property in a small area,” he said, He said a substantial packet of investment, probably from central government may be needed to help renew the area, “Welcome for news that vacant building in Mahon will be demolished and redeveloped”, Welcome for news that vacant building in Mahon will be demolished and redeveloped (echolive.ie)