Monthly Archives: January 2023

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 26 January 2023

1186a. Fr Thomas Dowling, on the left, c.1924 from The Irish Capuchins, Record of a Century, 1885-1985.
1186a. Fr Thomas Dowling, on the left, c.1924 from The Irish Capuchins, Record of a Century, 1885-1985.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 26 January 2023

Recasting Cork: Fr Thomas Leaves

The departure of Capuchin Fr Thomas Dowling for the United States in late January 1923 was deemed an end of an era and a distinct loss to the city and the country and a gain for the US. He was bound for mission work in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other places in California.

For many years Fr Thomas took a leading part in the settling up of harbour disputes and industrial trouble. In general, he gained the confidence of employers and employees. His obituary in the Cork Examiner on 9 January 1951 highlights that he was a native of Kilkenny, where he was born in 1874. He entered the Capuchin Order in his native city at the age of sixteen and was ordained in the Capuchin Church in Kilkenny in December 1896. He arrived shortly afterwards to Cork’s Holy Trinity Church.

            In his early years in Cork Fr Thomas directed the Total Abstinence Society attached to the Holy Trinity Church.  He hosted 300 members of the Total Abstinence Society. Recreational events took place in a nearby building.  On 30 January 1907, the present Fr Mathew Hall was opened in what was then Queen Street. Fr Dowling led the work to create a good auditorium for plays and concerts and plenty of rooms for activities such as a billiard room, a card room, a reading room. For a time attempts were made to run pictures – it was called a Picturedrome. 

Fr Thomas, who had studied social reform, threw himself wholeheartedly into the work of mediation and arbitration in 1918 between employers and trade unions. In late February 1919, he even succeeded in establishing a Cork Conciliation Board and was its first president. It consisted of four delegates from the Employers’ Federation and four appointed by the Cork and District Trade and Labour Council. 

Fr Thomas clocked up notable accolades. The Freedom of Cork City was conferred upon him in June 1918. The Senate of the National University of Ireland paid tribute in 1920 by conferring on him the honorary degree of LL.D. A physical recognition for his general services for the Cork Trade Unions exists in a stained-glass window, to his memory in Holy Trinity Church. It was unveiled on 4 May 1919 and was the design of the famous stained-glass artist Harry Clarke but it was made by his father Joshua.

The high esteem in which Fr Thomas was held was shown from the fact that the representatives of the labour movement in Cork joined in seeing him off on his journey to America in January 1923. Fr Thomas left Cork for Cobh by the 1pm train on Saturday 20 January. Amongst those on the platform were Mr George Nason, President and Mr George Duncan. Secretary, of the Cork Workers’ Council, and many officers of and delegates to that body. Representatives of the Employers’ Federation and of many trade organisations were also on the platform to wish Fr Thomas good luck on his journey and to express the hope that he would return to Ireland in the near future to resume his work. There were several priests on the platform from the Capuchin order as well as large numbers of the general public.

A journalist writing for the Cork Examiner describes that it was still very dark in the harbour as the tender boat with Fr Thomas left the White Star Line wharf in Cobh with passengers and 187 sacks of lrish mails for embarkation on board the beautiful new ship Regina, outward bound from Liverpool to New York via Cobh. The Regina had already made some trips across the Atlantic, but this was its first time at Cork Harbour. She was a new type of linerfavouredby shipping companies who were making modern additions to their fleets of passenger ships. The journalist remarked of the Regina;

“Looking at the Regina as she gracefully came to anchor under the lee of the cliffs at the western shore of the harbour’s entrance, she looked a model of beauty, and ongoing on board her interior was found to be in keeping with her external appearance, her appointments, and general scheme of arrangement being the acme of perfection in marine architecture, and all at the service of travellers who patronised her, at a cost very appreciably less than similar accommodation on larger and more pretentious liners”.

After Fr Thomas chatted with the commander of the Regina Captain W A Morehouse, to whom he was introduced to by the Marine Superintendent of the White Star Line at Cobh Captain English, Fr Thomas noted that he was right in his decision to select the Regina for crossing to New York on this occasion.

The goodbye party also accompanied Fr Thomas out on the tender boat. Amongst them were Rev Brother De Paul, Superior Presentation College, and Brother Killian of Cobh, and Captain Brown of the National Army, Commanding Officer at Cobh; Mr T O’Brien represented the Cobh General Post Office, Cork and the Cork District Trade and Labour Council was represented by Mr D Kelleher and Mr T McDonnell.

As a companion on the voyage, Fr Thomas had Fr Berchmans of the Capuchin Order with him, also going to California.

Fr Thomas was asked by a Cork Examiner representative as to whether he had added another success to the many successes he had already attained in Irish labour disputes – this time in the settling of the Cork dockers’ strike, which was happening at the time (see more in next week’s article). Fr Thomas replied that he was hopeful he had and that he had made a series of recommendations to the dockers’ representative committee.  


1186a. Fr Thomas Dowling, on the left, c.1924 from The Irish Capuchins, Record of a Century, 1885-1985.

New Educate Together School and Safety Challenges, Old Carrigaline Road, 24 January 2023

Lots of questions from parents today.

Detailed design of a public walkway by Cork City Council is ongoing at the back of Berkely estate opp Maryborough Woods following the Ballybrack Stream i.e. away from the main road to the back entrance of the school is planned to be opened in September 2023.

The CPO process of land has slowed the process down. Tenders are going out in March 2023. Construction is due during the summer.

No widening works are envisaged for the main road as the priority pedestrian path for the school will be along the stream valley.

I was asked today to ask the local roads engineer to clear the vegetation from the main road’s footpath and erect more slow down signage on the main road.

I have positive feedback on the local engineer today (see below):

“I have visited the school today yesterday and met with the principal there last week.

As with any new school there is naturally initial nerves/concerns.

I will be able to get my crews out to do a clean up on the original foothpaths to the school that may help.

I have spoken to the traffic department, and they are looking into the matter….e.g., signs, road markings, speed limits etc

I do note that there are currently SLOW markings on the road, and a new traffic light junction which is in itself a traffic calming measure.

I would always say in situations like this that speed and driver behaviour is an issue for the Gardai, however we will help in any way we can

That’s my thoughts on the matter, I should have the foothpath cleared very soon”.


Marina Park, Phase 2 Start, 23 January 2023

The next and exciting final phase of Cork’s new Marina Park is on course to begin this summer with advance works to take place over the coming weeks, Cork City Council has confirmed.

With the next phase of the 70 acre Marina Park on course to begin this summer, advance works are taking place over the coming weeks.

A long-term ambition of Cork City Council, the completed park will be six times larger than Fitzgerald’s Park and equivalent in size to Dublin Zoo. Phase 1 of the park (14 acres) was officially opened in June 2022.

Just 2.5 kilometres from the city centre, Marina Park is a key economic driver and catalyst for Cork Docklands.  This next and final phase of Marina Park will extend from The Atlantic Pond to Church Avenue and will accommodate picnic areas, adventure play areas, new paths, a preserved marshland zone and the restoration of several architectural heritage sites. It will deliver high-quality public space and landscaping while protecting and enhancing the natural heritage and biodiversity of the area.

To facilitate the development of woodland trails and paths, some trees and scrub must be removed in the coming weeks. Ten trees will be removed to facilitate construction of the approved park design and a further 16 trees will be removed as they are diseased or dead and hence pose a safety concern. Extensive new tree planting (70+ trees) forms part of the next stage of the park, based on expert biodiversity and landscape advice, with a focus on biodiverse native planting.

The Marina Park works will include:

  • The upgrading and creation of accessible, formal and informal paths and trails throughout the park.
  • The restoration and preservation of heritage structures within the park and the creation of a heritage trail to highlight the unique history of the marina 
  • Improvements works to the Atlantic Pond area including the removal of the existing concrete edging and replacement with a selection of hard and soft landscapes, improved seating provision and replacement of the existing concrete bridge. 
  • The provision of a nature playground as well as various play areas throughout the park
  • The ecological management of the meadows, woodlands and marsh areas to promote and increase the biodiversity of the area embracing and enhancing the existing natural assets of the site including the Atlantic Pond, the Marsh, mature woodland, and open meadow areas
  • Provision of sensitive public lighting and feature lighting 
  • Other associated works including park furniture, points of interest, wayfinding etc.

Learn more about The Marina’s history here with Kieran: History Trail, The Marina | Cork Heritage

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 19 January 2023

1185a. Slum conditions in Kelly Street, Cork, formerly off Shandon Street c.1900 (source: Cork Public Museum).
1185a. Slum conditions in Kelly Street, Cork, formerly off Shandon Street c.1900 (source: Cork Public Museum).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 19 January 2023

Recasting Cork: A Vision for Refuse

Cork Corporation records from one hundred years contain very detailed reports on a myriad of topics. One report, which was published in January 1923 in the Cork Examiner, was a report on street scavenging and cleaning.

The report outlines that the system for refuse collection for the City of Cork was antiquated and had consequently given rise to many complaints by the citizens. The Corporation’s Public Works Committee wished to introduce a reorganisation of the dumping of refuse, mud and manure and to move towards a better efficient and more economic service.

There was difficulty to obtain satisfactory dumping grounds for accumulated refuse. The procurable sites in the city’s suburbs were often situated at too great a distance, while the passages leading to some of these grounds were steep and ill-kept. The contents of each cart were on average more than about 12 cwts in weight.

The collection and removal of the street mud, together with the removal of the street manure, was under the control of the Public Works Committee. The treatment of the domestic scavenging was placed under the jurisdiction of the Public Health Committee. Trade scavenging or refuse produced by traders was meant to be carried out by the inhabitants of the various shops and houses, but for the most part was directed to be carried out by the Public Works Committee. This Committee often struggled to cope with the amount of trade refuse and hence the overall result was disorganised.

The report recommended that there should be in the future one combined central committee of public works and public health, which would he held responsible for the competency of the whole refuse work programme. In addition the report proposed that the traders should pay a cost towards an efficient facility; “By this means it will be found that a systematic collection of paper, boxes, etc., can be satisfactorily dealt with, and the present exposure of such rubbish which, flies about the streets in windy weather obviated to the benefit and health of the citizens”.

 The street cleansing staff worked across six defined geographical areas of the city with 40 men employed across winter, 41 men during the summer with 17 cart carriers in the winter and 14 cart carriers in the summer. Each of the areas included a ganger.

The report outlined that there was a certain number of older men who were employed and who had devoted years of work in the service of the Corporation. However, by reason of their ages they were unable to carry out a full day’s work. The report suggested that such men should be distributed amongst the younger men in the various areas, so as to support the spread of the heavier work across more able and younger staff members.

The lane-cleaning staff across five city areas comprised 25 men who swept the lanes the lanes of the city and collected the street manure. Eleven cart carriers assisted them in the taking away of what these latter staff collected. They were all under the direction of one ganger in each area.

The total number of loads of mud removed per month from the city’s divisional work area comprised 15,000 loads at 12 cwts, which came to 9,000 tons per annum. It was estimated that 50-60 tons of refuse excluding the mud were daily collected for dumping across the city’s suburbs, historically in a controlled way.

The report suggested that dumping barges could be placed upon the two branches of the River Lee and the city could be divided into suitable sections served by the necessary men and carriers to collect and convoy the material to the barges. The barges when filled could then be possibly carried down the river to one overall controlled tipping ground, which was possibly exist between Tivoli and Dunkettle, which at that time were going . The proposal noted: “If we assume that we must provide for the daily removal of 60 tons, and that such removal necessitates two sites on the North river and two sites on the South river, the capacity of each barge would be 14-15 tons, or even, perhaps, 20 tons, which would only entail a small vessel”.

If the barge suggestion was to be entertained, the report highlighted that two important points needed to be resolved – (1) the dust, which would arise when unloading into the barges, and (2) the rise and fall of the tide during the loading periods within the city’s quaysides. It would be necessary to furnish the barges with proper covers and convey the refuse from the carts into the barges through “covered shoots, constructed telescopically. in order to automatically meet the rise and fall of the tide, which would be of daily occurrence”.

The report detailed that any reasonable capital outlay necessary to introduce a successful method of dumping mud at a controlled space would cost roughly £17,000. In explaining the report, Mr Joseph F Delaney, City Engineer, said that the whole point in the scheme was the changing of the extent system of dumping; “where at present, loads were carried to far away places on the outskirts of the city, it was proposed to remove them to quayside stations, and thence have them convoyed down the river in barges to Tivoli, or some other suitable dumping ground”.

The proposed central dump scheme was debated amongst Corporation Council members and sites at Tivoli and Dunkettle were visited. Nothing came out of the proposals immediately though, but the idea was indirectly green lit that the city should have a controlled dumping ground for all refuse, manure and mud collected. In 1934, one was established adjacent the Carrigrohane Road, which remained open until 1975, until the former landfill at Kinsale Road replaced it.


1185a. Slum conditions in Kelly Street, Cork, formerly off Shandon Street c.1900 (source: Cork Public Museum).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 12 January 2023

1184a. Queenstown, now Cobh, c.1920 (picture: Cork Public Museum).
1184a. Queenstown, now Cobh, c.1920 (picture: Cork Public Museum).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 12 January 2023

Recasting Cork: Visions for Trade and Commerce

In the first week of January 1923, a monthly meeting of the executive of Cork Chamber of Commerce convened. Chaired by Chamber President John Callaghan Foley, John Gamon, American Consul in Cobh, and Mr A Canavan, representative of the United States Lines, Cobh, were also in attendance. The President, in welcoming the representatives of the United States, noted that Ireland owed much to the States for the relief afforded the country not only since the Act of Union, 1800, but especially during the Irish War of Independence. He wished for a formal invitation be issued on behalf of the Irish chambers of commerce to the United States welcoming a delegation of American industrialists and commercial men to Ireland.  

Mr Canavan, on taking the floor, stated that very little was known of the industrial possibilities of Ireland in foreign countries and stated that if Ireland had an efficient publicity scheme in place, its natural resources would become more commercially important. He asserted: “At present foreigners merely thought of lreland as a sort of Emerald Isle where kings were always at cross-purposes… this country was on the eve of a big industrial revival, to meet the necessities of which, it was necessary to bring foreign representatives of commerce in close touch with industrial possibilities in this country”.

Mr Canavan detailed that the second International Meeting of the Chambers of Commerce was being held in Rome and 300 representatives of the States were expected to attend the meeting and had an itinerary marked out across other European countries but it did not include Ireland. He was of the opinion that if proper communication steps were taken, a number of the United States delegates could modify their arrangements as to include Ireland in the tour.

Mr Gamon read a few extracts from an official document setting out the business arrangements of the International Conference. He described that it was a function that had a distinctly international bearing on the world’s trade and commerce; “Ireland would be the loser by not taking part in the Conference as big problems dealing with international trade would be fully discussed”.

John Callaghan Foley, President, detailed that up to a few years ago Ireland’s trade and commerce began and ended with England – but in their more contemporary years the question of getting into contact with foreign countries was taken up by the Chamber. As a result, direct cargo and passenger services were brought into contact with the port of Cork from foreign ports like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Brest, Le Havre and Hamburg.

The Chamber was in constant touch with the Irish Consul’s residence at New York, Paris, Brussels and Genoa and was successful in securing much direct business for Irish firms. Since the Moore-McCormack Line had begun to operate, 50,000 tons of merchandise had been carried direct from American ports to Cork, and a freight saving of up to £30,000 had been affected by the direct shipping. Brokerage through England, Liverpool harbour dues, demurrage, etc., had in the past added much to the cost of marketing foreign produce in Ireland.

John Callaghan Foley detailed that the Chamber, in spite of almost insuperable difficulties, had backed this direct service with American ports; “It appeared at present that the whole industrial and commercial fabric of this little island had broken down. It was not so, however, as even up to the close of last year Ireland imported £200,000,000 of foreign goods annually. In view of this figure, I am of the opinion that it would be advisable for this Chamber to get into touch with all other Irish chambers for the purpose of cooperating in inviting United States trade delegations to this country”.

Chamber member Mr Patrick Crowley maintained that the time was opportune, and that combined steps should be taken to issue a formal invitation to an American trade delegation. Referring to the state of the country he was of opinion that Ireland looked much worse through Irish eyes than through foreign ones; “Considering the fact that there was trouble everywhere in all countries political, economic social and moral, Ireland is only experiencing its share of an economic and political unrest which had permeated the peoples of all countries”. He regarded it as a big surprise that Ireland was left out of the itinerary drawn up for the American meeting delegates to Europe. He personally knew as a director of the Irish International Trading Corporation (Cork), Ltd, that US firms were very keen on keeping up business with Irish enterprises.

John Callaghan Foley concluded that in view of the fact that Messrs Henry Ford and Son had come to Cork and were at present employing 2,000 men at their Cork works, that other American firms ought to be quick in realising the facilities offered along the 14 miles stretch from Cork to Cobh. Suitable sites for large factories were available. Mr Canavan agreed with the ideas that the development of Cork Harbour offered great advantages. He stated it was his opinion that Cork, so far as natural advantages were concerned, ranked first among Atlantic ports. He had hoped that liners of 200-foot length would soon visit Cork and place the harbour as part of their routes.


1184a. Queenstown, now Cobh, c.1920 (picture: Cork Public Museum).

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 9 January 2023

Question to CE:  

To ask the CE for an update and progress report on the resolution of the collapsed car park quay wall at South Gate Bridge (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).  


That the Cork City Council archaeology team consider the digitisation of former Cork City Council archaeology books for the archaeology sub site of the Council’s website or Cork Past and Present sub site of Cork City Library (Cllr Kieran McCarthy). 

That safer and sustainable car parking be created in the vicinity of Cinnamon Cottage, Monastery Road Rochestown in conjunction with the owner of the Cottage and other local stakeholders (Cllr Kieran McCarthy). 

That footpaths be created from Douglas Hall AFC, Moneygourney to the T junction at Garryduff Road. Currently there are no footpaths in place along the Moneygourney Road (Cllr Kieran McCarthy). 

To add Silverdale Road to the re-surfacing estates list of the south east local electoral area (Cllr Kieran McCarthy). 

Call for Kieran’s 2023 Ward Fund is now Open.

Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon, Douglas, Donnybrook, Maryborough, Rochestown, Mount Oval and Moneygourney with an interest in sharing in his 2023 ward funding to apply for his funds.

A total of E.12,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s ward funds. In general, contributions to groups range between e.150 to e.250 or slightly more depending on the project.

Application should be made via email to Kieran at or via letter (Richmond Villa, Douglas Road) by Friday 3 February 2023.

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?


Please Note:

  • 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, digital included, and that benefit the wider community.
  • Cllr McCarthy 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 particularly interested in funding community projects such as community environment projects such as tree planting and projects that that promote the rich history and environment within the south east of Cork City.
  • Cllr McCarthy publishes a list of his ward fund allocations each year on this page.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 5 January 2022

1183a. W T Cosgrave, c.1923 (source: Royal Irish Academy, Dublin).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 5 January 2023

Recasting Cork: A New Year for Hope and Unity

In his New Year’s message in just over 200 words published in regional newspapers such as the Cork Examiner on 2 January 1923 President of the new Irish Free State or Saorstát Éireann W T Cosgrave gave his core messages to the Irish people. He dwelt on themes of unity and hope with further references to sacrifices made and to make to ensure Saorstát Éireann would work. The President also dwelt on the democratic principle that the Oireachtas established under the Treaty and Constitution must be the sole sovereign authority in the country;

“Today we celebrate the first New Year’s Day in Saorstát Éireann. In our new-found liberty we can restore unhindered the language and culture of the Gael; develop our country and its trade: improve in every way the lives of our citizens; and, as a co-equal member in a Commonwealth of Free Nations, stand erect and recognised amongst the Nations of the earth.

The road of liberty has been marked by painful incidents, a small section of our people having engaged in destructive war upon the Nation. Our people desire Peace, and they intend to achieve it in the only way possible by establishing the right of the majority to rule within the Nation.

“Having attained our rightful place amongst the Nations we found democracy challenged, and in making secure the rights won, and in vindicating representative institutions, we have lost two great leaders. Many gallant soldiers and patriotic citizens of the Motherland, whose unselfish labours and suffering helped to found and consolidate Saorstát Éireann have given up their lives also in its defence.

The New Year opens, however, with a message of hope – hope for peace, order, and goodwill and hope for unity with our countrymen temporarily divorced from us.

To every citizen of the Saorstát and to every soldier of our chivalrous Army, I wish God’s blessing, and send cordial greetings for a Happy New Year”.

The press release message is surrounded on the Cork Examiner page of stories from different parts of Munster of ambushes, sniping, National Army troops capturing many more Republican anti treatyites in counties such as Kerry, the question of the treatment of prisoners and possible death sentences, Republicans who died in battle, and the burning of houses of senators of the new Seanad Éireann.

A special correspondent in Dublin of the Press Association detailed the response by President Cosgrave to a resolution of ex-officers of the Mid-Tipperary Brigade of the IRA, calling on the Government to meet the Republican leaders in conference with a view to ending the warfare. The President made it perfectly clear that the basis for peace must be that the Treaty would stand without retraction, explicit or implied, of any part of it;

“The Oireachtas established under the Treaty and Constitution shall be the sole sovereign authority, that there shall be no armed force or military organisation, and no carrying or keeping of arms or material of war except such as the same authorises that there shall be no claim on the part of any person coming; under a proposed peace to exercise power of Government, or to act so as to threaten or endanger life, liberty, property, or livelihood, and that there shall be no interference with the elections…Without these fundamental conditions any so-called peace can only be a false peace, endangering the whole future of Ireland and removing the hope of national unity”.

However, whilst the effects of the Civil War lingered across the Irish countryside there was a reprieve for citizens in cities such as Cork. The streets of Cork were now in the full control of the National Army. The stories of the sniping from the anti-treaty Republican side that existed across the winter of 1922 had ceded.

Most noticeably around New Year’s Day 1923, many concerts in community settings such as its hospitals, local schools and the Fr Mathew Hall, and city performance venues are listed in the Cork Examiner. For example, a concert was held at the Mercy Hospital on New Year’s Eve for the entertainment of wounded soldiers of the National Army, not alone in the institution, but also those undergoing treatment at the other hospitals in the city. Many well-known local artistes were amongst the dozen or so contributors, including a Mrs J H Horgan. At the conclusion of the entertainment, Mr T J O’Sullivan, Chairman of the Hospital Entertainment Society for the Wounded returned thanks to those who assisted in organising the concert. On behalf of the wounded soldiers, Commandant General Denis Galvin, who with some other officers of the National Army were present, also thanked the organisers and contributors.

After a closure for a considerable time in 1922, the Palace Theatre re-opened on New Year’s Day 1923. To avail of the programme, there were performances at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Both shows were crowded with patrons with the programme of being rooted in Vaudeville entertainment, underscored by a small orchestra under the baton of conductor Rupert Winston. Films were screened at the Coliseum, Assembly Rooms, Washington Cinema and at the Pavilion. New Year’s Day 1923 for many Corkonians brought a normality that had not been present for several years.

Happy New Year to all readers of the column.

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1183a. W T Cosgrave, c.1923 (source: Royal Irish Academy, Dublin).