The second of three books Kieran McCarthy has been involved in penning this year focuses on postcards of historic landscapes of North Cork. Entitled North Cork Through Time, it is compiled by Dan Breen of Cork Museum and Kieran and published by Amberley Press.
The region is defined by the meandering River Blackwater and its multiple tributaries and mountainous terrain to the north. It borders four counties that of Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. The postcards, taken for the most part between c.1900 and c.1920 show the work of various photographers, who sought to capture the region and sell their work to a mass audience. Not every town and village were captured in a postcard. This book brings together many of the key sites of interest and serves as an introduction to the rich history of the region. In the postcards, one can see the beauty that the photographers wished to share and express. The multitude of landmarks shown in this book have been passed from one generation to another, have evolved in response to their environments, and contribute to giving the County of Cork and its citizens a sense of identity and continuity.
Chapter one explores the border territory with County Kerry – a type of frontier territory for Cork people – its history epitomised in the elegant and well-built Kanturk Castle, the gorgeous town of Millstreet with its international equestrian centre and its access into the old historical butter roads of the region. Chapter 2 centres around the Limerick Road from Mallow to Charleville – Mallow a settlement with a heritage dating back 800 years and straddles the winding River Blackwater.
Chapter 3 glances at the area east of the Mallow-Limerick Road taking in the stunning Doneraile estate with the adjacent and spacious streetscape of the connected village. Killavullen, Castletownroche and Kilworth all present their industrial pasts. Mitchelstown stands in the ‘Golden Vale’ of the Galtee Mountains, its heritage being linked back to the Kingston estate and their big house, which dominated the local landscape with views on all it surveyed. Chapter 4 explores Fermoy, which because of its history and connection to a local military barracks possesses a fine range of postcards. Its bridge and weir, views of the Blackwater, the nineteenth century square, colourful streetscapes all reveal the passion for such a place by its photographers. North Cork Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen is available in any good bookshop.