A series of events are currently being planned for this summer to mark the 300th anniversary of the construction of Cork’s Mardyke Walk. They will be hosted by the arts, environment and parks section of Cork City Council. Local historian and Cllr Kieran McCarthy who lobbied for tricentenary events praised the initiative of the Council; “the construction of the Mardyke took place in 1719 to provide a promenade for the City residents, to offer pleasant recreation walks and thereby improve the health and well being of city dwellers. The celebration will consist of cultural, artistic, heritage, science and sporting events to acknowledge the contribution that the Mardyke has given to the general public”.
A City wide survey including the expanded area of public art and sculptures is also being pursued. Cllr Kieran McCarthy has noted that a new survey has been long overdue. “Some of the city’s sculptures need a conservation plan as well. For example some of Seamus Murphy’s works through weathering in Fitzgerald’s Park need a plan going forward”.
Cllr McCarthy continued: “Circa the mid-1960s, a Cork Sculpture Park Committee was established to create one in Fitzgerald’s Park. Professor Aloys Fleischman was the Committee’s Chairman. Seamus Murphy’s bronze bust of Michael Collins was one of the first of series of sculptures by the artist to be unveiled in the park’s landscape on 15 June 1966. In November 1977, Seamus Murphy’s Dreamline was an over life-size study of the head of the Madonna, carved in Portland stone, was completed by Seamus Murphy, in 1932, when he was 25 years of age. It was first exhibited in 1934 in Cork. Later it was shown, among other places at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin”.
“The work of work such as Marshall C Hutson and Joseph Higgins can also be viewed in the park. In 2016 a Seamus Murphy bronze cast of Eamonn DeValera was donated to Cork City Council and erected on a pedestal in the park. The installation of the sculptures in the park through time also inspired the situating of sculptures in other parts of the city”.
Mardyke 300 is one 15 projects to be funded by the Creative Ireland Programme. Funding has been confirmed as £34,000 from the Department of Housing and Local Government, e15,000 for Cruinniú na nÓg and further e62,000 from the Department of Culture Heritage and the Gaeltacht. This funding is to be provided to projects such as literary ones, Cork’s musical heritage, a Medieval day at Elizabeth Fort, history and archives workshops plus information leaflets on St Finbarr’s and St Joseph’s Cemetery.