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18 Jul 2017

Cllr McCarthy: Much work to be done before Bessboro should be sold

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   The selling of Bessboro House and ground is a cause for concern, according to local Cllr Kieran McCarthy. “Any developments should wait for the Mother and Baby Home Commission to finish their work; so everyone has the range of testimonies before them and that informed decisions can be made on the future of such sites such as Bessboro”.

“The house and parts of its environs are earmarked for development in the Mahon Local Area Plan but historically we are dealing with a late eighteenth century house and estate with a vast history. The order of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary set up the Bessboro Mother and Baby Home in 1924 and it lasted till 1996. It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 girls and women passed through its doors. In recent years, media reports, secured from the HSE, have revealed the extent of infant mortality in the mid twentieth century – rough estimates highlight that there are 1,200 children are buried in the graveyard in Bessboro”.

   Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed comments by Minister Katherine Zappone of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs who last week called for open and consistent communication with former residents of the Irish Mother and Baby Homes on the matters of concern to them. The Minister has committed that the updates will be published in the Mother and Baby Homes section on the Department’s website on the first Friday of every month. Cllr McCarthy has agreed with the Minister’s comment that the public need to have access to the same information at the same time. Minister Katherine Zappone recently invited former residents and their supporters to participate in a facilitated consultation process following the publication of the Second Interim Report of the Commission of Investigation. Over 100 people participated in the initial event on 30 June reflecting the high level of interest in engaging with this process.

  Cllr McCarthy continued; “I have called for arrangements for further events to be hosted in locations outside Dublin and across the country. Fourteen Mother and Baby Home and three County Homes are under scrutiny with the Mother and Baby Commission. It is highly important that as many people have an opportunity to have their say on their issues of concern on such Homes”.

18 Jul 2017

Pictures, Laya City Spectacular, Fitzgerald’s Park, 15-16 July 2017

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Great weekend of fun at Laya City Spectacular, Fitzgerald’s Park, 15-16 July 2017, thanks to all the organisers,

Laya City Spectacular event, Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. 17 July 2017

Laya City Spectacular event, Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. 17 July 2017

Laya City Spectacular event, Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. 17 July 2017

Laya City Spectacular event, Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. 17 July 2017

Laya City Spectacular event, Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. 17 July 2017

17 Jul 2017

Science for All, European Committee of the Regions Debate

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  Cllr Kieran McCarthy, a member of the European Committee of the Regions advocates for pan-European inclusion of science and innovation in school curricula.

On 12 July, during the 124th plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions, members hosted Mr Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation who presented some possible directions for the future evolution of the Horizon 2020 programme.

  Speaking on behalf of the European Alliance group, which he is Vice President of, Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy stressed the need to break the silos between disciplines, policies and programmes and the need to inspire Europe with mission-driven research and innovation.

  Mr McCarthy called for a more central role for the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and a better connection between the work done there, the research within the Horizon 2020 programme and the innovation elements of the cohesion policy.

  Secondly, Mr McCarthy, who also authored the CoR opinion on “Building a European Data Economy,” talked about the crucial importance of inspiring Europe and capturing public imagination in science and innovation. He argued that ten per cent or more of future funding should go to publicity and science and innovation must form a core part of school curricula across every member state and local authority area. Giving the example of Cork City Council’s Lifetime Lab in Cork he concluded; “It must be a science for all. Science and innovation is the future of Europe. And the future of Europe document must reflect this going forward as well”.

  Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme with nearly €80 billion of funding available in the period between 2014 and 2020. Currently, the programme is undergoing its mid-term view with vivid debates on its post-2020 evolution and, in particular, its relation to the EU’s cohesion policy.

Caption: Cllr Kieran McCarthy addressing Commissioner Carlos Moedas and the European Committee of the Regions Plenary in the hemicycle of the European Parliament

 

13 Jul 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 13 July 2017

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Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 13 July 2017

July Historical Walking Tours

 

Wednesday 19 July, Shandon historical walking tour with Kieran; discover the history of one of Cork’s oldest streets woven with tales of castles, butter and historical churches; meet at North Gate Bridge at end of Shandon Street, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

  There are multiple layers of history around the Shandon quarter. Amongst them is the story of the great butter market. By the mid eighteenth century, the native butter industry in Cork had grown to such an extent due to British empire expansion that it was decided among the main city and county butter merchants that an institution be established in the city that would control and develop its potential. These ‘Committee of Butter Merchants’ located themselves in a simple commissioned building adjacent to Shandon. The committee comprised 21 members who were chosen by the merchants in the city. In May 1770, it was decided by the Cork Committee that all butter to be exported from Cork was to be examined by appointed inspectors – the quality and weight of the butter and the manner of packing.

Thursday 20 July, Sunday’s Well historical walking tour with Kieran; discover the original well and the eighteenth-century origins of the suburb, meet at St Vincent’s Bridge, North Mall end, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

   Sunday’s Well was a famous landmark through the ages and the adjoining district took its name from the well. In 1644, the French traveller M de La Boullaye Le Gouz, visited Ireland. In the account of his journey he writes: “A mile from Korq [Cork] is a well called by the English, Sunday Spring, or the fountain of Sunday, which the Irish believe is blessed and cures many ills. I found the water of it extremely cold”. Charles Smith in his second volume of his History of Cork, mentions “a pretty hamlet called Sunday’s Well, lying on a rising ground…here is a cool refreshing water, which gives name to the place, but it is hard, and does not lather with soap”. Antiquarian Thomas Crofton Croker described the well as well; “Sunday’s Well is at the side of the high road, and is surrounded by a rude, stone building, on the wall of which the letters HIS mark its ancient reputation for sanctity. It is shadowed over by some fine own ash trees, which render it as a picturesque object”. Writing later still John Windele says of the well; “Early in the mornings of the summer Sundays may be seen the hooded devotees with beads in hand, performing their turrish or penance, besides this little temple”.

  The historic landmark is no longer visible. At the beginning of 1946, the adjoining roadway was widened and improved, it was necessary to remove the stone building covering the well, and to run the road over the well. However, to mark the site, the stone tablet bearing the inscription, “HIS, Sunday’s Well, 1644”, which had been on the building, was placed on the wall adjoining the road. Rounds are no longer paid there.

Thursday 27 July 2017, The Friar’s Walk, with Kieran; discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort, Callanan’s Tower and Greenmount area; meet at Red Abbey tower, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

   This historical walking tour begins on Red Abbey square and explores the area’s medieval origins and the impact on the area. In such a small corner of the city, post medieval Cork and the story of industrial housing can be told, as well as stories of St Stephen’s School, Callanan’s Tower, Elizabeth Fort and the Gallows at Greenmount.

   The central bell tower of the church of Red Abbey is a relic of the Anglo-Norman colonisation and is one of the last remaining visible structures, which dates to the era of the walled town of Cork. Invited to Cork by the Anglo-Normans, the Augustinians established an abbey in Cork, sometime between 1270 AD and 1288 AD. It is known that in the early years of its establishment, the Augustinian friary became known as Red Abbey due to the material, sandstone, which was used in the building of the friary. It was dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity but had several names, which appear on several maps and depictions of the walled town of Cork and its environs. For example, in a map of Cork in 1545, it was known as St Austins while in 1610, Red abbey was marked as St. Augustine’s. The adjacent street names of Red Abbey Street, Friar’s Street and Friar’s Walk also echoes the days of a large medieval abbey in the area.

Friday 28 July 2017, The Lough and its history, historical walking tour with Kieran (new tour); discover the legends and stories of the Cork Lough, meet at the green on northern end of the Lough, Lough Church end, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

   This is a new walking tour, which explores the Lough, its heritage and the rich surrounding history of this quarter of the city. This amenity has witnessed eighteenth century market fairs as well as ice skating to nineteenth century writers and nursery gardens to twentieth century cycling tournaments and the rich and historic market garden culture.

Kieran’s National Heritage Week historical walking tours for August are also now posted at www.kieranmccarthy.ie under the walking tours section.

Captions:

903a. View of Shandon Street Festival, June 2017 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

903b. Depiction of Skating on the Lough by artist Daniel Maclise, c.1830 (source: Cork City Library)

 

903b. Depiction of Skating on the Lough by artist Daniel Maclise, c.1830

11 Jul 2017

Laya Healthcare City Spectacular Festival, 15-16 July, Fitzgerald’s Park

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   The Laya Healthcare City Spectacular festival in Fitzgerald’s Park will have you gazing at amazing performers as they loop, hoop, flip and twist before your eyes! Jugglers, break dancers, mysterious magicians and many more will keep the fun going going for a weekend of world class, award winning street performances. This annual family event is just amazing,

More details at this link: http://www.cityspectacular.com/cork

 

10 Jul 2017

Resurfacing update,Ballinlough Swimming Pool Carpark and Hill, July 2017

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   Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the recent announcement by the Recreation and Amenity Directorate of Cork City Council to provide funding of e.300,000 to resurface and to deal with drainage issues on Douglas Pool hill and carpark; Cllr McCarthy noted; “it goes without saying it has been a very difficult and frustrating process to unlock funding from the City Council to deal with one of the roughest patches of road in the city”.

   Cllr McCarthy highlights; “I have made multiple calls over the years to the Chief Executive to invest in this long standing problem; sometimes one would wonder what is the point of people paying property tax if all of it ends up being spent on salaries and not on enhancing municipal services and resolving issues such as road resurfacing within localities”. On raising the issue of the pool area in recent weeks at Council meetings, Cllr McCarthy has been given a tentative start date of this September with completion to take a few weeks.

6 Jul 2017

Kieran’s comments, St Kevin’s Asylum, Irish Examiner, 6 July 2017

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Losing the Past, Losing Ourselves
Published in Irish Examiner, 6 July 2017

   Like everyone else on Cork’s Lee Fields, I watched with great sadness the burning of the old St Kevin’s Asylum (built c.1895-1899) and had that deep sense of shock and loss – not just at one level but across a number of levels – Yes – St Kevin’s Asylum had a harrowing past but it’s future should not have played out this way.

   Chatting to Corkonians they expressed their sadness and frustration that a part of Cork’s social history was burning and being destroyed; they were sad to see a burnt scar of a landmark emerging on the cityscape in one of the city’s scenic spots – dismayed that it was a potential arson attack out resulting out of someone’s boredom, frustrated that campaigns over the years by resident community groups and public representatives did not gauge muster with the owners of the site, sad that the owners of the site, the HSE, did not get to pursuing a plan for the site (despite having completed some really tasteful renewal works in the old Cork workhouse at St Finbarr’s Hospital), upset for the memory and almost forgotten memory of former patients and former staff members, frustrated that in the national context, there are many other old asylum buildings that are decaying and not being utilised for a myriad of potential uses.

   Huge depths of multiple feelings unveiled themselves along the banks of the Lee last evening – feelings that were all about responsibility around harnessing and how to capture for the present and future a city’s (and a nation’s) history and heritage.

  The fishermen, who called in the fire sat on the river railing, lamented to the press on the emerging scarred landscape. The River Lee at this point is bound up with a necklace of beautiful nineteenth century buildings across it northern ridges– some with harrowing histories like Our Lady’s Hospital and the Good Shepherd Convent with its Magdalene Asylum – some with stories of innovative local government like the Old Waterworks, some with gorgeous artwork like the stained-glass windows in St Vincent’s Church. The former Our Lady’s Hospital is now in the last phase of redevelopment by a private developer as tastefully done apartment blocks – the old Waterworks is now a notable tourism attraction run by Cork City Council on Ireland’s Ancient East with themes around renewable energy, waste, education and science. Investment into these sites have worked and a return for the investment is being reaped as well as emanating sustainable best practice in what to do with old building stock. These are best practice examples.

   The now burnt out old St Kevin’s Asylum and the ruined and formerly burnt out Good Shepherd Convent remain ‘worst case’ examples of what happens if one does not invest. The hands of local government councils need to be strengthened – that finance and staff are made available to compulsorily purchase property, which is not being developed. Cities, town and regions should not have to endure sadness, loss, frustration and dereliction. It is not positive to have buildings, small to large, boarded up for years, to leave them decay, and to not have a plan. Going forward we need to reverse our approaches to dereliction – ideas, future planning and investment are needed to breathe life into our historic cities like Cork – in fact anytime we have, the ideas of the past have worked and have always helped frame the visions of the future.

Dr Kieran McCarthy, Independent Councillor, Cork City Council, www.corkheritage.ie

6 Jul 2017

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 6 July 2017

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902a. View of Daunt Square side of St Patrick's Street, c.1930

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 6 July 2017
The Wheels of 1917: Amnesty Disturbances

  The evening of Sunday 24 June 1917 was one of violence on Cork streets. It followed the arrival home of the eight Irish Volunteers in Cork City (see last week’s article) on the previous day and a procession and speech-giving at the National Monument. Members of Sinn Féin continued their campaign of action over the ensuing 24 hours. The Cork Examiner records that the demonstrations began as a crowd of Sinn Féin supporters returned from a camogie match between Plunketts and Clan Emer, at O’Neill Crowley Grounds, Western Road. They were escorted by the Piper’s Band. When the Gaol Cross was reached an attack was made on the gaol, stones being thrown and some windows broken. Cheers were also raised for the Cork volunteers who were prisoners there, and these were answered with cheers from within the gaol walls.

   This crowd then proceeded to Sheare Street and retook possession of the Irish Volunteer Hall, which the military had taken over. From mid afternoon until after 11pm riots were pursued. It started with an organised attack by youths on the Recruiting Office on St Patrick’s Street, the plate glass windows of which were smashed on the previous Saturday night. The smashed area was boarded up but the youths broke down this structure with sticks, removed recruiting posters from the window and tore down the flags, which hung over the facia board. A young man climbed the tramway pole opposite the offices and cut down the Union Jack, which had flown there since the beginning of the war. This was thrown into the river.

   The crowd now numbered several hundreds, and young women whose relatives were in the war, incensed Sinn Féin supporters by attacking them. Under District Inspectors Walsh and Swanzy, the police – armed with carbine rifles, bayonets, revolvers and batons – were on the streets in full force. The police charged the crowd on St Patrick’s Street. Carbine rifles were lowered and bayonets fixed, and revolver shots cracked out now and again. The corner of King Street (now MacCurtain Street) and Bridge Street was the stand-off of the rival parties of both sides. The police on St Patrick’s Bridge prevented persons coming into St Patrick’s Street where Sinn Féin members were in strength. Canon O’Leary, Rev Father McSweeney, and other clergy of SS Peter and Paul’s Church, as well as 1916 veteran J J Walsh, arrived onto the streets during the disturbances counselling the people to go home, but their advice was ignored.

   The answer by the police was to re-charge and re-charge. Several persons were wounded in the bayonet thrusts, by being struck with the butt end of the rifles. One man received shot wounds. Many fell and suffered bruises by being trampled on. All the wounded were all taken to the North Infirmary for treatment. One of the men, Abraham Allen aged 25 years, living at the North Mall, was shot in his thigh.

   Shortly before midnight it seemed as if the centre of the city was about to return to normal and it was decided that a number of the police return to the Bridewell and Tuckey Street Barracks. About twenty police were marched to Woodford Bourne’s corner on Daunt’s Square, where they were ordered to halt, preparatory to proceeding to their respective barracks. There were very few civilians in this particular portion of the street at the time, but without warning a fusillade of stones, came from a dark corner at the square. A number of the police were struck, while many stones reached window on the Grand Parade tide at the street. A bayonet charge followed. The stone-throwers, who were few in number, ran through Castle Street, pursued by some of the police, and a number of women who had congregated at the entrance to Cornmarket Street. At the upper end of Castle Street, the stone-throwers entered North Main Street, and escaped their pursuers.

   Portions of the crowd that had been driven from the flat of the city by baton and bayonet charges earlier in the evening began to return towards St Patrick’s Street, and another collision followed with the police. Many injuries were sustained. The crowd was soon dispersed. About 12.15am Sergeant Grey was brought to the Bridewell suffering from wounds under his left eye. It was caused by a revolver bullet, received in the course of action. Through the counter attacks on the baton and bayonet charges in St Patrick’s Street, several other policemen also sustained wounds.

  About 11.15pm the military arrived on the scene, and took up positions between Fr Mathew Statue and Cash’s Drapery Store at the Winthrop Street intersection. This detachment was fully armed and cut off communication to the centre of the city. Their preparations for eventualities were elaborate. They had machine guns, which they placed in position to command St Patrick’s Street. They were accompanied by a chaplain, and brought with them a motor ambulance and stretcher bearers. The police in batches patrolled the various streets and cleared the crowds from the centre of the city, subsequently cutting off communication to it. It was nearly midnight when the violence quietened down and the military were withdrawn at 1.45am.

Secret Cork (2017) by Kieran McCarthy is now available in Cork bookshops or online at Amberley-books.com

Captions:

902a. View from Daunt Square side of St Patrick’s Street, c.1930 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen)

902b. View of Grand Parade c.1910 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen)

 

902b. View of Grand Parade c.1910

 

5 Jul 2017

Kieran’s July and August Public Historical Walking Tours 2017

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July Tours

Wednesday 19 July 2017, Shandon historical walking tour, with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; discover the history of one of Cork’s oldest streets woven with tales of castles, butter and historical churches; meet at North Gate Bridge, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Thursday 20 July 2017, Sunday’s Well historical historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; discover the original well and the eighteenth century origins of the suburb, meet at St Vincent’s Bridge, North Mall end, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Thursday, 27 July 2017, The Friar’s Walk, with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort, Callanan’s Tower and Greenmount area; meet at Red Abbey tower, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Friday 28 July 2017, The Lough and its history, historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; discover the legends and stories of the Cork Lough, meet at the green on northern end of the Lough, Lough Church end, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

August Tours:

Kieran’s Heritage Week, 19-26 August 2017 as part of National Heritage Week, all free, 2 hours  

Sunday, 20 August 2017, Cork Through the Ages, An introduction to the historical development of Cork City with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; meet at the National Monument, Grand Parade, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Monday 21 August 2016, Blackpool and its history, historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; Discover the history of education, industry and social housing, meet at the gates of North Mon School, Gerald Griffin Avenue, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Tuesday 22 August 2017, The Victorian Quarter; historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy of the area around St Patrick’s Hill – Wellington Road and McCurtain Street; meet on the Green at Audley Place, top of St Patrick’s Hill, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Thursday 24 August 2017, The City Workhouse, historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; learn about the workhouse created for 2,000 impoverished people in 1841; meet at the gates of St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Road, 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Friday 25 August 2017, Legends and Histories of The Lough (new); historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy, explore the local history from the Legend of the Lough to suburban development; meet at green area at northern end of The Lough, entrance of Lough Road to The Lough; 6.45pm (free, duration: two hours)

Saturday 26 August 2017, Fitzgerald’s Park; historical walking tour with Cllr Kieran McCarthy; learn about the story of the Mardyke to the great early twentieth century Cork International Exhibition, meet at band stand 1pm, note the afternoon time (free, duration: two hours)

4 Jul 2017

Shandon Street Festival 2017

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Well done to the recent Shandon Street Festival 2017 – another great day of family fun!

Shandon Street Festival, Summer 2017

Shandon Street Festival, 2017

Shandon Street Festival, 2017

Shandon Street Festival, 2017