Cllr McCarthy: Consultation now open for draft Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan, 19 March 2021

Press Release:

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the publishing of the he draft Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan (2021-2026). It is an action plan and sets out a series of realistic and practical actions to protect, conserve and manage the city’s heritage over the next five years.  The Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan includes actions on archaeology, built, cultural and natural heritage, so is a combination heritage and biodiversity plan.

Cllr McCarthy commented: “Consultation is now open. There are many people who have an interest in the city’s heritage and it is important that thoughts and perspectives are given on the new plan. The information gathered will feed into the final Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan (2021-2026), which will guide what heritage actions will be prioritised in Cork City over the next five years”. The draft plan can be viewed at https://consult.corkcity.ie

Cllr McCarthy added “Great credit is due to the Council’s Heritage Office for their hard work on the draft plan. I think the project work that was pursued in the now expired Heritage Plan was very worthwhile. Empowering local communities to pursue heritage projects has been fab. I think the community and education heritage grants and the publication grants scheme are fantastic and I hope they will be maintained in the next heritage plan, as do I hope the focus on the city’s archaeology story and biodiversity story will remain and grow even stronger in their delivery”.

“There is so much heritage to mind and promote in Cork. So a plan is very important so that relevant financial resources can be prioritised and new ideas developed”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 18 March 2021

1091a. Crossbarry memorial, present day (source: Cork City Library)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 18 March 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Victory of Crossbarry

By mid-March 1921, British crown forces invariably operated in West Cork in units of not less than three hundred. Consequently, the 3rd West Cork IRA Brigade flying column under the leadership of Commandant Tom Barry was brought to its greatest possible strength by the addition of every available rifle and the limited ammunition they had. The column had a membership of 104 men. It was also not easy to move, conceal, billet and feed a flying column of that strength over a long period, in an area that was then holding down at least five thousand British troops.

Tom Barry assembled the column into seven sections of fourteen riflemen in each section including the section commander. Those seven sections were commanded respectively by Sean Hales, John Lordan, Mick Crowley, Denis Lordan, Tom Kelleher, Peter Kearney and Christy O’Connell.

Barry in his book Guerilla Days in Ireland (1949) recalls that on the morning of 16 March 2021, information reached him that 300 British soldiers were being sent on the following day from Kinsale to Bandon as reinforcements. That night his flying column marched to ambush them at Shippool, half-way between Kinsale and Bandon. British crown forces had set out as scheduled, but after a mile halted and later returned to barracks.

Barry withdrew the column to Skough, just east of Innishannon. Meanwhile a British reconnaissance plane flying low, zoomed along the valley, searching for the column who laid low. At 1am that evening the column arrived at the house of John O’Leary’s, Ballyhandle, and this house became column headquarters. The son of the house, Paddy, was a member of the column.

Two days later at 1am on the morning of 19 March, four hundred troops left Cork, two hundred from Ballincollig, 300 from Kinsale and 350 from Bandon. Later 120 auxiliaries left from Macroom. Still later, troops left Clonakilty and more left Cork. They proceeded by lorries to four points, approximately four miles north-north-east, south-east and west of Crossbarry. They raided and closely searched every house and out house in the countryside. They took many civilians and some unarmed volunteers as prisoners. One of the eastern columns came to the house three miles north of Crossbarry, where Commandant Charles Hurley was recuperating from a bullet wound arising from the Upton ambush. He was killed fighting as he tried to break through the cordon.

Tom Barry had no doubt that they were out-numbered by ten to one at least. He had to determine without delay whether to fight or to evade action. The decision to fight was made. From observations of enemy movements, it was clear that the British force from the west would reach Crossbarry some time before the other British columns. That would even up the opening fight, and he was confident of being able to defeat it and thus smash one side of the encircling wall of troops. This would leave the flying column free to pass on to the west where it could, according to circumstances.

At 3am, Tom Barry spoke to the flying column, giving them a summary of their situation and the strategy of attack for each of the seven sections. He stressed that no section was to retire from its position without orders, no matter how great the pressure and that no volunteer was, in any circumstances, to show himself until the action started.

The column marched off to Crossbarry at 3.30am, and positions were occupied by 4.30am. Seventy-three officers and men were deployed for an attack. The 31 others were to protect their flanks and rear. By 5.30am all these preparations were completed.

About 8am a long line of lorries carrying British troops came slowly on past Christy O’Connell’s flanking section and into the main ambush positions. Twelve lorries were between Mick Crowley’s section in the centre and Christy O’Connell’s flankers, but many more stretched back along the road. The leading lorry came on, but suddenly it halted and the soldiers started shouting. Unfortunately, despite the strictest orders, a volunteer had shown himself at a raised barn door and was seen. The British started to scramble from their lorries, but Tom Barry had given the order to fire.

Volley after volley was fired, mostly at ranges from five to ten yards, at those soldiers and they broke and scattered, leaving their dead, an amount of arms and their lorries behind them. The survivors fled towards the south.

Helping them now was a man named White of Newcestown, who although was not a volunteer, had been arrested that morning and carried as a hostage in the leading lorry. He had a double lucky escape from death as, after escaping the first volley, he was nearly shot dead until he started shouting that he was an Irishman and a prisoner of the British.

The lorries were then prepared for burning and the British dead pulled away from their vicinity. The first three lorries were burning when heavy rifle fire broke out on their left flank, and all volunteers were ordered back to their original action stations. Another British column of about 200 had advanced from the south-east. They were attacked by Denis Lordan’s section. Peter Kearney’s men were moved up to reinforce Lordan’s, and after heavy fighting the enemy retreated leaving a number of dead.

Tom Barry describes in his book that his men did had not long to await the third phase of the engagement, for shortly afterwards the sounds of rifle fire came from their right flank. Here about a platoon of British tried to come in across country but they were met by Christy O’Connell’s Section.

Ten minutes later the fourth development of the action opened. Still another British column came in on their left rear. Numbering about 200, they had entered an old boreen about a mile back, and, keeping close to the ditch as they crept in, they were unobserved for some time. Tom Kelleher’s riflemen were waiting for them and killed a number of them. The remainder hurriedly retired to cover from where they continued to engage our men but some minutes later withdrew.

It was a victory for Tom Barry’s column at Crossbarry. He records though that three column members lay dead – Peter Monahan, Jeremiah O’Leary, and Con Daly, and several others were wounded. The column retired to billets at Gurranereigh, which were fourteen miles due west of Crossbarry, Flankers would have to travel cross-country for at least twelve miles.

Caption:

1091a. Crossbarry memorial, present day (source: Cork City Library)

Cllr McCarthy, Nostalgia: St Patrick’s Day in Cork through the decades, 13 March 2021

13 March 2021, “Pictures in The Echo archives underscore the joy of previous St Patrick’s Day parades in Cork, which historian and Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said may have commenced in 1872, albeit with a different focus”, Nostalgia: St Patrick’s Day in Cork through the decades, Nostalgia: St Patrick’s Day in Cork through the decades (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 11 March 2021

1090a. Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, late 1920s from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.
1090a. Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, late 1920s from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 11 March 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Opening of the Pavilion

Against the backdrop of the ruins on St Patrick’s Street from the Burning of Cork and the unsettling tit-for-tat violence across Cork City’s streets, the opening of the decorative Pavilion Cinema in early March 1921 was a very different and positive event of that time.

Cinema was a very popular form of entertainment in the 1910s and 1920s. Up to 1921 and before the Pavilion’s construction, Cork could boast having seven cinemas– Picturedrome at the Assembly Rooms on the South Mall, Imperial Cinema on Oliver Plunkett Street, The Washington Cinema on Washington Street, Bellevue at Barrackton, Lido Cinema on Watercourse Road, Lee Cinema on Winthrop Street and the community picture drome at St Mary’s Hall opposite the North Cathedral. The Picture Palace, 40-42 Grand Parade, was also in the course of construction.

The press commentary on 7 March 1921 in the Cork Examiner described the Pavilion as a “super cinema of the very latest, rich in design and finish”. Passing through the imposing and spacious entrance in St Patrick’s Street, two flights of broad marble stairs were ascended from the centre of the hallway. Here was the café and ballroom in a colour scheme of French grey.

The Cork Examiner further elaborates on the design: “The rose du Barri with gold with a fine arrangement of French mirrors and lustre lighting effects, and the artistic workmanship of the ceiling all combine in the richest and most artistic harmony. Then there is the oak panelled smokeroom where one could sit. Here there are lanterns hanging from the oak beams. The construction, ornamental and decorative work of the cinema portion of the buildings are superb in design and colour, while the seating is made to provide the most luxurious comfort”.

Great credit was given to the Dublin architect Thomas Francis McNamara for his design. McNamara was a popular architect who received a considerable number of commissions in the early twentieth century connected with the Catholic church, particularly for buildings in the Diocese of Dromore. He had become architect to the Dublin Joint Hospital Board and was later increasingly engaged in hospital work. His pupils and assistants included Harry Clarke whom he advised to take up art rather than architecture as a profession. McNamara travelled often in France, Italy and Spain. He had a special interest in Hispano-Romanesque architecture, which is an interest he brought to the design of the Pavilion.

The capacity of the Pavilion cinema was 900 people while the tea and smoke rooms could accommodate comfortably 150 persons. The luxurious furnishing was carried out by Cork’s Munster Arcade and the decorating and painting was completed by Messrs John O’Connell, Cork. On the ground floor three shops and managerial offices were fitted in. The entrance to the chief seats were viz – balcony and back parterre is on St Patrick’s Street and the front parterre seats entrance was in Carey’s Lane.

The cinema was originally conceived by T J Moran and other investors. The contractor though was Mr Moran’s firm. Under his direction, the ornamental, decorating and furnishing the theatre and café was carried out. The resident orchestra was under the direction of Dr William George Eveleigh and Signor Grossi, leader and violinist. Dr Eveleigh was an organist in St Finbarre’s Cathedral.

Ferrouccio Grossi was a lecturer in the Cork School of Music on violin, viola, and conductor of orchestra. He was part of a small orchestra of foreign musicians of various nationalities who had been engaged for the Cork International Exhibition in 1902. In the same year, Grossi took up residence in Cork, and with his pianist wife, began a career of concert hosting and teaching, up to 1930.

The Pavilion was to be managed by Mr Fred Harford, formerly of the Abbey Theatre. There he was a long standing actor there and eventually became manager of the venue.

Opening on 10 March 1921, the programme of the new Pavilion Cinema was composed of what was deemed “highest class items” and it included a violin solo by Signor Grossi and music by Dr Eveleigh’s orchestra.

D W Griffith’s “The Greatest Question” was the principal film. Griffith was an American film director and was one of the pioneers of the financing of the feature-length movie. Circa 1919-1920 together with Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, he established United Artists, allowing them to plan their own interests, rather than be dependent on commercial studios. By the time he made his final film he had made near 500 films.

Based upon a novel by William Hale, the silent film, The Greatest Question, had a plot about an orphan girl being given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the hands of a murderous farmer and his wife. The film also had ghostly apparitions and would have been deemed a thriller genre in its day.

The film was supported by one of Burton Holmes interesting travel pictures and also by a comedy entitled “It’s a Boy”. Burton Holmes was the first person to blend travel stories, slides shows and motion pictures into documentary travel lectures, for which he coined the word “travelogue”.  By the turn of the twentieth century Holmes was recognised as America’s leading travel lecturer. Holmes generally spent six months of each year travelling and photographing in various locations. His 1920-21 material for showing in cinemas is listed on his American archive at the US Smithsonian Institution and includes Constantinople Under Allied Control, Jerusalem – Holy City of Three Faiths, Gardens of Allah and the Barbary Coast, Spanish Cities and the Pyrenees, Vision of Venice and the Italian Lakes. Some or all of these may have been shown before the main feature at the Pavilion in Cork in the Spring of 1921.

Captions:

1090a. Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, late 1920s from Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen.

1090b. Golden Discs, former Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1090b. Golden Discs, former Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick's Street, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1090b. Golden Discs, former Pavilion Cinema, St Patrick’s Street, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Cllr McCarthy: Repair of Atlantic Pond Valve Essential, 9 March 2021

9 March 2021, “In a reply to a question posed by Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy at Monday evening’s full council meeting, Mr Joyce revealed that Cork City Council was not successful in securing funding last year from central government to proceed with the second phase of repair works”. Atlantic Pond repair works on hold due to funding delay,
Atlantic Pond repair works on hold due to funding delay (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 8 March 2021

Question to CE:

To ask the CE for an update on fixing the Atlantic Pond valve problem? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Motions:

That safety signage be erected at the unprotected pier in Blackrock. There is no life jacket sign. There is no indication that it is a dangerous area for vehicles (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

In light of the recent presentation on the city centre and the difficulty of rolling out broadband fibre cable to replace the old copper cable, that a suitable, sustainable and efficient technological solution be sought out with service providers. Cork City Centre cannot be left behind in the roll-out (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That the remains of the Cantillan family sponsored drinking fountain atop a grassy mound at the western end of The Marina in front of Shandon Rowing Club be re-imagined – either as a conservation project or a new drinking fountain installed at the location – or a mixture of both (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Cllr McCarthy: Rates Deferral is of Huge Benefit to Businesses

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the continued deferral of rates payments for the first quarter of 2021 for businesses most impacted by Level 5 restrictions introduced on 6 January 2021.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “With financial support from central government Cork City Council will be deferring rates payments. The three-month waiver will apply to eligible businesses and will be applied to rates accounts in the form of a credit in lieu of rates. Support from government has also kept the Council’s operations going and it is essential that forms of financial support remain as businesses return in the months ahead. The Council’s income will be significantly down later this year as the full economic fallout from businesses that do not re-open is revealed”.

 Cork City Council Head of Finance, John Hallahan said, “Cork City Council is acutely aware of the challenges faced by businesses, large and small throughout the city and county. We will continue to work with our rate payers on a case by case basis and are asking businesses to contact us”. 

Cork City Council will issue Rate Bills for 2021 commencing in March 2021. Rate payers are advised that these bills will not include the recently announced Covid-19 rates waiver but that rate payers that are eligible for the waiver will get a statement showing their reduced liability in April/May 2021. For queries on the rates waiver scheme, contact rates@corkcity.ie or phone 021-4924484.

Cork City Local Enterprise Office offers a number of supports to businesses to address the challenges posed by Covid-19, such as mentoring, Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 Business Loan, businessadvice clinics, and trading online vouchers are available for businesses wishing to establish or enhance their online presence. For further queries on these supports, contact Cork City Local Enterprise Office on 021-4961828 or at info@leo.corkcity.ie

Cllr McCarthy: Call for historic Cork archway that led to offices of creators of Tanora to be relocated, 4 March 2021

4 March 2021, “Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy, who is spearheading the call for the archway to be moved, has reiterated his call to the council to come forward with a plan to bring the historic archway out of its hidden corner and into the public realm”, Call for historic Cork archway that led to offices of creators of Tanora to be relocated,
Call for historic Cork archway that led to offices of creators of Tanora to be relocated (echolive.ie)

Cllr McCarthy: Draft Air Quality Plan Open to Public Consultation, 5 March 2021

3 March 2021, “The air-quality plan is an essential part of the council’s Climate Adaptation Plan and one which I, and other councillors, have been calling for. Great credit is due to the council’s executive scientist department for gathering together best-practice insights with the help of UCC experts”, said Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

Public to have say on strategy after air quality ‘dropped seriously’ in Cork this week, People are unable to log onto basic Zoom calls’: Cork councillor bemoans quality of broadband (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 4 March 2021

1089a. Branding for Irish White Cross, 1922 (source: Report of the Irish White Cross to 31st August, 1922)
1089a. Branding for Irish White Cross, 1922 (source: Report of the Irish White Cross to 31st August, 1922)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 4 March 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Relief of Irish Distress

In the first week March 1921, members of an American Committee for the Relief of Irish Distress arrived in Cork City. They were hosted by members of Cork Corporation and the Cork Harbour Board, amongst others. Their arrival was a positive one in the context of the narrative of repair after the Burning of Cork and of donating money to the impoverished of the city.

Towards the end of 1920 men and women came together on the invitation of (and under the chairmanship) of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Laurence O’Neill to form the Irish White Cross. They met to consider how it was possible to alleviate the great amount of suffering that, even at that date, had resulted from the Irish War of Independence. The group were representative of practically every section of the political and religious beliefs of the Irish community. They were motivated solely by humanitarian motives.

Independently of the Irish White Cross in Ireland, in December 1920, a Committee for the Relief of Irish Distress was founded in America by Dr William J Maloney, a Republican cause sympathiser. The committee carried out its task in the same humane spirit that had inspired 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. The group comprised Messrs. R Barclay Spicer (Philadelphia), Oren B Wilbur (New York), William Price (Philadelphia), John C Baker (Philadelphia), Walter C Longstreth (Philadelphia) accompanied by Messrs C J France, (Seattle, Washington) and S D McCoy (New York) City. Their aim was to ascertain the nature and extent of American aid necessary for the relief of the Irish people.

During their mission of 49 days, which lasted until April 1921, C J France acted as Chairman, and S D McCoy as Secretary (the latter not returning to America until October 1921). Mr France remained in Ireland until June 1922, acting as a representative of the American Committee in connection with the distribution of the American Fund.

The delegation’s subsequent published report (which in the present day is now digitally scanned and online) outlines that during their visit members visited nearly one hundred communities in Ireland in which acute distress existed. They visited no less than 95 cities, towns, villages, and creameries, in which destruction of buildings or property by the military or police forces of the British Crown has occurred. In the 95 places visited there occurred 95 per cent, of the material damage to property owned by the civil population, which has been recorded during the twelve months ending 31 March 1921.

The places visited range in geographic location from Gortahork, on the extreme north-western coast of Ireland, to Timoleague, on the extreme southern coast; from Dublin, in the east, to Clifden and Aran Islands, in the west.

The delegation viewed the damage personally, and personally collected on the spot evidence as to the value of the property destroyed. In addition, written statements from reliable sources were supplied to the delegation regarding material damage in the small number of afflicted communities which they were unable to visit. They reported forty co-operative creameries, which were totally ruined and which had their whole machinery reduced to scrap-iron; thirty-five were partly wrecked and rendered unfit for work. The delegation reports on the conflict;

“In the course of this conflict at least 2,000 houses – dwelling houses, farmsteads, shops –were utterly destroyed, while about 1,500 were partially destroyed, many of the latter being rendered uninhabitable. In this way nearly 3,000 families were cast on the world homeless, and very often with the loss of their entire possessions. The majority of the victims were of the small farmer class in the country, and, of the shopkeeper and artisan class in the towns. These had little or no resources to fall back upon, and were it not for the aid of the charitable large numbers must have perished from cold or hunger”.

Summarising this data in regard to material damage and personal distress, the delegation reported that the material damage to Irish shop-buildings, factories, creameries, and private dwelling houses, inflicted by the British forces during the previous twelve months, amounted to approximately $20m. Without reductions in the cost of labour and materials they estimated the cost of replacing the buildings would be approximately $25m.

On arrival in Cork City the committee took the time to hear about the economic and fallout and the destitution created from the Burning of Cork event;

“In a city such as Cork it is difficult to estimate with accuracy the number of people who were directly involved in distress by this destruction, but it is safe to take the estimate given in the same report, that close upon 4,000 persons – men, women, and children – had to be relieved by reason of the loss of their employment. The ordinary charitable associations could not cope with the burden thus cast upon them, and the Irish White Cross had to undertake responsibility for their maintenance”.

Following the delegation’s report, 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, 398 was sent to Cork City to be distributed to those effected by the Irish War of Independence.

Caption:

1089a. Branding for Irish White Cross, 1922 (source: Report of the Irish White Cross to 31st August, 1922)