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15 Nov 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, Lest We Forget, 15 November 2018

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972a. Commemorations at First World War One Memorial, South Mall, 11 November 2013


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 15 November 2018

Stories from 1918: Lest We Forget


“The armistice with Germany was signed yesterday morning, and as the terms of the truce preclude the possibility of a resumption of hostilities, the world again enters on the paths of peace. After the appalling years of slaughter, of devastation on and, and of revolting massacre at sea, mankind cannot but find relief in the news that the greatest war in the world’s history is over. The tragedy that convulsed continents has taught many lessons” Editorial, Cork Examiner, 12 November 1918, p.4).

     The cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of the First World War took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France. Relief abounded for the families of those soldiers who had made it to the end of the war alive – but vast grief over-shadowed the celebrations, which is played out across British and Irish newspapers of the day.

   The figure of 49,435 war dead is the one adorned on the Irish National War Memorial, at Islandbridge in Dublin based on the Irish Memorial Rolls drawn up after the war. Unfortunately, the rolls are full of discrepancies. They detail all those who died in Irish regiments, but many of those soldiers were not Irish, and many Irish who died in non-Irish regiments are not recorded.

   The Irish Memorial Roll lists 4,918 dead from Dublin, but First World War scholar Tom Burnell says the true figure is 8,479. Similarly, the official figure for Cork is 2,244, but he puts it at 4,338. Similarly, crucial work in the book A Great Sacrifice (2010, edited by Gerry White and Brendan O’Shea) reveals an under estimation of total figures. When the war ended in November 1918 the Royal Munster Fusiliers had suffered around 2,800 killed with thousands more wounded and the regiment had been reduced to its two regular battalions, a reserve battalion and two garrison battalions.

    The other element at play was how to bring the thousands and thousands of soldiers home. The House of Commons on 14 November issued a report detailing the vast swathes of soldiers trying to come home to Britain and Ireland.  The report notes that it was impossible to say what was the number of prisoners of war who had found their way to Holland in just three days, but possibly it was in the thousands. Circa 30,000 full kits and 30,000 rations were sent to Holland and all Red Cross workers, voluntary aid detachments, and medical-personnel in Holland were to be retained there in case of emergency. Besides such ships as were available Westminister were sending ships capable of carrying 9,000 persons.

   Similar arrangements were being made in the case of Denmark. As regards kits and rations. It was hoped to affect the repatriation of all prisoners from that country by neutral ships. Steps had also been taken to secure the return of prisoners from Switzerland. It was thought possible to secure the return of other prisoners directly across the lines in France and Belgium, and instructions had been given to facilitate their passage to the Channel ports, and to do everything possible for their comfort on the way. The whole question of interned prisoners in Germany would be dealt with under the armistice conditions by an International Conference.

   As to the prisoners in Austria, the Italian authorities had been asked to make arrangements to secure their speedy return. In the case of prisoners in Turkish hands, Admiral Calthorpe of the Mediterranean Fleet had been asked to appoint a committee of three to attend to their requirements and secure their repatriation. The great bulk of these would be assembled in Smyrna and sent through Italy and France.

    All combatant prisoners of war on arrival in England would be sent to reception camps where they would receive medical attention. Arrangements were made to give them leave as soon as possible. Other arrangements would be made for civilian prisoners. In the Cork context, many soldiers returned to Cork with no jobs to return to. Many enlisted in the Cork Branch (established December 1917) of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers. The Federation’s principle aims were to secure pensions for wounded ex-servicemen from Government and to promote legislation for them.

    On the western end of the South Mall is a memorial to those Irishmen who died in the First World War. The unveiling of the Cork Great War Memorial erected by the Cork Independent Ex-Servicemen to the memory of their fallen comrades, took place on 17 March 1925. The ceremony was performed by General Harrison, the late commanding officer of the Royal Munster Fusiliers’ Depot, who took the salute from the foot of the Memorial. Many thousands of ex-servicemen, and widows and orphans of the men in whose honour the memorial was erected, were present at the ceremony. The day’s programme was an elaborate one and opened with parades of Ex-Servicemen at eleven o’clock. The two organisations in Cork—the Cork Independent Ex-Servicemen and the Cork branch of the British Legion participated. The memorial is carved in relief on a modest limestone obelisk, sitting on a plinth, is the profile of a Munster Fusiliers soldier in full military uniform, head down, gun at rest.


Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.




972a. Commemorations at First World War One Memorial, South Mall, 11 November 2013 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

972b. First World War Postcard from A Great Sacrifice (2010) edited by G White & Brendan O’Shea (source: Local Studies, Cork City Library)


972b. First World War Postcard from A Great Sacrifice

12 Nov 2018

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 12 November 2018

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Question to CE:

To ask the CE what are the differences between the “Super 7” measures of the City Centre Mobility Plan launched in August 2018 & and the revised city Centre parking and marketing measures for November and December 2018? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


In light of the ongoing difficulty in illegal parking in the vicinity of the old post office sorting office – now a residence – that bollards be placed on the road in Churchyard Lane opposite entrances to houses. This would create a chicane into the road and would achieve improved safety slowing vehicles down, improved safety for pedestrians as cars would no longer be able to park on top of footpaths thereby forcing pedestrians to walk on the road, guarantee residents easy access to their homes as cars could no longer park where the bollards are, stop illegal parking on the road, and ensure emergency services have ready access to all houses on and through the Lane (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

That Cork City Council locks in Earth Hour on its annual events calendar so it happens every year and is on par with other events. That Cork City Council participates in Earth Hour by switching off all of City Hall’s non-essential lights, particularly facade floodlights. That Cork City Council actively liaises with the relevant officials to broaden participation in Earth Hour to Cork City’s most-renowned buildings including: Saint Anne’s Church, North Cathedral, Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral and the Aula Maxima in UCC (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

11 Nov 2018

Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

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7. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018
6. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018
5. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018
4.Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

2.Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018
3.Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

8. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

9. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

10. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018
11. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018
12. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

13. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

14. Armistice Day 100, World War I Memorial, South Mall, Cork, 11 November 2018

8 Nov 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 8 November 2018

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971a. Photo of Donncha McNeilus in Volunteer uniform


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 8 November 2018

Stories from 1918: The McNeilus Prison Break


   One hundred years ago this week, news reports abounded in speculation to how one of the most famous escapes from an Irish and Cork prison occurred. On 11 November 1918 Donegal-born Donnacha McNeilus, in an elaborate plan involving dozens of men on the outside, was spirited to freedom.

   The only aspect remaining of the Cork County Gaol and later renamed Cork Male Prison is its architecturally perfect Doric entrance portico. It was built in 1818 off Western Road under the direction of the Inspector General of Prisons. The winner of the contract for building the “House of Correction” or the chosen architects were George and Richard Pain Brothers. It had a central block from which three, three-storey buildings stuck out from as well as two detached wings. Embedded into the prison’s architecture were ideas of surveillance, separation and silence and these were essential to the reform programme for prisoners. The centre block had also the Governor’s residence on the ground floor, a chapel for Catholics and Protestants on the second floor and an infirmary on the third floor. The radiating buildings provided a panoptical gaze and consisted of 78 cells with washing rooms in each area. Work rooms were located on the ground floor and a detached limestone church could be seen between the earlier gaol and the “house”. The gaol was constructed to keep people in and was heavily guarded.

   Fast forward to 4 November 1918 five armed RIC men, under the command of Head Constable Clarke, raided the lodgings of a Cork Volunteer named Donnchadh McNeilus (a Donegal man) with a view to his arrest. He was staying in the house of a man named Denis Kelleher at 28 Leitrim Street, Cork. McNeilus resisted arrest; he was armed with a revolver and, in the struggle, he shot and badly wounded Head Constable Clarke. McNeilus was eventually overpowered and taken prisoner to the then Cork Male Prison, formerly with the name Cork County Gaol.

   Commandant of the 2nd Battalion of the Cork No.1 Brigade Michael Murphy in a statement (document no WS1547) for the Bureau of Military History in 1956 detailed part of the reason for the escape plan. if Constable Clarke died MacNeilus would almost certainly be hanged, so the Cork Brigade officers took steps to bring about his rescue as soon as possible. Visits to McNeilus in gaol were made by various Volunteers and, in the course of these visits, a note was passed to him telling him to be prepared for anything’. On the afternoon of 11 November 1918, a number of Volunteers, armed with revolvers, began their prison break mission. The names of these Volunteers included Joe Murphy, Martin Donovan, Chris McSweeney, Paddy Healy, Frank McCarthy, Jerome Donovan and Paddy Varian. Frank McCarthy was dressed in clerical clothes to allay suspicion.

    In 1918, Frank Hynes, Captain No.1 in the Cork Brigade at that time, was also involved in the planning of the escape plan. His witness statement in the Bureau of Military History in Collin Barracks in Dublin (document no WS446) details the actual escape plan itself. There was no limit to visitors going to see a prisoner. Inside the big wooden gate was a waiting room. Between the wooden gate and a big iron gate was a type of a hall wide enough for a lorry to pass through both gates; outside the iron gate a path led up a hill to the cells. Joe Murphy and Jerome Donovan called to see McNeilus and ten minutes later two more called. They were in the waiting room with a guard who had the keys of both gates. The plan entailed when the two visitors who were with the prisoner, when their visit was coming to an end, they were to knock out the guard. The two volunteers in the waiting room were to calculate the end of the visit at the time, knock out their man and open the gates.

   A fifth man was placed outside the wooden gate to direct McNeilus round by the jail wall and onto the cross roads at Gaol Cross with Western Road where a motor car waited. On Gaol Bridge was a sixth man and his duty was to hold up any soldiers who might come to go into the jail. As luck would have it, two soldiers came along in a horse and tumbling cart. He held them up, got them down from the cart and made them stand on the bridge, He was worried that more would come, and he took the other man away from the gate to look after the soldiers, so that he would be free to watch the road. The result was that McNeilus had no one to guide him when he came out.

    In the interim inside in the waiting room the warder spotted something suspicious about his two waiting visitors and he went to the ‘phone to report, but one of them broke his jaw with a sandbag and the other knocked him out with his baton. In the meantime, the visitors with McNeilus knocked out their warden, but coming down they found a soldier with a rifle marching up and down by the iron gate. They watched until he had turned back on his beat from them, then they went to the gate which the other lads had opened. McNeilus rushed out the other gate and straight up the road towards the main road where he acquired a bike and cycled rapidly on.

Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.


971a. Photo of Donncha McNeilus in volunteer uniform (source: Cork City Library)

971b. Map of Cork County Gaol, 1872, later renamed Cork Male Prison (source: Cork City Library)

971c. Portico of former Cork County Gaol or Cork Male Prison, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)


971c. Portico of former Cork County Gaol or Cork Male Prison, present day


2 Nov 2018

Pictures, Dragon of Shandon Parade, Cork, 31 October 2018

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Very enjoyable Dragon of Shandon Parade again; many many thanks to Cork Community Art Link for all they do.







Dragon of Shandon Parade, Cork, 31 October 2018 Kieran McCarthy pictures












DSC07091 DSC07093


1 Nov 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 1 November 2018

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970a. View of Lough Mahon from Tivoli, c.1840


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 1 November 2018

Stories from 1918: The Tivoli Reclamation Plan


    During and up to the early years of the twentieth century campaigns by leading business organisations such as the two Chambers of Commerce (Incorporated and General) in Cork City and by the Cork Harbour Commissioners were ongoing for berths to be deepened at low water to keep all shipping afloat at the lowest tides. In 1918 the Cork Harbour Commissioners entered into discussion with the Board of Trade to acquire circa 155 acres of slobland at Tivoli for the purpose of pumping dredged material ashore, thus creating new land for industrial purposes. It was a project, which took many decades to come to fruition with the first ten years fraught with extra reports and land reclamation only beginning. In terms of history repeating itself in the last fortnight alone the Port of Cork has published new draft plans for the area, in light of the Port moving down river to Ringaskiddy.

   On 6 November 1918 a function took place to inaugurate the Cork Harbour Improvement Scheme at Tivoli. The Chairman Mr D J Lucy and members and officials of the Cork Harbour Board, accompanied by many citizens, left the Custom House quay on board the ship Innisherrer. On arrival at Tivoli the ceremony was performed by D J Lucey. The speeches are outlined in the Cork Examiner of the day.

    The proposal for reclamation of this portion of the riverside, or embankment, aimed to create a landbank, which would exclude the tidal waters from a tract of no less than 155 acres of slobland, extending from Tivoli to then existing Dunkettle Railway Station, a distance of two miles. The plans provided for the construction of quays on the foreshore at Tivoli Station, consisting of 500 feet of shallow water, berthage for trade, 700 feet of deep-water quay for the import trade, with an approach road, and with storage areas for which rents could be charged. Railway sidings were also proposed to be provided in connection with the quay, through liasing with the Great Southern and Western Railway Company, who already had a line to Youghal and a branch line to Queenstown (Cobh). The object of the extra depth at the deep-water wharf was to provide an extra 25 feet at low water – so that vessels of 16,000 tons carrying capacity could be accommodated. Vessels of 600 feet in length would also be able to swing from the wharf and then proceed to sea.

   The chairman D J Lucey was excited about the proposals. He highlighted that the proposed new scheme aspired to open up an entirely new area for the development for the Port of Cork. He deemed the scheme to be of the most far-reaching importance to Cork, as it would not alone vastly improve and develop the port, but it would provide much needed employment for Cork people. He asked that the Great Southern and Western Railway Company assist, encourage and facilitate the scheme especially the new sidings required. The existing Dunkettle railway station had been overcrowded for some time, and any scheme that would improve that situation would be most welcome. It was estimated that the time occupied in the carrying out of the scheme would be about 15 years and the financial outlay of £24,000 would be provided as follows – £10,000 received from the Ford Company for the concrete wharf on the Marina, and the balance from the Cork Harbour Board’s Reserve fund.

   The Chairman outlined that coal was cheap and the work could be done at a cost of 3d per ton with this expense deemed small in the overall scheme of work. The heavy coal bill of sending dredging material to sea could also be dealt with. The land could also be used for building ground after one-year post reclamation.

   The Tivoli Reclamation Scheme was the brainchild of Cork Harbour Engineer James Price. In his obituaries in the Cork Examiner on 29 September 1936 and on 1 October 1936, they describe that he was born in Dublin and came to Cork when he was quite a young man with his father, who was at one time the President of the Institute of Civil Engineers.  James was appointed Harbour Engineer by the Cork Harbour Commissioners in the 1890s and devoted his talents for close on forty years to the improvement of the port. Under his guidance many important changes took place. His first task on taking up his appointment was the difficult one of widening and deepening the channels of the Lee, and it was with this end in view that he recommended the purchase of the Lough Mahon dredger and the two large hoppers. Before the dredger began this project only comparatively small ships could come up the river channel to the quays at Cork.

    It was James Price too who planned and built the wharf to the east of the South Jetties, which was subsequently sold to Messrs Henry Ford and Son and which was an important factor in inducing that them to set up a factory in Cork. Another important work carried out under Mr Price’s guidance was the erection of the well-known concrete wharves at the South Jetties, 1,200 feet long, of which thirty feet of water was available at low tide.

Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.



970a. View of Lough Mahon from Tivoli, c.1840 – black and white engraving shows a view across the estuary from the city’s northern suburbs. It was produced by George K Richardson (fl.1833-1846) for the book The Scenery and Antiquities of Ireland (1840-1842).

970b. Plan of Tivoli Reclamation Scheme, 1929 by James Price & Cork Harbour Board


970b. Plan of Tivoli Reclamation Scheme, 1929 by James Price & Cork Harbour Board

28 Oct 2018

McCarthy: Skehard Road Works Ongoing, October 2018 Update

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   Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has said that the return of 23 semi mature trees along the revamped Skehard Road is a great way to offset the hard concrete surfaces now present from the design of new and widened footpaths; “ I have had correspondence from many locals who were upset by the removal of the trees, which provided much character to the area; I realise they were take down due to their size and effect on local footpaths but they were part and parcel of the sense of place of the neighbourhood for decades. It seems more and more trees are being taken away rather than being added to the cityscape due to storms or roadworks. Clearly the city needs a stronger tree management programme. The new trees will be planted in the coming planting season (November to March).

  The widening and renewal of Skehard Road Phase 2 (Parkhill Estate to Church Rd Junction including the C80 Junction) will be substantially complete by the end of this November. Construction of Skehard Road Phase 3 (the area between Church Rd Junction and the C80 Junction) is scheduled to commence in mid 2019. Land acquisition and detailed design for this phase is underway.

  Cllr McCarthy added; “Locals have also come to me to take issue with the existing traffic lights situation. John Stapleton, Roads Engineer with Cork City Council has informed me that traffic signals at the junction of Skehard Road and Church Road are currently running on fixed time settings as the ground sensors have yet to be installed and the signal controller has yet to be programmed. This work is scheduled to be complete in the coming four weeks”.

   Cllr McCarthy continued; “The Contractor recently added an additional period of time to allow pedestrians cross the road and from our observations on site. This appears to be operating satisfactorily however we will continue to monitor the situation. The new road layout including the additional lanes was created to improve the efficiency of the junction i.e. reduce traffic queuing. We’re confident that the new layout will significantly reduce traffic queuing when its complete and when the traffic signals are programmed and fully operational”.

25 Oct 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 25 October 2018

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969a. Antonio Canova’s cast of Mother of Napoleon in the Crawford Art Gallery

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 25 October 2018

A Gift from the Vatican – The Canova Casts


      Two hundred years ago this week, a ship from the UK containing 219 sculpture casts arrived into Cork. The acquisition of classical casts made an important contribution to Cork burgeoning art scene and in today’s Crawford Art Galley a cross section of them form the centre of an impressive sculpture display. Their context and journey to Cork is a unique story. Circa 1810, Pope Pius VII was anxious to express his gratitude to the English people for the return to the Vatican Galleries of many masterpieces looted by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Pope commissioned Italian artist, Antonio Canova, to make a set of over one hundred casts from the classical collection in the Vatican.

     Canova (1757-1822) was deemed the greatest sculptor of his time and his name was renown across Europe. A student of antiquity, he had interests in Roman restoration projects of artwork. His early work of a statuette of Apollo Crowning Himself, which he entered into a competition organised by the Venetian aristocrat Don Abbondio Rezzonico. This work led to a large successful line of marble statue commissions across Europe comprising Holland, Austria, Poland, Russia, and England. In France Napoleon Bonaparte was a patron of his commissioning large amounts of work and artistic depictions of Napoleon posing as the Roman God of War. Members of Napoleon’s family were also depicted in marble casts such as his sister, second wife and mother (appears in the Crawford Art Gallery). In 1802, be was given the post of Inspector-General of Antiquities and Fine Art of the Papal State.

 As a diplomatic gesture, in 1812, a set of Canova casts were shipped to London by the Vatican as a gift to the Prince Regent, later George IV. The Prince showed a lack of appreciation towards his papal acquisitions and the casts lay firstly in the London Custom House and then in the basement of his residence in Carleton Gardens. William Hare, 1st Lord Listowel of Convamore, Co. Cork (beside the River Blackwater), was a patron of the arts and as friend of the prince suggested that they be donated as a gift to the people of Cork.

     The Prince Regent donated the casts to the Society of Fine Arts in Cork City, whose premises was located on what is now the intersection of St Patrick’s Street and Opera Lane. An article in the Belfast Newsletter notes that the casts were shipped on Saturday 24 October 1818 – arriving a few days after. A contemporary account best tells the story of this event, more especially when it comes from a manuscript autobiographical sketch written by one of the greatest beneficiaries from the casts, Corkman Daniel Maclise.

“A former theatre once supported by the Apollo Society of Amateur Actors was fixed upon as the most suitable place for the reception of the valuable collection of casts. It was situated in a principal street, Patrick Street, and the stage was screened off by a well-painted scene of the interior of a Greek temple. The pit was boarded over and the gallery was partitioned off. The boxes remained only as they were, and the statues were arranged around the Parterre with much taste on moveable pedestals under the Superintendence of a London gentleman who was sent over for the purpose, and whose name happened appropriately enough to be Corkaigne”.

    Shortly after the acquisition, the Cork Society of Fine Arts suffered financial difficulty and could not pay the rent of the premises in which the casts were kept. Under considerable embarrassment, they applied to the government for monetary aid. The Westminster Government and under the recommendation of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland stated they could grant no aid but recommended them to amalgamate with the Royal Cork Institution. An arrangement was made that the Royal Cork Institution should attain the casts and pay the debt of £500-£600 that was contracted by the Society of Fine Arts. A compromise was made of £300 and the casts were moved to the Institution’s premises on Jameson Row.

    For several years after, a Dr John Woodruffe used the casts as part of his classes in anatomy in the city. He leased a building in Margaret Street in the South Parish and offered a course of “Anatomical and Surgical Lectures”, which involved drawing and dissection.  John welcomed all aspiring art students or medical students or members of the military. Young artists could develop their talent for drawing human figures. Two students Daniel Maclise and John Hogan went to have great careers in the art world. At the age of sixteen, Corkman Daniel Maclise (1806- 1870) finally exchanged a banking desk for the easel, managing to maintain himself by the sale of his sketches. His early works showed a marked attention to form rather than colour. His compositions tended to be set-pieces, composed of groups of figures telling a story. His first money was earned by drawing portraits of all the officers of the 14th Light Dragoons (a garrison of soldiers), who were then stationed in the city.

    During his time as a student of John Woodruffe’s, Waterford man John Hogan (1800-1850) carved a pine-wood skeleton that remained long in use for Woodroffe’s anatomy lectures. By 1820, John Hogan had left Thomas Deane’s office to devote his career to wood-carving and sculpting. Hogan’s first patron was the Catholic Bishop of Cork, Dr Murphy, himself a friend of Antonio Canova. The Bishop kept him busy for a year, commissioning him to carve twenty-seven figures, three and a half feet high, of apostles and saints, which can now be viewed in SS Mary and Anne’s Cathedral as well as a carved copy of Leonardo de Vinci’s Last Supper in bas-relief for the altar.

 Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

 Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.


 969a. Antonio Canova’s cast of Mother of Napoleon in the Crawford Art Gallery (pictures: Kieran McCarthy)

 969b. Antonio Canova casts in the Crawford Art Gallery


969b. Antonio Canova casts in the Crawford Art Gallery


23 Oct 2018

Cllr McCarthy Launches Heritage Facebook Series on the River Lee Valley

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    Douglas Road and Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy continues his public heritage dissemination work online for the winter months. Kieran recently had a successful series of historical walking tours in different Cork neighbourhoods for October including Douglas. He also recently launched a new book entitled Cork in 50 Buildings. A third element of his heritage work this season relates to his heritage facebook site. Since early August this year Kieran McCarthy has been profiling the local histories of the River Lee valley on his heritage facebook page – Cork Our City, Our Town. Daily local history notes and historic images are posted and abstracted from Kieran’s publications on the river Lee over the past 12 years. The posts aim to showcase the multitude of local histories in the valley and to celebrate life in the valley. Cllr McCarthy noted: “the posts focus on the journey of the Lee and the key places of settlement, monuments and community leaders all the way along the valley. The posts contain lots of old local history pictures, past fieldwork & oral history testimony”.

  The daily facebook posts also draw on a past book by Kieran and Seamus O’Donoughue on the Lee Hydro Electric Scheme. The work was published by the ESB to mark the 50th anniversary of Inniscarra Dam being commissioned. The facebook posts has pictures of the Lee Scheme being constructed and pictures of the ‘before and after’ of the affected landscape.

    Kieran has also recently launched a facebook page for his local government work (“Cllr Kieran McCarthy”). It compliments his website kieranmcarthy.ie and twitter account @cllrkmac. Cllr McCarthy noted; “All aim to give constituents more information on my broad and ongoing work programs and interests within the city and region”.

18 Oct 2018

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 18 October 2018

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968a. Irish Soldiers of the 16th Division during World War I


Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 18 October 2018

The Recruitment Dilemma

    Sunday 20 October 1918 brought the supporters of Cork Sinn Féin and the World War I Recruitment Office clashing again at a recruitment meeting of the Grand Parade. The Cork Examiner recorded an angry crowd of some thousands present, who interrupted and prevented the speakers from their orations. Previous to the meeting military bands promenaded the principal streets. aeroplanes flew over the city and dropped literature in connection with condemnation of the sinking of the RMS Leinster. The vessel operated by the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, served as the Kingstown-Holyhead mailboat until she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine UB-123 on 10 October 1918.

            Mr Maher Loughnan, BL who was given a quiet hearing, said he presided in the absence of Mr Harold Barry, the County High Sheriff. He considered it not only a pleasure but a duty to address them, for he was there for no imperial motive whatsoever.

    Captain Irvine, on coming forward, was greeted with groans and hisses. For some time this continued from a section of some hundreds right in the centre of the crowd. After a while there was a lull, and Captain Irvine began by saying; “I have great pleasure in addressing you today, but before I speak to the subject proper I want to tell you of my little experience in the South. I came from the North, and there the South has a reputation of breaking up meetings. I don’t believe any Irishmen will prevent a speaker”. The men in the crowd then began to sing the Soldiers’ Song. The chairman appealed for order and asked them to give the gentleman a chance. The singing continued, and voices shouted; “You will get no recruits here”, and “You are like a statue-up there, we will give you no chance”, and counter shouts of “Up the khaki”, to which voices answered: “Up the rebels every time”.

   Captain Irvine was unable to proceed and resumed his seat. A funeral passed; Captain Irvine, directed attention to the fact. His voice did not carry beyond the immediate area of the waggonette, and it was not until he stood to attention that the crowd became aware of the passing cortege.

   Captain Irvine began again: “Men of Cork. I am here today to ask you to avenge the Leinster”. The hissing and booing broke out afresh, and Captain Irvine asked, “Do you cheer those men who sank the Leinster? Do you cheer the men who committed every outrage imaginable in this war?”. The singing now was taken up, and there was much hissing and jeering, and some counter-cheering. To this, Captain Irvine said: “Men must be absolutely misguided who cannot listen to sound argument – men who cheer an abominable outrage like the sinking of the Leinster. I am perfectly certain there are thousands of men in this assemblage who hate and detest every outrage that the Germans committed, and I think it a great pity that a few men in the crowd should try to stop a man telling that which he believes to be true, and give honest reasons why men should at the present moment, instead of cheering the Germans should help the Allied cause”.

   The singing all the time continued, and some replies made by people in the crowd were not heard. Captain Irvine orated; “It is not sportsmanlike, or playing fair with the fair name of Ireland, which had a reputation for sportsmanship, and I believe at least the vast majority of Irishmen are sportsmen, and it seemed a great pity that a few should try to sally her fair name. If you wish to be represented at the Peace Conference as a nation, how can you expect it if you are not going to give the Allied cause, the winning cause, the fair play it deserves?”.

    The rival parties ended up shouting at each other, and neither had the slightest chance of hearing a Lieutenant O’Riordan who was introduced. Freedom, nationality, and liberty was the cause he espoused, and he believed that to that sacred cause the young men of Cork were prepared to listen. He shouted above the din, “As an Irishman I ask the men of Cork to follow in the footsteps or those glorious sons of Cork, the Munster Fusiliers. That local regiment shed undying lustre on Cork, and their memory would live as Irishmen who had fought for the glory of their country”. Throughout his speech the noise was incessant, and the meeting looked angry J B Connolly, a prisoner of war in Germany, faced the meeting and also attempted to address it but with no better success.

As the speakers proceeded to leave, there was a surge towards them. They walked towards the City Hall, followed by a few hundred persons shouting and booing. They were pressing in on the speakers, and the police drew their batons. There was a general stampede, and in the rush some persons got baton strokes, while others dodged and narrowly escaped being trampled-on. The baton charge, which lasted for a few minutes, was indiscriminate, but as far as could be ascertained no one was injured. After some time the place cleared, and no further incidents took place.


968a. Irish Soldiers of the 16th Division during World War I (source: Cork City Library)

968b. Irish Soldiers in the trenches on the western front of World War I (source: Cork City Library)


Kieran’s new book, Cork in Fifty Buildings (2018, Amberley Publishing) is now available in Cork bookshops.

Kieran is also showcasing some of the older column series on the River Lee on his heritage facebook page at the moment, Cork Our City, Our Town.


968b. Irish Soldiers in the trenches on the western front of World War I