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26 Oct 2019

Autumnal Landscapes at Cork’s Beaumont Park, 26 October 2019

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25 Oct 2019

Pictures, Cork Jazz Festival Parade, 25 October 2019

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25 Oct 2019

Douglas Flood Relief Scheme Works ongoing in Douglas Community Park

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    Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the ongoing works in Douglas Community Park as part of the Douglas Flood Relief Scheme. The Contractor has installed safety barriers along the western edge of the cycle track and this half of the park (between the cycle track and the river) will be out of public use for the duration of the works.  It is estimated that the works to the park will take approximately 5-6 months to complete.

    Due to the extensive planned works to Douglas Community Park and Church Road, the opportunity was taken by Cork County Council Architects Department (before the move of Douglas village into the City Council administration area) to deliver a public amenity outcome from the Flood relief works. This was as envisioned in the Douglas Land Use Transport Strategy 2013 (DLUTS) to deliver public Realm outcomes for the community.

    Cllr McCarthy noted: “The river will be visually opened to the park to create a pleasant riverside walking and viewing areas which are accessible and safe. Quality materials and bespoke furniture will be incorporated to provide place making and flexible use of public space for community events”.

   The widening of the river and the replacement of the left bank with a gabion wall (on private lands) reduces the space allowable for replanting of trees. To account for this, relocation of proposed trees and scrubs was designed in cooperation with a Landscape Architect Consultant to create screening and sheltering at appropriate locations. Where possible, existing trees will be retained and incorporated into the revise layout plan. Selections of scrubs and grasses are included to compliment the tree planting.

     Compensation replanting will also be provided in other areas of the community to account for any net loss of trees to the park/Church road. The location of these areas will be identified in consultation with Cork City Council Parks Department and the Tidy Towns Association.  For more information on the development of the scheme please visit www.DouglasFRS.ie

25 Oct 2019

Autumnal Walk in Old Court Woods, Rochestown, 23 October 2019

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24 Oct 2019

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 24 October 2019

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1020a. Lord Mayor William F O’Connor on the first Fordson tractor produced in the Cork Plant, 3 July 1919 (source Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 24 October 2019

Tales from 1919: A Detroit Visitor to the Cork Ford Plant


    In October 1919, American writer, Mr Jay G Hayden, contributed an engaging article for the Detroit News on the history and prospects of the Ford factory on the Marina in Cork. His story begins with a brief sketch of the Ford family in Ballinascarty. He then moves to write about Henry Ford who visited Ireland for the first time in 1913. He describes how Henry Ford introduced the Fordson tractor manufacturing and distributing plant to Cork to appeal to the European market. Cork, he deemed, was an ideal industrial location as every commodity needed in the manufacture of tractors could be procured in Europe and these could come through English ports.

    Mr Hayden describes in his article that the experts whom Henry Ford sent to work out his plans in Cork found many obstacles in their way. The First World War was in progress and British war regulations imposed a ban against any new industries, which absorbed British materials and labour. Mr Ford’s team argued that the tractors manufactured would do much to support the relieving of the food shortage. There was also no labour force in Ireland skilled in the way of American manufacturing methods. Mr Ford placed against these shortcomings, the superiority of his manufacturing methods and the ability to train workers in Cork.

   The Cork Park Racecourse, lying beside the River Lee, was selected as the development site, but the procedure for its acquisition was not straightforward. The property was owned by the Corporation of Cork but permission to sell the property had to be sanctioned by the Local Government Board – the British administrative body, which supervised Irish municipal and local affairs. An act of the British Parliament was required and this took many months before it was pushed through various technicalities. Construction of the plant was not begun until after the Armistice in November 1918. It was only on 1 July 1919 that the first Irish assembled tractor was ready to roll off the assembly line. By October 1919, the plant was turning out five tractors a day.

   The manager of the Cork plant was Edward Grace, a young businessman from Detroit. He went into the Ford manufacturing business from high school and his industrial education was in the plants at Highland Park and Dearborn. He was sent to Cork with three other superintendents from the Dearborn plant. Every other employee was a Corkman, many of whom had been trained in rural industry but had to be retrained as mechanics.

   Mr Grace on being interviewed by Mr Hayden denoted that the Cork labour pool had to be retrained in an American way of working so that productivity was higher than the Irish way of working; “The raw labour, we get here is highly superior to that which we are now getting in Detroit, and there is an unlimited number of men to choose from…our great aim is to get men to start with who haven’t anything to unlearn. We want to start with them from the ground up. The great trouble with the average Irish labourer in the beginning is that he works slowly with the first purpose of making his job last as long as possible”.

   Mr Grace explained that there was a great difference between the Ford method of manufacturing and the British method. The British manufacturer depended on skilled trades and a great many special tradesmen in the plant. The American plan was to have “very few men who know how but to have a great body of common labour”. It was also fundamentally the difference between machine and hand production. As to machinery Mr Grace argued that the British manufacturer had a different idea, as to machinery; “The life of a machine is fixed to so many years, and hence machines are run at speeds, which will not wear it out before the appointed time. The Ford theory is that if a machine wears out in one month, so much the better. We get our money out of it just that much quicker and make way for a more modern machine, which may do the work faster and better”.

   On trade unions, Mr Grace did not have an issue with them and in his interview, he presumed that every man in the Ford plant was a member of a labour union; “We have solved the labour question here just as we have solved it in Detroit, by paying more than the union scale of wages. You don’t have much trouble with workers when they are getting more than they can get anywhere else. Our present minimum wage is 40 cents an hour. We fixed the amount as best we could on the basis of the Irish cost of living and the wages paid elsewhere in Cork. We wanted to make the wages sufficient so the men would be contented while at the same time not disrupting the existing but industries in the city”.

    In October 1919, the Cork Fordson plant was not yet manufacturing many tractor parts in Ireland due to the inability to secure raw materials. Mr Grace outlined that there were no ships to be had to haul supplies from England and even if it could be gotten over, British steel had increased to a prohibitive purchasing price. The British quotation for steel was approximately 115 dollars per ton, as against 58 dollars in America. It was found more economical to ship finished parts from America. Mr Grace highlighted that he hoped that the Cork plant would eventually manufacture no parts at Cork, but to ship raw steel from America, at lower prices than the British ones. The Ford plant had been compelled though to manufacture most of its working tools from raw steel in the Cork plant.

Kieran’s book The Little Book of Cork Harbour (2019) is published by The History Press and is available in Waterstones, Vibes and Scribes and Easons.



1020a. Lord Mayor William F O’Connor on the first Fordson tractor produced in the Cork Plant, 3 July 1919 (source: Cork City Library).

1020b. Jay G Hayden, Detroit Newspaperman and Henry Ford at White House, Washington DC, USA 28 April 1938 (picture: Library of Congress, US).

1020b. Jay G Hayden, Detroit Newspaperman and Henry Ford at White House, Washington DC, USA 28 April 1938

19 Oct 2019

Cllr McCarthy: Douglas Library to Re-Open in Temporary Premises, October 2019

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Press Release:

Douglas Library is set to re-open in a temporary premises. Douglas Library suffered considerable damage as a result of the recent fire in Douglas Village Shopping Centre.  In a question by Cllr Kieran McCarthy to the Chief Executive of Cork City Council during the past week, it has been confirmed that three-quarters of the books have been burned or charred and need to be destroyed. Since the fire, Council officials have been working to try and restore a library service to the community in Douglas and environs, as quickly as possible.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “the Council proposes to provide a pop-up library facility initially on a three days per week basis, in a suitable location in Douglas.  They expect that this will commence early in November 2019.  Discussions are continuing with the owners of the premises involved”.

Director of Services Adrienne Rogers hopes that discussions will be concluded in a satisfactory manner in the very near future; “The Council is also making progress in restoring a full library service in Douglas on an interim basis. This would be in a smaller location that the Library damaged by the fire, but would be on the basis of a 5-day, 40 hours per week service.  It is expected that there would be some refurbishment  to  be  carried  out  to  enable  this  interim  solution,  and  Council  officials  are  urgently progressing this matter”.  

Refurbishment is likely to take a number of months, and more detailed information will be provided to councillors in the near future.

As Douglas Library was a lending facility, like other local libraries, one third approximately of the stock was in circulation outside of the premises at the time of the fire, and this stock will be available to initiate the resumption of service in Douglas.  The Council is in discussions with the relevant government department to secure funding for additional stock, and is hopeful of a positive outcome.

Cllr McCarthy noted; “Douglas Library is a cultural focal point in the village and has a high membership with adults and in particular younger people using it. It also hosted a large number of weekly community events, which attracted a lot of interested local people. It is imperative that the Library is got up and running again”.

18 Oct 2019

Cllr McCarthy to stage An Evening of Musical Theatre, Sunday 20 October 2019

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   Douglas Road Cllr Kieran McCarthy directs Cork City Musical Society’s “Greatest Tunes and Melodies, An Evening of Musical Theatre” at the Firkin Crane, Shandon on Sunday 20 October at 8pm. The Musical Director is Jimmy Brockie and the producer is Yvonne Coughlan of Red Sandstone Varied Productions. Tickets are e18 and are online at www.firkincrane.ie.

  Cork City Musical Society have staged 3 musicals and multiple community concerts since the society’s founding.

Founded by Cllr McCarthy in 2015, it was years of performing in shows and being involved in community work that led Kieran to create the musical society.

   Cllr McCarthy advocates that Cork City is vibrant in drama education, various musical genres, musical theatre and all forms of opera, all of which are brought to the Cork masses through stage schools and theatres.

“It goes without saying that a rich vein of musicality runs underneath our city, Cork’s DNA embraces the promotion and development of music as an artistic discipline to be developed and one that brings a community together to engage with and appreciate it. The city in musical theatre terms is particularly blessed by several stage schools, small and large, who promote amongst our young people creativity, skill development, education, performance, community building and audience development, and the charity of sharing their craft, amongst other important traits”.

“Amateur musical societies are multiple in nature up and down the country. All bring their local communities together under a volunteer and charity umbrella – collaborating and bringing people together to create an outlet for people and to put drama, music and all ultimately form a key cultural vein within towns and villages”.

   Continuing Cllr McCarthy highlighted that Cork City Musical Society in particular “focuses on the aspect of community building and the promotion of musical theatre amongst adults and the idea of inclusivity and self-development for all who wish to engage with it”. Check out Cork City Musical Society on facebook for more details.

17 Oct 2019

Dr Kieran McCarthy. Conferring Address, Humanities Conferrings, National University of Ireland, Cork, 17 October 2019

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President of UCC, distinguished members of the academic platform, ladies and gentlemen, and most significantly graduates here this afternoon. It is an immense honour to be able to address you.

Those who have collected their degrees this afternoon you should be very proud of your achievement. Have no doubt that the top platform is very proud of you and your family and friends present are beaming with pride. Days like today are ones to be treasured.

In our busy lives, we often don’t take the time out to celebrate our achievements. And I hope that for many it won’t be your last parchment or your last efforts in learning something new, and that today is just one chapter in an interesting and engaging journey of your life that you are trekking across.  Whether you are a young student or pursuing education from an older adult’s perspective, lifelong learning is very important.

 Do take the moment to reflect on the scroll within your hand, and please don’t consign it to a drawer but do frame it and put it up. And most importantly use what you have learned – whether that be new skillsets or the beginning of a lifelong love with sub-topics within your chosen subject fields.

It’s twenty years since I graduated with my BA degree in archaeology and geography – and one of the first aspects I learned is that the afterlife of a BA degree is up to yourself. From the perspectives of a humanities degree, you have all learned new skills sets, new ways of looking at the world, at society, at community life – to mind it, to engage with it, to push forward narratives, and add to knowledge itself.

I took what I learned from UCC and applied it to a hobby which has also become my career – that of a local historian plus have applied it to my several other hats – in my community work, my local government work and my European work. I am for all intents and purposes one of many local historians which Ireland possesses – guardians of stories and story-telling and who are very passionate about their home place.

I spend large tracts of my time collecting histories and memories of Cork’s past gone by. I criss-cross the landscapes of Cork City and regions looking to find what makes it tick and looking to see how this “tick” can be harnessed to make my home city, region and its communities a better place.

The heritage of Cork survives in various conditions from complete disappearance to physical and metaphorical ruins to surviving because it is being used in everyday lives in a personal way.

Shortly after my BA degree, I embarked on a post degree personal project – an exploration of the River Lee Valley from source to city; I estimated at the start of my personal project that it would six months- in truth it took six years to reach the weir at the Lee Fields.

One aspect for certain is that the more I researched the places within the valley or the more doors I knocked on, the more information came to the fore. What is also apparent is that everybody’s view of the world is different. It could be an insider’s view or an outsider’s view, such as my own. For most people I have met, heritage was a personal and collective experience focusing on their own roots. In fact, the historical data played ‘second fiddle’ to their personal stories. It has been interesting to see how stories and values have been handed down, and how each successive generation has taken it in turn to hold a torch for some element of the past in the present.

One recurring aspect is how much the region’s cultural heritage runs metaphorically in ‘people’s blood’. There were a large number of people who noted, ‘my father used to say’ or ‘my mother used to say’. That sense of inheritance is important and it is more than just honouring people. It conjures up debates about achievement and loss, and it is more than just recalling the memory of a few. For each person I interviewed many more are represented through their life experiences. One is allowed to ponder on the power of the individual and their contribution to society, whether at a local or international level. The evolution of ideas can be mapped.

So one of the most abiding aspects I have learned over the years and one I have become a very firm believer that everyone has a story to tell – and everyone engages with the world in their own personal way. Hence respect for each personal perspective is paramount. But not just the personal perspective but how stories interact with each other in community life.

All of you will bring what you’ve learned back to a community you’ve come from or you will carve out a career in a new communities.

With the humanities degree you receive today you are the next generation of a community of story collectors and story tellers. There is a power in the scroll you hold. You now have the responsibility to be guardians of what you have learned.

From my own journey, I regularly see the power of a community outreaching and working together. Of course, the nature, depth and value of participation in creating inclusion or bringing people together are significant factors. As an exercise, in preparing for this address I broke up the respective letters of community, I came up with the following thoughts, which I wish to share, and which I hope connect to some of where you find yourself this afternoon:

  • The C is for citizen; active citizenship develops a sense of belonging. One is also taking ownership of one’s life direction. So please Use your degree.

  • O is for onus and responsibility. I think that any community in particular has a responsibility to its people and must move forward with a plan as best as possible. So please move forward with your plan.

  • The first M of community is for motivating. A group of people together can be inspiring, encouraging, empowering and enabling. You are an enabler of your own future.

  • The second M is for moving forward. The future is a worrying element for many people. But as we grow older we all grow wiser. You can’t buy wisdom, go and earn it.

  • U is for understanding. From my own travels and attending community meetings, every attender has something to bring to a community. As a result, community has various meanings to people. Listen and engage with people to carve your future.

  • N is for the next generation in the community. New people bring vibrancy and energy to any work they engage with. Most are also looking for opportunities to develop their talents and to fit in. Community adds to help people develop in personal ways. Stay fresh and dynamic and stay focussed.

  • The I is for ideas. Brain storming and a plan on paper is important. People need direction, something to work toward. Otherwise, the heart of the community will become stale and disillusioned. Flesh out your ideas.

  • T is for tolerance of the ‘other’. Working together as a team, getting everyone involved is important. People working together can stop the decline of local living places and bring them to renewed states of stability and viability. Everyone’s story is important to the mosaic, which is life.

  • The Y of community is about the yearning to be part of something- to do something purposeful, to hone our personal talents, to create and sustain strong bonds. Yearn and go do.

These are just ideas. If you are a story-teller, then building community capacity must be a core element of your future plan in passing on knowledge and developing a sense of identity and a sense of pride.

If you are the story tellers of the future, then today closes a page in one chapter but as you walk out in a few minutes into the Atlantic light of Ireland’s southern capital, a new page will appear. It is up to you what you wish to write on it.

Enjoy the celebrations and thank you for listening to me on your special day.



17 Oct 2019

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 17 October 2019

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1019a. Crawford College of Art, 1919, from Cork Its Trade & Commerce



Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 17 October 2019

Tales from 1919: A Tour of the Cork School of Art


    On the week of the 24 October 1919 under the auspices of the Cork Literary and Scientific Society, a successful conversazione or public conversation event was held at the Cork School of Art within the Crawford Art Gallery on Emmet Place. In their dispatches of their activities to the press that evening the Society refer to the work by the pupils of the craft and trade classes and give an insight into life within the school one hundred years ago.

   The Society praised the efforts of Corkman and Head Master Mr Hugh Charde, who was in the job since February 1919. In the preface of the School of Art’s 1919 prospectus the objects of the institution were given – “to give a practical knowledge of drawing, design, modeling, painting, etc and to furnish useful training to those whose vocation depends in any way on the application of art to the trades, crafts, or professions; so that the workman can become more skilled in his trade or craft and the designer possesses more knowledge in the application to the various processes of manufacture and handicraft”. On the evening of the conversazione, the work being pursued by the pupils of the trade and craft classes were shown to the members of the Cork Literary and Scientific Society. Explanation was given by the teachers to the visitors of the history and ethos of the school. Established originally in 1850 in the old Custom House, the School of Art was re-established in 1877 and subsequently inspired the funding and building of the Crawford Art Gallery within a few short years.

    In October 1919, passing through the sculpture galleries, the visitors of the Cork Literary and Scientific Society came first to the modelling class, under the direction of Mr Michael McNamara. Here the pupils were engaged in modelling in all its stages, from the work of the seniors, copying a head from the antique, to those who were engaged on copying “ornament of various kinds at every stage of elaboration”. The “sureness and skill” of even the most junior pupils were much commented upon by the visitors. Another department, the wood carving class, also under Mr McNamara, evoked the same positive comments, and the many finished specimens of the work of this class shown around the building were much admired.

   Passing from the modelling room, the next class was that in artistic lithography. There throughout the evening there was always a crowd of visitors listening with interest to the full and painstaking explanation of the master, Mr R Baker, and admiring the work of his pupils, and the practical skill they showcased. In the room devoted to enamelling and art metal work, under the direction of a Mr Archer, every stage of the work was to be viewed. Here stories were relayed about Cork silver work and the ongoing efforts to keep the interest in silver-smithing alive in the City. The painting and decorating class, under Mr D Fitzgibbon, also highlighted evidence of sound practical teaching and an artistic sense of the possibilities of the craft.

     The classes on the upper floors were of special interest where the beautiful art needlework and embroidering of Miss O’Shea’s class, the lace work of Mrs Allen’s pupils, and the artistic leather work of the class conducted by Miss Reynolds and Miss O’Neill were displayed to interested visitors.

   In the library of the school the visitors had an opportunity to see some of the art school’s collection – supplemented by many curious books and papers from the Cork Carnegie Library selected by James Wilkinson, the librarian of that establishment.

    A display of microscopes, showing many interesting slides, the circulation of the blood, also made a most interesting exhibit, arranged by the kindness of Prof D T Barry, and under the charge of Dr J M O’Donovan and some of the students of University College.

    The principal of the School of Art Mr Hugh Charde was proud of the evening’s work. A native of Cobh, Hugh Charde (1858-1946) was Principal of the Crawford School of Art from 1919 to 1937. He was a teacher in the School since as far back as 1889 and received his early tuition in the Drawing School of the North Monastery. He later studied at the School of Art under Mr James Brennan, RHA. He then undertook an extended Continental studentship. He studied abroad at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at Antwerp under M. Verlat, and at Paris under celebrated artists of their day. In 1889, Hugh was appointed as an assistant teacher in the School of Art in Cork. He was made second Art Master in 1907 and Principal in 1919 following the death of the principal William Mulligan.

    Apart from instructing and encouraging young art students, during his forty-eight years connection with the School of Art, Hugh Charde was a painter of great ability himself. Of latter years he specialised in water colours. He was imbued with a deep love of the Irish countryside and the coastline, and his works bore testimony to this love, with many of them appearing at the Royal Hibernian Academy. Hugh Charde was also the founder of the Munster Fine Art Club, of which he was President for very many years.

Kieran’s book The Little Book of Cork Harbour (2019) is published by The History Press and is available in Waterstones, Vibes and Scribes and Easons.



1019a. Crawford College of Art, 1919, from Cork: Its Trade & Commerce (source: Cork City Library).

1019b. Canova Casts within the Sculpture Gallery of the Crawford Art Gallery, 1925 (picture: Crawford Art Gallery Archive).

1019b. Canova Casts within the Sculpture Gallery of the Crawford Art Gallery, 1925

14 Oct 2019

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 14 October 2019

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Question to CE:

To ask the CE about work to restore Douglas Library in a temporary premises and work ongoing to save the book stock? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)



That a guard rail barrier be erected between the gate and the road outside Ballinlough Community Park on Boreenmanna Road. The gate leads directly on to the Boreenmanna Road and there is no pedestrian guard rail / safety barrier to stop small children running straight onto the road if somebody left the gate open (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

As per previous motions by fellow colleagues in the south east LEA, and building upon their previous calls, that the process to close part of the Marina on Sunday afternoons be expediated (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Cork City Hall