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European Committee of the Regions Work, 7 May 2021:


READ the May 2021 European Alliance newsletter, a group which I am proud to chair at present,

https://web.cor.europa.eu/ea/News/Newsletter/Documents/EA%20Newsletter%2005-21.pdf

Introduction to May Newsletter by Kieran:

“On the 9th May we will celebrate Europe day which is also the 70th anniversary of the Schuman declaration , which is the basis of the European Union we have today. When Ireland joined the European Communities in 1973, few people could foresee that it will evolve in the union we have today.

This sense of community needs to be the centrepiece of the conference on the future of the EU. The conference cannot be a top down exercise but a real participatory mechanism which embraces the needs of the citizens whether they are in Cork or Corsica; in Brussels or Białystok.

Local and regional authorities can build bridges between the EU institutions and the citizen and I hope the European Committee of the Regions can be pivotal in these discussions.

As vaccinations roll out we need to look towards the recovery in our communities and allowing people a step towards normal life. This is why we welcome the Digital Green Certificate as a step to allow European citizens to visit family and friends in different regions or allow business to recover, in particular in our tourism sector.

The Next Generation EU is now available for boosting our recovery, this needs to be made available to finance local projects. This is how we will ensure local sustainable and green jobs which will help the social and economic development of our cities, villages and local communities. The CoR is a willing partner to make this happen.

Finally, after a long way, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we need to #HoldFirm and #Staysafe,Kieran”

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 6 May 2021

1098a. Ballykinlar Internment Camp, Co. Down, 1921 (picture: Cork City Library).
1098a. Ballykinlar Internment Camp, Co. Down, 1921 (picture: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 6 May 2021

Journeys to a Truce: A Corkman at Ballykinlar

Much reference is given in the newspapers of Spring 1921 to Cork Volunteers from across the batalions of the Cork IRA Brigades being rounded up and sent to Ballykinlar Internment Camp in County Down. Monaghan born Frank O’Duffy was interned in Camp II, Ballykinlar from January to December 1921 and acted as Prisoners’ Commandant in that camp from June to December 1921. 

In his witness statement in the Bureau of Military History (WS665), Frank describes that there were two internment camps at Ballykinlar – Camp I and Camp II. Though these two camps adjoined each other for a short distance at one end being separated only by the double fence of barbed wire, which encircled each camp they were isolated from each other, and communication between the prisoners in one camp and those in the other was banned. Frank relates of this latter issue: “This regulation was overcome, however, by the simple plan of throwing messages (attached to a stone) from one camp to the other at the place where the two camps adjoined. To prevent these messages falling into the hands of the British a code of signals was arranged to indicate ‘coast clear’, and safe receipt of the message”.

Each camp was self-contained, apart from the fact that there was only one hospital for sick prisoners. This was located in Camp I, and this fact was availed of for discussions of important issues of policy between the prisoners’ leaders of the two camps: a reliable person from Camp II “went sick” and got transferred to the hospital. It was also availed of to transfer men who were wanted by British crown forces from one camp to the other. Though there was a British medical officer on the staff of the Camps, the medical treatment of the prisoners was left mainly to their own doctors, of whom there were a number among the prisoners. So, names could be changed on documentation.

Each camp contained (when full) 1,000 (one thousand) prisoners. These were divided, for purposes of administration, into four companies (250 men each), and each company was housed in ten huts (25 men to each hut). The companies in Camp I were described as A, B, C, and D, and those in Camp II as E, F, G, and H. In addition to the huts, in which the men slept, the camp buildings included large central huts for use as chapel, dining-hall, recreation (concerts etc.), canteen, cook-house, work-shops, etc. The sanitary arrangements were very primitive with latrines and buckets.

At first no objection was raised to the prisoners’ drilling in the camp, and all (especially the younger men) were drilled for some time each forenoon. A roll was made (and checked, as far as possible) of all prisoners who were Volunteer Officers, and lectures and training. Frank details: “Prisoners who had taken part in ambushes or other military events gave an account of them, and discussions on tactics, etc. took place. After a few weeks, an order was issued by the British forbidding drill in the camp, but military training continued secretly”.

Formal classes in subjects such as Irish maths and surveying also took place. Examinations were held and certificates issued at the end of some of the educational courses. Lectures, debates, and discussions were frequently held. Frank describes that historical anniversaries for Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet, and host of other names were faithfully celebrated. Dramatic performances were also staged frequently. Some of the prisoners devoted all their spare time to the preparations for these performances, (making costumes, scenery, etc.), and the results of their work sometimes reached a high standard.

In his witness statement Frank also compliments the Irish classes section – who have as he notes, “the  most faithful and hard-working of the Irish teachers” – being  Cork’s Cllr Micheál Ó Cuill (of Cork Corporation). Micheál’s obituary in the Cork Examiner on 19 September 1955 describes that he was a native of the Macroom district, he came to Cork circa 1910. He was connected with Countess Markievicz in the founding and organising of Fianna Eireann and a few years later was largely responsible for the formation of Cumann na mBan.

Micheál was one of the Cork volunteers who paraded at Easter 1916 hoping to take part in the Rising. When circumstances prevented Corkmen from playing their part he set out alone for Dublin and had got to the neighbourhood of the city when the surrender took place. He was arrested and deported to Frongoch.

Micheál was a close friend of Terence MacSwiney and TomásMacCurtain and worked closely with them in the Irish Volunteers. He became a member of Sinn Féin’s bench in Cork Corporation in January 1920. It was he who, speaking in Irish, proposed Tomás MacCurtain for the office of Lord Mayor on 30 January. On Terence’s death Micheál was sent to be among the Guard of Honour to the deceased Lord Mayor in London. He also acted tor some time as Deputy Lord Mayor following Terence’s death before Donal Óg O’Callaghan took on the position. In late 1920 he was arrested in Cork City and sent to Ballykinlar.

Micheál was an ardent lover ofIrish and a fluent speaker of it, He was one of theprominent Gaelic League organisers and teachers in the country and later in time became Vice President of a Cork branch of the Conradh na Gaeilge. For many years he conducted classes at An Dún, Queen Street (now Fr Mathew Street). About 1930, he joined the staff of the Cork County Vocational Education Committee as Irish inspector. He became very well-known at the summer courses of Ballingeary, which hesupervised every summer.

Captions:

1098a. Ballykinlar Internment Camp, Co. Down, 1921 (picture: Cork City Library).

1098b. Internee William Johnson’s sketch looking out from one of the camps in Ballykinlar, 1921 (picture: Down County Museum).

1098b. Internee William Johnson's sketch looking out from one of the camps in Ballykinlar, 1921 (picture: Down County Museum).
1098b. Internee William Johnson’s sketch looking out from one of the camps in Ballykinlar, 1921 (picture: Down County Museum).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 29 April 2021

1097a. SS Ardmore II, c.1930 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 29 April 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Advent of SS Ardmore II

During the First World War the City of Cork Steam Packet Company lost six vessels, and the company were determined to replace the losses with the construction of new vessels. In particular, the new ships were designed to meet the requirements of the cross-Channel trade, especially the cattle trade. One of the ships replaced was the SS Ardmore, which was hit by a torpedo on 13 November 1917. It was replaced by the SS Ardmore II, which looked very similar in design to the original.

On 28 April 1921 at noon, the SSArdmore II made her maiden visit to Cork with flags flying and decorated with bunting. She was welcomed by the sirens of all the vessels in the river. She was the largest of the fleet of the Steam Packet Company’s cross-channel steamers and was built by the Ardrossan Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company, Ltd North Ayrshire, Scotland. From 1919 for a time, Harland & Wolff Ltd managed the yard on behalf of the Royal Mail Group.

The SS Ardmore II was launched in August 1921 in the presence ofdistinguished company at Ardrossan Port. The Managing Director of the City of Cork Steam Packet Company Sir Alfred Read, at the launching ceremony, was very anxious not only to restore their pre-war position in that trade, but to improve on it, and that they were “contracting for vessels that would give the maximum of service”.

The christening ceremony was performed by Lady Margaret Pirrie. At the event, she was presented with a silver chalice as a souvenir that looked like the Ardagh Chalice. Margaret Pirrie was Belfast’s first woman justice of the peace and the first woman to receive the freedom of that city. Pirrie was also involved in charity work, working as president of the Royal Victoria Hospital. She also served on the Senate of Queen’s University, Belfast, and as president of Harland & Wolff’s, the Belfast shipbuilding firm of which her husband was chair. 

The SS Ardmore II was fitted to carry about 1000 mixed cattle. In addition, she could carry 75 first-class passengers, and also accommodate for steerage passengers. The ship was fitted with five steam cranes for handling cargo. The Cork Examiner described the vessel and its sea route: “She is a beautiful vessel, and most up-to-date in every way, and an idea of her well-appointed accommodation may be gathered from the fact that she cost over a quarter of a million…The Ardmore will ply between Cork and Liverpool, and on her first visit to Cork to visited and inspected by a fairly largenumber of people who greatly admired her beautiful proportions. She leaves or Liverpool to-day at two o’clock”.

Owing to the unfortunate strike of joiners, which began in November 1920, the City of Cork Steam Packet Company was forced tobring the steamer into commission before her saloon and cabin accommodation were properly built.

The SS Ardmore II was to be the first oil-burner to be used by a cross channel company between England and Ireland with a speed of 14 knots. Previously the first steamshiptocross the Atlantic was in 1838 when Cork’s SS Sirius established the record.

The insulation was by the J D Insulating and Refrigerating Company, Ltd, Liverpool, and the cooling system was by the Thermotank Company, Glasgow. The ventilation was through the use of tempering batteries by James Keith Blackman Company, Ltd. and the ventilation arrangement in the cattle spaces was created by the same firm.

Fast forward to 11 November 1940, the SS Ardmore II had on board 500 cattle, about the same number of pigs (which were deck cargo), and a quantity of agricultural produce. The actual crew of the vessel numbered 20 and with them were five cattle or bullockmen. Still owned by the City of Cork Steam Packet Company she was commanded by Captain Thomas Ford of Liverpool. Thomas had been with the City of Cork Steam Packet Company for sixteen years. He was well known in Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, Fishguard and other ports through his lifetime at sea. 

 On 11 November 1940, the SS Ardmore II departed Cork for Fishguard with a cargo of livestock. Hours later she was reported missing with her crew. An uneasy vigil was maintained. Air and sea searches proved futile. On 26 November one of her lifeboats, unfilled, was washed ashore on the Welsh coast. The body of Captain Ford was discovered near Aberystwyth on 3 December. Ten days later that of Seaman Frank O’Shea was retrieved from another Welsh beach. His remains were returned to Cork for burial.

What caused the loss of the ship was not verified for nearly sixty years. In February 1998, the wreck of the SS Ardmore II was found by divers three miles south of the Saltee Islands, off the Wexford coast, in 183 feet of water. The hull showed signs of a large explosion from a mine near the engine room. In the Second World War section of the Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition in Collins Barrack Museum, Dublin there is a model of the SS Ardmore II and a plaque on Cork’s Penrose Quay also remembers the 1940 tragedy.

Captions:

1097a. SS Ardmore II, c.1930 (source: Cork City Library).

1097b. Plaque commemorating the sinking of SS Ardmore II, Penrose Quay, Cork (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1097b. Plaque commemorating the sinking of SS Ardmore II, Penrose Quay, Cork (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1097b. Plaque commemorating the sinking of SS Ardmore II, Penrose Quay, Cork (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Call out 1: Cllr McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project 2021

Douglas Road and Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the eleventh year of McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project. This year because of COVID all interested participants once again make a model boat at home from recycled materials and submit a picture or a video of it to the competition organisers. All models should be photographed or videoed and emailed to admin@corkharbourfestival.com by 23 May 2021.

The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival Team. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘At Home by the Lee’, which is open to interpretation. The model must be creative though and must be able to float. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. For further information, please see the community events section at www.kieranmccarthy.ie

Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “I am encouraging creation, innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits for all of us to develop. I am going to miss this year seeing the models float at The Lough. The Make a Model Boat Project is part of a suite of community projects I have organised and personally invested in over the years– the others include the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project with Cork City Council, the Community local history walks, local history publications, McCarthy’s Community Talent Competition and Cork City Musical Society.

VIEW winning model boats from 2020:

Cllr McCarthy: Another bypassing of local concerns, Ford Distribution Site, 22 April 2021

22 April 2021, “Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said the green light for the development is another example of An Bord Pleanála bypassing local councillors’ concerns and the concerns on the ground”, More than 1,000 residential units set for Live at the Marquee site, Pictures: More than 1,000 residential units set for Live at the Marquee site (echolive.ie)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 22 April 2021

1096a. Portrait of Tadhg O’Sullivan, c.1921 (source: Cork City Library).
1096a. Portrait of Tadhg O’Sullivan, c.1921 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 22 April 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The Ambush of Tadhg O’Sullivan

Targeted round ups of IRA members by the RIC and Black and Tans continued right throughout April 1921. Company Captain within the 2nd Battalion, Cork City No.1 Brigade and Kerry native, Tadhg O’Sullivan was shot on the evening of 19 April 1921. Originally Tadhg was reared on a farm north of the village of Barraduff, County Kerry and was passionate in the study of Irish being inspired by his national school teacher. In his teens, he set off for Cork City, where he was employed on the clerical staff of Messrs Dowdall O’Mahony, butter merchants. Later he transferred to Fords.

Tadhg joined the IRB and enrolled as a Volunteer. He took an interest in the organisation of the Fianna – the youth section of the Volunteer movement. He was active in organising recruitment meetings throughout the county.

Tadhg eventually rose to becoming Captain of C Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade. He was constantly on duty and participated in many major operations in the City. He was one of the two Kerry men on the inquest jury of the murdered Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain. Florence O’Donoghue was the other Kerryman. In the summer of 1920, Tadhg participated in the attack on Farran RIC Barracks and also in the Barrack Street ambush on 9 October 1920. He was again to the fore in the Parnell Bridge ambush, which took place on 5 January 1921. He was also one of the Belfast hungers strikers in 1920. Tadhg was also one of those taken in the big round-up at Cork Union hospital. However, he was released on that occasion.

Michael Murphy, Commandant, 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade in his witness statement to the Bureau of Military History (WS 1547), describes of Tadhg’s death on 19 April 1921:

“One of my best company captains named Tadhg Sullivan was held up in Douglas Street by two British intelligence officers in mufti. He made a dash to escape and got into a house No. 80 Douglas St. He ran upstairs and got out on the roof through a landing window, closely followed by the two British officers. Sullivan got on to the roof of the adjoining house when the officers appeared at the landing window and shot him dead. He was unarmed”.

The Cork Examiner on 20 April 1921 describes that the tragic occurrence took place in the course of a general roundup in the south and south-west side of the city, which began about 7pm. Numerous parties of police from Union quay and Tuckey street stations visited the district, which they practically enveloped up to Friar’s Walk and Barrack Street.

At 7.30pm pedestrians coming from every point converging on the district were held up, questioned and searched, and about fifteen persons were temporarily detained, one man, Liam Barry, residing in White street, was arrested.

The extensively drawn cordon gradually closed in towards Douglas Streetvicinity. There was quite a large number of passersby, and amongst them, was Tadhg. He was observed by a party of about eight or nine police. They called on him to halt, but instead he started to run away, whereupon the police pursued.

As he ran a short distance along the street Tadhg seems to have escaped the bullets of his pursuers, and then he was seen to suddenly dash into a house. The police by this time were reinforced by a second party of constables, coming from an opposite direction. Tadhg was followed into the house – the hall and stairway of which bore the marks of considerable firing. Cornered as he was, Tadhg made a desperate effort to escape, and rushing into a back room, endeavoured to get away through a back window.

Tadhg was in the act of descending into the yard below, which offered an avenue of escape, when he was overtaken by his pursuers and shot dead. His dead body with several bullet wounds was subsequently found in the yard below. Fr McSweeney, CC, St Finbarr’s South, and Fr Father Nunan, CC, were immediately summoned, but on their arrival Tadhg had already passed away.

Tadhg’s remains were then conveyed to Union Quay Barracks, and afterwards transferred in a military lorry to the Victoria Barracks, where the circumstances of his death were to be the subject of an inquiry.

On the afternoon of 22 April 1921, Tadhg’s funeral took place from the South Chapel to St Finbarr’s Cemetery where they were interred in the Republican plot. The cortege was limited in extent by order of the military and armed soldiers walking on foot at both sides of the hearse, in three lorries, and accompanied by anarmoured car. The order was served on the Administrator of the parish about one hour before the funeral was timed to start was obeyed. Despite the warnings, the streets from the church – over Parliament Bridge, along the South Mall, Grand Parade and Washington Street – were lined with people. The coffin was draped in the tricolour flag.

Have a story of relative to tell involved with the War of Independence in Cork, get in touch with Kieran at mccarthy_kieran@yahoo.com

Captions:

1096a. Portrait of Tadhg O’Sullivan, c.1921 (source: Cork City Library).

1096b. House of Tadhg O’Sullivan’s death, second from the right with plaque above front door (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1096c. Gravestone of Tadhg O’Sullivan, St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

1096a. Portrait of Tadhg O’Sullivan, c.1921 (source: Cork City Library).
1096a. Portrait of Tadhg O’Sullivan, c.1921 (source: Cork City Library).
1096c. Gravestone of Tadhg O'Sullivan, St Finbarr's Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1096c. Gravestone of Tadhg O’Sullivan, St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).