Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

1110a. Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920 (picture: Cork City Council).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 29 July 2021

Journeys to a Truce: Lord Mayor Donal Óg Returns

The Truce amongst Cork politicians was largely welcomed. In his diary, Alderman Liam De Róiste of Cork Corporation and TD comments at length on the multitude of nuances and correspondence between Lloyd George and de Valera. The diary can be viewed in Cork City and County Archives. He ultimately embraces the truce but acknowledges the long road ahead to create a mutually acceptable agreement on Irish and British sides. On the 9 July 1921, at 1pm Liam De Róiste writes: “The details of the truce are to be published today. There are many rough rocks in the road of peace yet, but this at least is the evidence of the will to peace. I am sure the mass of the people are filled with joy. As for me, I accept the matter calmly. We are not yet sure of our footsteps. The joy of my companions here is also subdued. They incline to be critical. A few moments ago, Black and Tans appeared: ‘Here They are’; a rush to search a hiding place. They came on ordinary business to convey a poor patient to the institution. The rush shows that through the dawn of the peace appears with the announcement of the truce, the shadows of the night are still dark and thick over the land”.

The Lord Mayor of Cork Donal Óg O’Callaghan had recently returned after an eight months’ public speech tour across America to grow interest in Irish Independence and to raise finance for Dáil Éireann. His campaign work, which wove with the visit of de Valera and Harry Boland to the United States is well captured in the fine book Forgotten Lord Mayor Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920-1924 by Aodh Quinlivan. Through Aodh’s research, he discovers that Donal Óg, on the whole, was welcomed by those communities he engaged with. There were a number of small exceptions. Politically though, Donal’s journey ended as America’s Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby came under British diplomatic pressure to end his permission to stay longer in the States. Through the Truce, Donal returned to a less threatening environment. Heretofore he was on a most wanted list by the Black and Tans.

ln the course of an interview with a Cork Examiner representative on 18 July 1921, Donal Óg  noted that it was very gratifying to find the state of affairs which existed in Ireland. He noted: “It seems possible that the just object for which the people of this country have been fighting for years is at last about to be secured through negotiations. Like the President, the people of Ireland heartily desired to see peace, to see the end of the state of war and destruction which has been obtaining in this country for some years past, desired to devote themselves to the work of reconstruction and to the general development of the prosperity of our country”.

The Lord Mayor continued that the manner in which the Truce has been observed throughout the country was a tribute to the discipline and unity of the people of Ireland. He noted: “Nowhere has it been more loyally observed than in Cork. While I would regret at the moment to say a word which might be construed as calculating to interfere with the existing peace. I feel bound to say that the truce doesn’t appear to have been on loyally kept by the British Army in Cork as it might have been. For the past few days I have seen police and military fully armed parading the streets; armoured cars and lorries containing armed troops driving through the city, in what I can only regard as a wantonly provocative planner. I trust that this matter will be immediately remedied, and that nothing will occur to mar the favourable conditions of the moment or the atmosphere of the negotiations  about to take place, which we all sincerely hope will be successful, and will make the temporary peace of to-day the lasting peace of to-morrow”.

In his press interview the Lord Mayor also thanked the people of America for the manner in which they received him while in the United States, and to thank them, on behalf of the people of Ireland for the deep interest they took in Ireland fight for freedom and what he described as “the spirit animating them in doing all they could to assist in the fight”. To the people of Cork he wished to say that he left Cork, and left momentarily the duties to which they had elected him, “as the result of an order from the Republican Government”. Only on such an order would he leave them or lreland under the circumstances. He noted: “While the people of Ireland hoped to see their freedom achieved as a result of the present negotiations going on their spirit and determination are alike unimpaired, and should they have to continue the fight for freedom they will continue to rely on the liberty loving people of America for assistance”.

A few days after the 18 July, the Cork Examiner records that Cork Corporation had a Council meeting but it was again chaired by Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Barry Egan. Donal Óg had gone to Dublin to be part of the welcoming group for the Peace Delegates at Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), Dublin. De Valera had returned from talks in London with the British Prime Minster Lloyd George. A famous picture was taken by photographer W D Hogan of the welcoming group and this forms part of the National Library of Ireland photographic collection. In the picture is Donal Óg as well as Chairman of Dublin County Council, H Friel, the acting Mayor of Limerick, Máire O’Donovan, Waterford TD Vincent White, Limerick TD Kate O’Callaghan, and Cork Corporation Alderman and TD Liam De Róiste. All six greeted de Valera as well the large number of general public waiting. All six were also involved in the early peace talks in the summer of 1921 offering advice and support.


1110a. Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, 1920 (picture: Cork City Council).

1110b. Welcoming group for the Peace Delegates at Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), Dublin with Chairman of Dublin County Council, H Friel, the acting Mayor of Limerick, Máire O’Donovan, Waterford TD Vincent White, Limerick TD Kate O’Callaghan, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, and Cork Corporation Alderman and TD Liam De Róiste (picture: William Hogan Collection, National Library of Ireland).

1110b. Welcoming group for the Peace Delegates at Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), Dublin with Chairman of Dublin County Council, H Friel, the acting Mayor of Limerick, Máire O’Donovan, Waterford TD Vincent White, Limerick TD Kate O’Callaghan, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan, and Cork Corporation Alderman and TD Liam De Róiste (picture: William Hogan Collection, National Library of Ireland).

Cllr McCarthy: Outdoor Seating Grants for Tourism and Hospitality Still Open

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy wishes to remind business owners that grants applications are still being received for outdoor seating and accessories for tourism and hospitality businesses in Cork City for 2021.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “Outdoor hospitality was much enjoyed by the public last summer and is playing a key role this year as well in welcoming people back to a vibrant and safe Cork City. A new outdoor seating and accessories grant scheme, supported by Fáilte Ireland  in partnership with local authorities such as Cork City Council, is now open for applications. Grants are available to support businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector in enhancing their outdoor offering”. 

Any restaurant, cafe, bar, hotel, visitor attraction or other hospitality/tourism business where food or drink is sold for consumption on the premises. The scheme is open to existing businesses located throughout Cork City. 

Applicants should have no commercial rates outstanding to Cork City Council, or have a payment plan in place. Applicants must have signed up to the Covid 19 Safety Charter (Apply for the Covid 19 Safety Charter. All applicants are required to comply with planning codes, legislative requirements and other compliance requirements.  Only premises branding is permitted. No fixtures with commercial/product advertising are eligible.

Those businesses availing of public land for outdoor furniture must be in possession of a Street Furniture License for 2021 from Cork City Council before availing of the scheme. Each business can apply for up to €4,000 per premises (exclusive of VAT) towards the above eligible costs, up to a maximum of 75% of the total cost. Applications can be accepted at any time between now and 5pm on Thursday, 30 September 2021. More information can be got from or log onto the Council’s website home page at

Kieran’s Press, Bessboro Update, 19 July 2021

19 July 2021, “This is great news; apart from a possible judicial review by the developer, the legal planning processes have now been gone through- it is clear that the potential of babies buried beneath parts of the grounds has seriously hindered future development; More and more the process is leading to the need for State intervention on the future of Bessborough and other Mother and Baby Home sites”, Independent Cork city councillor and historian Kieran McCarthy also welcomed ABP’s decision, Developers unsuccessful in their appeal of refusal for apartments at Bessborough site, Developers unsuccessful in their appeal of refusal for apartments at Bessborough site (

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 15 July 2021

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 15 July 2021

Journeys to a Truce: The 11 July 1921 Settlement

This week is the centenary of the signing of the Truce on 11 July 1921 bringing the Irish War of Independence in Ireland to an end. Technically talks had begun in December 1920 but they petered out when British Prime Minister David Lloyd George demanded that the IRA first relinquish their arms. Renewed talks began in the spring of 1921, after the Prime Minister was lobbied by Herbert H Asquith and the Liberal opposition, the Labour Party, and the Trades Union Congress.

From the perspective of the British government, it seemed as if the IRA’s guerrilla campaign would persist indefinitely, with escalating losses in British casualties and in finance. In addition, the British government was confronting acute blame at home and abroad for the measures of British forces in Ireland. On 6 June 1921, the British made their first peace-making act, calling off the strategy of house burnings as reprisals.

On the other side, IRA leaders and in particular Michael Collins, felt that the IRA, as it was then organised, could not continue indefinitely. It lacked arms and ammunition to face down the even regular British soldiers arriving into Ireland.

On 24 June 1921, the British Coalition Government’s Cabinet decided to propose talks with the leader of Sinn Féin. Coalition Liberals and Unionists agreed that an offer to negotiate would strengthen the Government’s position, especially if Sinn Féin refused. On 24 June Prime Minister Lloyd George wrote to Éamon de Valera as “the chosen leader of the great majority in Southern Ireland”, suggesting a conference. 

Sinn Féin agreed to talks. De Valera and Lloyd George ultimately agreed to a truce that was intended to end the fighting and lay the ground for detailed negotiations. Its terms were signed on 9 July and came into effect on 11 July. Negotiations on a settlement, however, were deferred for several months as the British government demanded that the IRA first decommission its weapons, but this demand was ultimately withdrawn. It was arranged that British troops would stay restricted to their barracks.

However, in the three days between the terms being signed and coming into effect, Irish Truce historian Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc details at least sixty people from both sides of the conflict were killed across the country. Such stories appear in the heart of Dara McGrath’s photographic exhibition entitled For Those That Tell No Tales in the Crawford Art Gallery on sites associated with the War of Independence. There is a poignant picture of an execution location of The Lough with associated descriptive text. It was at 8 pm, on the evening of Sunday 10 July 1921, four young unarmed and off-duty soldiers, Private Henry Morris (aged 21) and Corporal Harold Daker (aged 28) of the South Stafforshire Regiment and Sappers Albert Camm (aged 20) and Albert Powell (aged 20) of the Royal Engineers were seized by a patrol of seven Volunteers. The Volunteers had been searching an area from Donovan’s Bridge along the Western Road in search of a suspected civilian informer. Executed on the northern side of The Lough, the four bodies were dumped at Ellis’s Quarry on its southside. All four were found blindfolded and shot dead.

The only surviving account of the executions by a Volunteer participant is the official report sent to IRA Headquarters. It simply reads: “We held up four soldiers and searched them but found no arms. We took them to a field in our area where they were executed before 9pm”. It has been suggested that the killing of these men was a personal reprisal by the IRA for the murder of Volunteer Denis Spriggs just two days earlier on 8 July. Private Morris was from Walsall and served in the East Kent Regiment during the First World War. He is buried in Ryecroft cemetery, Walsall. Corporal Daker was the son of William and Mary Daker. He is buried in St Ann’s Churchyard, Chasetown, Walsall. Sapper Albert Camm was from Holland Street in Nottingham. Sapper Powell was the son of Arthur and Jane Powell of Abbott Road, London. He is buried at Nunhead, All Saints Cemetery in Southwark.

On the advent of the Truce, Michael O’Donoghue, Engineer Officer with the 2nd Battalion of Cork No.1 Brigade remarks in witness statement (WS 1741) of the Bureau of Military History of a new-found freedom and an almost too good to be true scenario;

“Now came July, and with the scorching summer heatwave came rumours of peace and negotiations for a cease fire. Then before we had time to realise what was happening, as everything moved so suddenly, the Truce was upon us on a July 11th 1921 at midday. Overnight everything was changed. The fugitive rebel army, the IRA, was recognised as Ireland’s national army by the British Government. There was an uneasy peace. ‘Twas hard, even for the IRA themselves, to credit that the fortunes of war had changed to such an extent. we could now move everywhere in town and country. We exulted in our new found authority and importance. Everywhere the people regarded us as heroes and hailed us as conquerors and turned our heads with flattery, adulation and praise. We were youngsters in our teens and early twenties, and who could blame us if we got intoxicated with all the hero worship and rejoicings. Even those people who had maintained a cautious neutrality, standing on the ditch during the War of Independence, now rushed to acclaim us and to entertain us”.


1108a. Execution location site for four British soldiers, 10 July 1921 at northern side of The Lough, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 12 July 2021

Question to the CE: 

To ask the CE on the city schools, which received Safe to School funding through the NTA and the associated Green Schools An Taisce initiative in 2019, 2020 & 2021, and how much was allocated to each school? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)


That the entrance to Broadale be examined from a safety perspective. Double yellow lines may be required to dissuade parked cars from blocking the entrance (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

That a more user friendly Planning website be explored where is easier to access information such as letters and drawings (Cllr Kieran McCarthy)

Press, McCarthy Calls for anniversary of Cork city landmark to be celebrated

10 July 2021, “Independent Kieran McCarthy have asked that Cork City Council, in partnership with the parish of Shandon and Diocese of Cork, mark the 300th anniversary of the construction of the church, recognising its impact on the citizens of Cork city and its unique landmark for Cork citizens and beyond”, Calls for anniversary of Cork city landmark to be celebrated, Calls for anniversary of Cork city landmark to be celebrated (

Cllr McCarthy: Ballybrack Woods Stream Needs to be Protected, 9 July 2021

Cllr Kieran McCarthy has asked Irish Water that Ballybrack Woods stream needs to be protected more from pollution outbreaks as witnessed in recent weeks. Cllr McCarthy noted: “I was very disappointed to see the pollution outbreak in the stream. Much work has been done by volunteers such as Douglas Tidy Towns, citizens environment activists and Cork City Council to protect this gem of a green space within the heart of Donnybrook”.

 “Irish Water has got back to me and have completed their site investigation; the water quality is back to normal and whoever the culprit was and has stopped pouring a chemical or chemicals into the stream. Many thanks to everyone for raising the pollution incident so quickly. Irish Water at this point have not formally discovered who the culprit was, so one needs to be legally careful on naming anyone.  I’d ask though that all users of the woods and the Mangala just keep an eye out for future pollution incidents and report them just as fast”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

In correspondence to Cllr McCarthy, Irish Water confirmed that a site inspection of the wastewater infrastructure was undertaken in the Calderwood/Ballybrack area on 7 July following Irish Water receiving this report. The wastewater infrastructure at Calderwood Road and the Ballybrack Walkway were inspected and was observed to be operating normally. A full walk through check of the Ballybrack Stream was undertaken – there was no evidence of pollution (no gross solids, no ragging, no evidence of third party discharges) on the date of the visit.

The wastewater network was inspected along the route of the pollution incident. This was observed to be operating normally. In addition, a member of the public advised the team during the site visit that construction work in the area may be the cause as they had observed similar incidents over recent weeks. From these investigations Irish Water have noted: “it would appear that the most likely source of this issue would appear to be related to third party activity in the area. However Irish Water are unable to formally confirm this issue”. The wastewater infrastructure in the area is fully operational and is operating normally.

Press, Cllr McCarthy: Protecting Atlantic Pond a Must, 8 July 2021

8 July 2021, “Local Councillor Kieran McCarthy said sites such as the Atlantic Pond must be protected from all forms of chemicals. ‘It is good news in the long run to see new measures being put in place to protect waterways such as the Atlantic Pond’, Procedural oversight’ blamed for Cork beauty spot being sprayed with weedkiller,

Kieran’s Quote:

“It is good news in the long run to see new measures being put in place to protect waterways such as the Atlantic Pond. There is quite an array of bird diversity at the pond and I always feel the location is often an under appreciated blue space for the wider city. On any given day, there are many people who walk around the pond and you’d often see people snapping photos of the birdlife in the pond especially the cygnets and herons. There is large local interest in the condition of the Pond. I continue to lobby for information panels and seasonally arranged nature walks.

The Atlantic Pond and Cork Lough possess the widest variety of freshwater species. Apart from being a really important blue space for bird diversity, the Atlantic Pond is also an important green space due to its adjacent woodland for many woodland bird species too. More and more at City Council level, we are hearing when green space and blue space exist side by side, species richness and abundance grows. So sites like the Atlantic Pond need to be protected more from all forms of chemicals”.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 8 July 2021

1107a. Plaque on Blarney Street Cork in memory of Denis J Spriggs, killed 8 July 1921 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 8 July 2021

Journeys to a Truce: Fred Cronin’s Republican Plot

IRA casualties from the ongoing War of Independence across the city continued all the way into the July 1921 truce. On 21 June Commandant Walter Leo Murphy was shot dead at Waterfall (a few miles from Ballincollig) when an IRA meeting in a local public house was encircled by two carloads of British undercover officers. He shot his way out of the public house but was subsequently killed.

A commemorative plaque erected at Turner’s Cross to D Company 2nd Battalion commemorates Company Adjutant Charles Daly of 5 Glenview, Douglas Road, who was captured by British forces at Waterfall, Co. Cork on 28 June 1921. British army records claim he was shot attempting to escape from Victoria Barracks on 29 June 1921.

Denis Spriggs became involved in the fight for independence from British rule at a very young age. At 16, he lied about his age so he could join the IRA. As a known member of the IRA he, like many other Volunteers, was forced to go on the run from British forces in the city. On 8 July 1921, whilst visiting his mother, Denis Spriggs was captured. The house was raided and Spriggs was apprehended. He was taken from his house and shot on Blarney Street where a plaque marks the spot today.

Walter Leo, Charles, and Denis are buried in the Republican Plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, which dates back to 1920. Previously to its use there was, immediately inside the gates of St Finbarr’s Cemetery, a vacant plot of green in one corner on which stood a small but interesting memorial. Built in 1894 of stones taken from an ancient Cork abbey, it marked the place where the collected bones of the monks of Gill-Abbey had been reinterred.

On the day after the murder of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain in March 1920. Fred Cronin, close friend of Terence MacSwiney and a leading Cork undertaker of Richard Cronin and Sons, suggested to the Brigade officers that the municipal authorities, who were owners of the cemetery, should be requested to make this plot available as a burial place for the dead patriot. The Corporation readily agreed, and with this first interment the Republican Plot came into existence.

Lough native Fred Cronin was an active member of Sinn Féin. His membership dated back to its earliest days in its foundation. Fred’s obituary in the Cork Examiner on 30 October 1937 describes that he took an active interest in all the nationalist movements from the early days of his youth. He was one of the founders of the Young Ireland Society in the year 1899, whose work is engraved in the memory of the people of Cork by the erection of the monument on the Grand Parade. About this time also he was also one of those people who attempted to put an end to the recruiting campaign for men to fight in the British Army against the Boers in South Africa.

Fred also helped to establish a Republican organisation known as the Cork Celtic Literary Society in 1903, and it was in the ranks of this society that he came in close contact with such well-known men as Terence MacSwiney, Tomás MacCurtain, and Tadhg Barry. He was also a close follower of the national pastimes, being connected with the Éire Óg Hurling Club. He also played for a number of years with the Nils Football Club. He took a deep interest in the language movement and was a prominent member of the Gaelic League for a long period.

Fred was transport officer to the 2nd Battalion of Cork No. 1 Brigade IRA for a time around 1920. His experience with the family firm of undertakers gave him considerable knowledge of transport organisation.

When Terence MacSwiney’s life was increasingly threatened in 1920, whilst he was Lord Mayor he could be found at the house of Fred. Keeping a watchful eye on Fred and Terence were the members of G Company of the 2nd Battalion. Their base were Messrs Phair grocery and provision store on Bandon Road. Here there were stores and out offices of G Company, which provided an admirable hiding place for guns and other military equipment.

When Terence was on from hunger strike in Brixton Prison, Fred visited him regularly and on Terence’s date of death on 25 October 1920, Fred was one of the last to see him alive. Fred was tasked by the MacSwiney family to be the executor of Terence’s will. Fred’s personal papers are now archived in the National Library in Dublin. The notes for his 33 folders of surviving papers describe that between May and December 1921, he was interned by the British authorities at Cork Male Prison and Spike Island. While he was incarcerated on Spike Island, he joined the other prisoners in a hunger strike which lasted only four days, ending 2 September 1921.

Fred applied for parole due to the illness of his youngest daughter. His parole application bound him during the period of his release not to “render any assistance, direct or indirect, to persons disaffected towards His Majesty the King, or do any act calculated to be prejudical to the restoration or maintenance of order in Ireland.” Republicans generally disapproved of parole-giving and it was permitted only in cases of severe family stress. Fred Cronin had five children, of whom the youngest, Maire, required a major operation and was dangerously ill for a time. His wife Katie had died and her sister Mary Roche was looking after the children.

During the Civil War Fred’s anti-treaty sympathies saw him interned during the Civil War by the Free State Government in Cork Prison and then Hare Park Camp (Curragh), Co. Kildare from 1922 to 1923.

Recently Phoenix Historical Society has published a book on those laid to rest in the Republican Plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery. The Plot is the final resting place of 61 Irish Republicans. Contact for more information on how to attain a copy of a very interesting and important local history book.


1107a. Plaque on Blarney Street Cork in memory of Denis J Spriggs, killed 8 July 1921 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1107b. Republican Plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

1107b. Republican Plot at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Cork City Reflections (2021, Co-written, Amberley Publishing)

One hundred years ago in Ireland marked a time of change. The continuous rise of an Irish revival, debates over Home Rule and the idea of Irish identity were continuously negotiated by all classes of society. In Cork City Reflections, authors Kieran McCarthy and Daniel Breen focus on the visual changes that have taken place in the port city on Ireland’s south-west coast. Using a collection of historic postcards from Cork Public Museum and merging these with modern images they reveal how the town has changed over the decades. Each of the 180 pictures featured combines a recent colour view with the matching sepia archive scene.

The authors have grouped the images under thematic headings such as main streets, public buildings, transport, and industry. Readers will be able to appreciate how Cork City has evolved and grown over the last century but also how invaluable postcards can be in understanding the past. In an age where digital photography and the internet have made capturing and sharing images so effortless, it is easy to forget that in the decades before the camera became popular and affordable, postcards were the only photographic souvenirs available to ordinary people.

Read an Irish Examiner interview with Kieran: Cork City Reflections: New book merges old postcards with modern images (
Buy the book here: Cork City Reflections – Amberley Publishing (
 Cork City Reflections by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen (2021, Amberley Publishing)
Cork City Reflections by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen (2021, Amberley Publishing)