Category Archives: Landscapes

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 17 February 2022

1138a. Portrait of Nano Nagle by fourth class in Scoil Naomh Caitriona in Bishopstown
1138a. Portrait of Nano Nagle by fourth class in Scoil Naomh Caitriona in Bishopstown

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 17 February 2022

Season 20 for Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project

This month marks the conclusion of the 20th school season of the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project. Over the past twenty years the school wing of my local history work aims to engage younger generation to take up an interest in the history, heritage, and geography of the city.

This city-based project is kindly funded by Cork City Council (thanks to Niamh Twomey, Heritage Office), and supported by Old Cork Waterworks Experience Lee Road (thanks to Meryvn Horgan), It is open to schools in Cork City – at  primary level to the pupils of fourth, fifth and sixth class and at post-primary from first to sixth years. A total of 25 schools in Cork City took part in this school season. Circa 800 students participated in the process and approx 200 projects were submitted on all aspects of Cork’s history.

A full list of winners, topics and pictures of some of the project pages for 2022 can be viewed on my YouTube film at my website A virtual presentation of the projects and students’ work was given to Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher. For those doing research, has also a number of resources listed to help with source work and loads of Cork City History virtual trails to discover..

One of the key aims of the project is to allow students to explore, investigate and comment on their local history in a constructive, active and fun way. The emphasis is on the process of doing a project and learning not only about your area but also developing new personal skills. Many of the topics in the city such as general histories of how Cork developed have myriads of history books written on them. However, the challenge in this project is to get students to devise methodologies that provide interesting and personal ways to approach the study of local history for up-and-coming generations.

Submitted projects this year and in previous years have been colourful, creative, contain personal opinions, imagination, and gain publicity. These elements form the basis of a student friendly narrative analysis approach where the students explore their project topic in an interactive way. In particular students are encouraged to attain primary material through engaging with several methods such as fieldwork, interviews with local people, making models, photographing, cartoon creating, and making short films of their study topic.

For example, a winning class project this school season from fourth class in Scoil Naomh Caitriona in Bishopstown focussed on the story of Nano Nagle and her legacy. They visited Nano Nagle Place, took the great educational tour, and returned to their classroom to create a project book thinking about how Nano’s story could be presented to a younger generation. The project book is full of historical snippets but also impressive art and craft work, making their project one that a reader wants to turn the page on. Another impressive and winning project on the life and times of Nano Nagle was delivered by fifth class in St Patrick’s Boys National School, Gardiner’s Hill

Light was also shone on the story of Henry Ford and his legacy in Cork, when an overall winning student, Cuan O’Neill from Beaumont Boys National School wrote about the history of the tractor and car factory on the Marina. He wrote to experts in the field of Ford history engaging their views, and really created a project book, where one could hear the voices of why the Ford legacy should be championed in the present day, but also perhaps how to look at how Corkonians remember such a legacy.

This year marks went towards making a short film or a model on projects to accompany history booklets. Submitted short films this year had interviews of family members, neighbours to local historians to the student taking a reporter type stance on their work. Some students also chose to act out scenes from the past. One winning student, Oscar Ó Loinsigh, from Beaumont Boys National School did a short film tour of the Queenstown Story in Cobh.

The creativity section also encourages model making. The best model trophy in general goes to the creative and realistic model. Models of GAA pitches, Cork City Gaol and the Crawford Art Gallery, and even board games of Elizabeth Fort and Spike Island featured this year in several projects – not only physical models but Minecraft digital models as well.

Every year, the students involved produce a section in their project books showing how they communicated their work to the wider community. It is about reaching out and gaining public praise for the student but also appraisal and further ideas. Covid scuppered a fuller publicity element, but projects were presented to other classes in schools. Over the years students have been putting work on local parish newsletters, newspapers and local radio stations and also presenting work in local libraries. Open days for parents in schools to view projects have been successful as well as putting displays on in local GAA halls, credit unions, community centres and libraries. 

Overall, the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project attempts to provide the student with a hands-on and interactive activity that is all about learning not only about your local area but also about the process of learning by participating students.

Check out the YouTube awards ceremony under the Schools’ Heritage Project at Here’s to school season 21 coming this September 2022!


1138a. Portrait of Nano Nagle by fourth class in St Catherine’s National School in Bishopstown.

1138b. Minecraft model of old Ford Factory, The Marina by Cuan O’Neill, Beaumont Boys National School.

1138b. Minecraft model of old Ford Factory, The Marina by Cuan O'Neill, Beaumont Boys National School.
1138b. Minecraft model of old Ford Factory, The Marina by Cuan O’Neill, Beaumont Boys National School.

Press, McCarthy: “Welcome for Council’s ‘big win’ on North Main Street; four properties to be acquired”

7 February 2022, “CPO is done after everything else fails, the council is in the business of collaboration, it really is a last resort but it is to the benefit of the street. The street needs an injection of public and private investment, there has been too much stagnation on the street, the street’s public realm needs rejuvenation, it’s clogged with cars, traffic and parking. Hopefully, this redevelopment will have a positive knock-on effect on the essence of the street”, Welcome for Council’s ‘big win’ on North Main Street; four properties to be acquired, Welcome for Council’s ‘big win’ on North Main Street; four properties to be acquired (

Press, Cllr McCarthy: Half Moon Lane access to Tramore Valley Park of huge value, 10 January 2022

10 January 2022, “It is important to acknowledge how far the site has come – from the the old landfill site to what is now Tramore Valley Park and ultimately an investment by Cork City Council with financial partners of over e.40m at this stage. Phase two such as a pedestrian bridge crossing from Grange, is another important addition that is scheduled to come to fruition this year, and this will connect to communities in the heart of Grange and all the way back into Donnybrook”, Cllr McCarthy: Half Moon Lane access to Tramore Valley Park of huge value, Cllr McCarthy: Half Moon Lane access to Tramore Valley Park of huge value (

Kieran’s Question to CE and Motions, Cork City Council Meeting, 13 December 2021

Question to the CE: 

To ask the CE for an update on the opening of Marina Park and the final cost of its completion and the sources of funding? (Cllr Kieran McCarthy).


That City Library’s Cork Past and Present website be put back together online as soon as possible. It plays a very supportive role in the study of local history and genealogy in the city and region (Cllr Kieran McCarthy). 

McCarthy: Marina Park set to open, 13 December 2021

Kieran’s Comments:

“The park looks great and will add immensely to The Marina district. It’s been a long two years with construction work stopping and starting due to Covid 19. Phase one works has also comprised the construction of a new public car park at the Shandon Boat Club end of the Marina, as well as a new cycle lane and pedestrian walkway – these are all now completed and are very well used”.

“One can also see that the installation of perhaps the most eye-catching part of the project – a noticeable red steel pavilion on the site of, and replicating, the central hall of the former Munster Agricultural Showgrounds. The showgrounds at its cultural height in the twentieth century attracted tens of thousands of people, who enjoyed what the Spring and Summer shows had to offer.

The new park is a modern offering on the site, which will attract citizens from across the city and region. The sides of the pavilion reflecting the society’s former buildings will not be enclosed, and there will be possibilities for coffee pods and outdoor seating and arts and crafts. The project is a e.10m investment into the area, of which nearly e.5m came from EU Urban Sustainable Funds, which are part of the EU’s structural funds and are a crucial source of funding for cities”. The EU source of income will need to be chased once again so that phase 2 of Marina Park can be delivered”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

11 December 2021, ” “The new park is a modern offering on the site, which will attract citizens from across the city and region. The park or project represents an estimated €10m investment into the area, of which around €5m came from EU Urban Sustainable Funds — part of the EU’s structural funds and “a crucial source of funding for cities”, Cllr McCarthy said, New park in Cork city to open to the public from Monday, New park in Cork city to open to the public from Monday (

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 2 December 2021

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 2 December 2021

Kieran’s Cork Books for Christmas

It’s only a few weeks to Christmas. There are two publications of mine, which readers of the column might be interested in. In my new book Cork City Reflections (Amberley Publishing, 2021), Dan Breen and I build on our previous Cork City Through Time (2012) publication as we continue to explore Cork Public Museum’s extensive collection of postcards.

 People have been sending, receiving and collecting postcards for well over 150 years. They have always come in a variety of forms including plain, comedic, memorial, and of course topographical. Their popularity reached its zenith in the two decades before the outbreak of First World War when people used postcards for a variety of everyday reasons from ordering shopping to making appointments. Postcards have been described as the ‘social media’ of the Edwardian period as it is estimated that about one billion penny postcards were sold annually in the United States alone between 1907 and 1915.

The old postcards within Cork City Reflections show the city of Cork to be a place of scenic contrasts. They are of times and places, that Corkonians are familiar with. Many of the postcards show or frame the River Lee and the tidal estuary and the intersection of the city and the water. The postcards show how rich the city is in its traces of its history. The various postcards also reflect upon how the city has developed in a piecemeal sense, with each century bringing another addition to the city’s landscape.

Some public spaces are well represented, emphasised and are created and arranged in a sequence to convey particular meanings. Buildings such as a City Hall, a court house or a theatre symbolise the theatrics of power. Indeed, one hundred years ago in Ireland was a time of change, the continuous rise of an Irish cultural revival, debates over Home Rule and the idea of Irish identity were continuously negotiated by all classes of society. Just like the tinting of the postcards, what the viewer sees is a world which is being contested, refined and reworked. Behind the images presented is a story of change – complex and multi-faceted.

We have grouped the postcards under thematic headings like main streets, public buildings, transport, and industry. The highlight of Edwardian Cork was the hosting of an International Exhibition in 1902 and 1903 and through the souvenir postcards we can get a glimpse of this momentous event.

The Little book of Cork Harbour has been published by The History Press (2019). Cork Harbour is a beautiful region of southern Ireland. It possesses a rich complexity of natural and cultural heritage. This is a little book about the myriad of stories within the second largest natural harbour in the world. It follows on from a series of my publications on the River Lee Valley, Cork City and complements the Little Book of Cork (History Press, 2015). It is not meant to be a full history of the harbour region but does attempt to bring some of the multitudes of historical threads under one publication. However, each thread is connected to other narratives and each thread is recorded to perhaps bring about future research on a site, person or the heritage of the wider harbour.

In the book the section, Archaeology, Antiquities and Ancient Towers explores the myriad of archaeological finds and structures, which survive from the Stone Age to post medieval times. Five thousand years ago, people made their home on the edge of cliffs and beaches surrounding the harbour. In medieval times, they strategically built castles on the ridges overlooking the harbour.

The section, Forts and Fortifications, explores the development of an impressive set of late eighteenth-century forts and nineteenth century coastal defences. All were constructed to protect the interests of merchants and the British Navy in this large and sheltered harbour.

The section, Journeys Through Coastal Villages, takes the reader on an excursion across the harbour through some of the region’s colourful towns. All occupy important positions and embody histories such as native industries, old dockyards, boat construction, market spaces, whiskey making and food granary hubs. Each add their own unique identity in making the DNA of the harbour region. 

The sections, Houses, Gentry and Estates and People, Place and Curiosities, respectively are at the heart of the book and highlight some of the myriad of people and personalities who have added to the cultural landscape of the harbour.

The section, Connecting a Harbour, describes the ways the harbour was connected up through the ages, whether that be through roads, bridges, steamships, ferries, or winch driven barges.

The eighth section, Tales of Shipping, attempts to showcase just a cross-section of centuries of shipping, which frequented the harbour; some were mundane acts of mooring and loading up goods and emigrants but some were eventful with stories ranging from convict ships and mutiny to shipwrecks and races against time and the tide.

The section entitled Industrial Harbour details from old brickworks, ship buildings to the Whitegate Oil Refinery. Every corner of the harbour has been affected by nineteenth century and twentieth century industries.

The last section Recreation and Tourism notes that despite the industrialisation, there are many corners of the harbour where GAA and rowing can be viewed as well as older cultural nuggets such as old ballrooms and fair grounds. This for me is the appropriate section to end upon. Cork Harbour is a playground of ideas about how we approach our cultural heritage, how were remember and forget it, but most of all how much heritage there is to recover and celebrate.

Both Cork City Reflections (2021) & The Little Book of Cork Harbour (2019), and Kieran’s other books are available in Waterstones, Vibes and Scribes and Nano Nagle Place.


1128a. Front cover of Cork City Reflections (2021, Amberley Publishing) by Kieran McCarthy and Daniel Breen.

1128b. Front cover of The Little Book of Cork Harbour (The History Press, 2019) by Kieran McCarthy.

1128b. Front cover of The Little Book of Cork Harbour (The History Press, 2019) by Kieran McCarthy.
1128b. Front cover of The Little Book of Cork Harbour (The History Press, 2019) by Kieran McCarthy.

Kieran’s Statement & Press, Odlum’s Building, South Docks, Cork, 27 November 2021

“The proposal is to be warmly welcomed. This area of South Docks has been derelict for many years and crying out for a new use. O’Callaghan Properties have proven they can deliver what they say in a timely manner and have been great to draw in large companies into Cork. And to be fair to them, they also take feedback on board. From my perspective I am appreciative so far of their notes in their press releases on their focus on blending in the old Odlum’s Building and finding a cultural use for it. I think such a building will be a very special part of this corner of South Docks – it can be the space to retain the historical memory of the docks, whilst also showcasing modern cultural life in Cork.

I am disappointed though for the grain silos – I think part of them should be retained to add character to the development. I know in my own submission I will be making, I will be focusing in on that and making general comments on the need for place-making. In the past I have been critical of the creation of non-descript glass boxes, which don’t add to any sense of place. But I am grateful that the developers in North and South Docks have done some great restoration work. There is certainly a better balance being struck in retaining the sense of place compared to previous decades. I will be reading carefully the O’Callaghan property proposal carefully once it becomes available to the general public”.


27 November 2021, “In his website about Cork city entitled Cork Heritage, Independent cork city councillor and historian Kieran McCarthy states that Odlums operated their flour mills venture at the docklands from 1965. It followed a long history of milling in Cork,  Looking back at the historic Odlums Mills in Cork, Looking back at the historic Odlums Mills in Cork (

25 November 2021, “The proposal is to be generally welcomed. This area of South Docks has been derelict for many years and crying out for a new use”, said Cllr McCarthy, No glass box on our docks!No glass box on our docks! | Cork Independent

24 November 2021, Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said the area proposed for development had been derelict for some time and that the proposals are to be warmly welcomed. He said he believed the redevelopment of the Odlum’s Building could be “a very special part of this corner of South Docks”. South Docks development a ‘further exciting phase’ in Cork’s developmentSouth Docks development a ‘further exciting phase’ in Cork’s development (

Cllr McCarthy to give talk on Sir John Benson and Nineteenth Century Cork

Independent Councillor and local historian Kieran McCarthy gives a zoom talk on this Thursday 25 November, 6.30pm. The topic is on the life and times of nineteenth century engineer Sir John Benson on his Cork works ranging from bridges to waterworks to special sites such as the Berwick Fountain. The talk is hosted by Engineer’s Ireland, Cork Branch, and the Friends of the Crawford. Booking details are here:

The talk reflects on the enormous legacy of engineer and architect Sir John Benson. His work as County Surveyor, Cork Harbour engineer and then City Engineer in Cork from 1846 to 1873 was notable. He was concerned with not only developing a public road network, developing river dredging works programme but also engineering a water supply for the entire city, and ultimately improving the quality of life in the city and region.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “Much has been written on many of John’s well-known works over the years such as the beautiful Berwick Fountain, the red bricked English Market exterior, the striking St Patrick’s Bridge and his work on designing the North Cathedral’s western tower”.

“John was passionate about his work and about Cork. His array of works he was involved in show he was a hard-worker and a visionary for his time. He was also a pioneer in designing National Exhibition buildings in Cork and in Dublin in order to showcase the products of the country. He is also remembered for his extensive railway line work being the engineer for the old Cork-Macroom rail line and the architect for the first Cork-Dublin railway terminus, which existed before the current Kent Station, and part of which still survives and is currently being preserved”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Cllr McCarthy: Push to Phase out Herbicides in Public Areas

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed Cork City Council’s Parks and Recreation Division undertaking of trials researching various alternatives to herbicides. The research during the past three years has concluded that the alternatives are less effective and more costly. The alternatives included steam jet application, electric strimmer and organic herbicides. The disadvantage of the alternatives is that the control increases from one operation per year up to four for any one of the alternatives. That said the alternatives are by far more environmentally friendly in terms of greater biodiversity and pollinator friendly amenity areas.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The Marina and The Atlantic Pond areas are core areas I have had phonecalls on and questions on the use of herbicide. The Roads Department are cognisant of general concerns regarding the use of glyphosate and have been conducting trials in the last three years with contractors using non-glyphosate products. These trials have incrementally ramped up to the point that in 2021 these trials cover 140km of the public road network, i.e., 28% of the road network. In the coming months, an evaluation of these trials will be completed with respect to effectiveness and costs, with a view to expanding the overall percentage of network treated with non-glyphosate products in 2022”.

“Providing the trials are deemed successful, contractors with effective non-glyphosate products are available, and costs match Council budget allocation, it is the Roads Departments intention to proceed with non-glyphosate products in the future treatment of the City’s road network”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.