Category Archives: Arts

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 (irishexaminer.com)
Buy the book here: Cork City Reflections – Amberley Publishing (amberley-books.com)
 Cork City Reflections by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen (2021, Amberley Publishing)
Cork City Reflections by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen (2021, Amberley Publishing)

Cllr McCarthy’s Upcoming Cork Harbour Festival Events, June 2021

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy will host three events for the upcoming Cork Harbour Festival. Two of the events focus on the rich history of the city’s bridges and the third focuses in on the history and sense of place on The Marina. The events and dates are as follows:

– Bridges of Cork, Online Talk by Kieran, Tuesday 8 June 2021, 7.30pm-8.30pm, FREE:

This zoom presentation explores the general development of the city’s bridges and why they were historically so important and are still so important in connecting the different parts of Cork City together. Details of the link for the talk are available at www.corkharbourfestival.com

– Bridges of Cork, Heritage Treasure Hunt, hosted by Kieran, Saturday 12 June 2021, 1pm, FREE, self-guided walk:

This treasure hunt is all about looking up and around and exploring the heart of Cork City whilst exploring the stories and place of the city centre’s bridges. Suitable for all ages, approx 2hr, with mixed footpaths on city’s quays.Meet Kieran at National Monument, Grand Parade, Cork, between 1pm-1.15pm on Saturday 12 June, to receive the self-guided treasure hunt pack, no booking required. Bring a pen.

– The Marina, Self Guided Audio Trail with Kieran, 4 June 2021 -14 June, FREE:

A stroll down The Marina is popular by many people. The area is particularly characterized by its location on the River Lee and the start of Cork Harbour. Here scenery, historical monuments and living heritage merge to create a rich sense of place. The audio tour will be available here to stream live on your smartphone from 4-14 June 2021. Details of the link for the audio trail are available at www.corkharbourfestival.com

Cllr McCarthy: Former ESB Sub Station Should be a Major City Cultural Asset, 24 May 2020

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called on the City Council and the ESB to work on a joint programme of works to return the sub-station on Caroline Street to an art gallery/ cultural space.’

The sub station on Caroline Street is in the ownership of the ESB. Until recently the Sub Station was advertised for Commercial Let. Cllr McCarthy has been informed that Cork City Council does not have sight of the ESB’s plans for the building. And that the wider needs in terms of cultural infrastructure in the city will be reviewed in the context of the forthcoming Arts & Culture Strategy, currently under development.

Cllr McCarthy noted; “there is massive scope to do a joint partnership in re-opening the disused ESB substation as a cultural space. It has a very rich industrial history. It was built in 1931 and was originally used to convert direct current electricity to alternating current. This substation is representative of the design employed by the ESB in the first part of the twentieth century in Ireland.

“In 1932, the ESB could boast cables running from Ardnacrusha Hydro Electric Station to Cork as well as having the old generating station and offices at Albert Road, a Station at Kilbarry, a transformer station at Fords, and the central substation in Caroline Street. The annual consumption of electricity in Cork City was 8 million units by 1934 and 16 million units by 1945”.

“The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage notes of this building: “This functional building is a well-articulated building, with a high level of architectural design. The building retains many interesting original features and materials, such as the metal casement windows and metal folding doors”.

“It is also ten years ago when the Triskel Arts Centre, whilst waiting for the renovation of Christ Church, moved its gallery off site to the ESB substation on Caroline Street and did a great job in utilising the space. In addition, in 2018, Brown Thomas teamed up with Cork City Council and artist Shane O’Driscoll to transform the exterior of the then disused ESB station building which had fallen into disrepair. The City Centre Placemaking Fund from Cork City Council was used to support the project”.

“It is a real shame that such a prominent building remains vacant with so many possibilities for its use. I will be continuing my lobbying of the City Council to partner up with the ESB in finding an appropriate cultural use for the building”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Press, 25 May 2021, “The abandoned substation has massive scope for transformation now that Cllr. Kieran McCarthy is urging the city council and ESB to turn it into a new entertainment venue for Leesiders. Originally built in 1931 in the art deco style favoured by ESB at the time, the substation was last used by Triskel Arts ten years ago”, Endless possibilities for this gem of a building on Caroline Street to be transformed as council consider new proposal, Derelict Art-deco substation could become amazing Cork city music and arts space – Cork Beo

Caroline Street Former ESB Sub Station, Cork present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Caroline Street Former ESB Sub Station, Cork present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Cllr McCarthy commissions two new street art murals on Douglas Road, January 2021

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy continues his commissions of street art on Douglas Road. In recent weeks, two new pieces have emerged on traffic switch boxes. The first mural, which is located at Cross Douglas Road, is that of Terence and Muriel MacSwiney who lived at 5 Eldred Terrace in 1917.

Cllr McCarthy highlighted: “There was a commemorative plaque erected on the wall of their former house in June 1980 but unfortunately the plaque was taken down a few months later. There have been calls within the Ballinlough area and Douglas Road by locals to once again mark the story from over hundred years ago of the MacSwineys living within the local community. This mural’s central image is from an old photograph of the couple whist the rose motif is a nod to the always beautiful adjacent flower shop.

Terence and Muriel MacSwiney  by Kevin O'Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy
Terence and Muriel MacSwiney by Kevin O’Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy

The second mural is opposite the entrance to St Finbarr’s Hospital. Cllr McCarthy noted: “The mural has the theme of “hold firm” and is dedicated to healthcare staff within the hospital who have held firm against COVID-19. The mural adds to the existing street art mural, which was painted Kevin O’Brien outside CUH last year”.

“It has been great to commission artist Kevin O’Brien again. This is my sixth commission with him. He really brings ordinary municipal utility boxes to life with his creativity, imparting uplifting and positives messages. Roads such as Douglas Road are well walked everyday, so it is great to bring his work into heart of suburban communities, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Artist Kevin O’Brien noted: “Street art is a fantastic way to improve the aesthetic of urban areas and build a sense of character in communities, but beyond that, with cultural spaces currently closed, the availability of street art in public spaces takes on an even greater importance”.

Hold Firm by Kevin O'Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy
Hold Firm by Kevin O’Brien, Commissioned by Cllr Kieran McCarthy

Kieran’s 2021 Ward Funds, Now Open

The call for Kieran’s 2021 Ward Fund is now OPEN.

  Cllr Kieran McCarthy is calling on any community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City, which includes areas such as Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon, Douglas, Donnybrook, Maryborough, Rochestown, Mount Oval and Moneygourney with an interest in sharing in his 2020 ward funding to apply for his funds. A total of E.11,000 is available to community groups through Cllr Kieran McCarthy’s ward funds.

Application should be made via letter (Richmond Villa, Douglas Road) or email to Kieran at kieran_mccarthy@corkcity.ie by Friday 5 February 2021. This email should give the name of the organisation, contact name, contact address, contact email, contact telephone number, details of the organisation, and what will the ward grant will be used for?

 

Please Note:

– Ward funds will be prioritised to community groups based in the south east ward of Cork City who build community capacity, educate, build civic awareness and projects, which connect the young and old.

– Cllr McCarthy especially welcomes proposals where the funding will be used to run a community event (as per COVID guidelines) that benefits the wider community. In addition, he is seeking to fund projects that give people new skill sets. That could include anything from part funding of coaching training for sports projects to groups interested in bringing enterprise programmes to encourage entrepreneurship to the ward.

   – Cllr McCarthy is also particularly interested in funding community projects such as community environment projects such as tree planting, community concerts, and projects those that promote the rich history and environment within the south east ward.

– Cllr McCarthy publishes a list of his ward fund allocations each year on this page.

Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020

Evening Echo  is a public artwork by New Zealand artist Maddie Leach. It is sited on old gasometer land gifted by Bord Gáis to Cork City Council in the late 1980s. This site was subsequently re-dedicated as Shalom Park in 1989. The park sits in the centre of the old Cork neighbourhood known locally as ‘Jewtown’. This neighbourhood is also home to the National Sculpture Factory.

This year the last night of Hanukkah is Thursday 17 December and offers the only opportunity to see the tall ‘ninth lamp’ alight until next year. The cycle begins 10 minutes before sunset, which occured this year at 4.13pm, and continued for 30 minutes after sunset when the ninth lamp was extinguished.

Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Evening Echo, Shalom Park, 17 December 2020 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Cllr McCarthy: Opening of Douglas Library will support social and cultural inclusion

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the reopening of Douglas Library in Douglas Village Shopping Centre. The library will be a transformed space both in design and enhanced services. The refurbished library includes a complete transformation of the children’s space, including a new children’s fiction area, a larger children’s story time area and a new personalised kiosk for the children and families to use.

The Listening Lounge is new to the adult area and will be a space for the public to listen to audio books and music on cd and vinyl. It will be a relaxing and calm space. My Open Library will be part of Douglas Library early in the new year and will significantly increase the opening hours for the public.

Plans are also being finalised to support those with dementia in the community, including a new Tovertafel magic table and memory café which will be a great addition to our Age Friendly Libraries initiatives.

A Per Cent for Art Commission has been awarded to two Cork based textile artists as part of the reopening of the refurbished Library. Taking its inspiration from the historic textile industry of the Douglas area the proposal includes a strong community engagement element with nursing homes and local schools. The end piece will be a textile wall hanging, a focus for discussion of the local history of the area for many years to come.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The staff of Cork City Libraries put in extra hours adding new items to ensure the stock of Douglas Library will be second to none, providing the most up to date titles available to the people of Douglas and the surrounding areas. The library will continue to host many activities, book clubs, writing groups and craft activities for all ages within the community. The City Council’s intention is that the library will continue to proactively support learning, diversity and social and cultural inclusion”.

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the reopening of Douglas Library in Douglas Village Shopping Centre. The library will be a transformed space both in design and enhanced services. The refurbished library includes a complete transformation of the children’s space, including a new children’s fiction area, a larger children’s story time area and a new personalised kiosk for the children and families to use.

The Listening Lounge is new to the adult area and will be a space for the public to listen to audio books and music on cd and vinyl. It will be a relaxing and calm space. My Open Library will be part of Douglas Library early in the new year and will significantly increase the opening hours for the public.

Plans are also being finalised to support those with dementia in the community, including a new Tovertafel magic table and memory café which will be a great addition to our Age Friendly Libraries initiatives.

A Per Cent for Art Commission has been awarded to two Cork based textile artists as part of the reopening of the refurbished Library. Taking its inspiration from the historic textile industry of the Douglas area the proposal includes a strong community engagement element with nursing homes and local schools. The end piece will be a textile wall hanging, a focus for discussion of the local history of the area for many years to come.

Cllr McCarthy noted: “The staff of Cork City Libraries put in extra hours adding new items to ensure the stock of Douglas Library will be second to none, providing the most up to date titles available to the people of Douglas and the surrounding areas. The library will continue to host many activities, book clubs, writing groups and craft activities for all ages within the community. The City Council’s intention is that the library will continue to proactively support learning, diversity and social and cultural inclusion”.

Cllr McCarthy Welcomes Douglas Village Parklet

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the positive news that Douglas Village is to receive its first parklet. The National Transport Authority (NTA) provided Cork City Council stimulus funding to implement a suite of initiatives to support mobility across the city.  This included the provision of 10 parklets to enhance greening of the city and to improve the attractiveness of the city to pedestrians.  Partners in businesses and communities were sought to maintain and manage the parklets. 

 Cllr McCarthy noted: “A public call was issued to communities and businesses and as a result the parklet initiative was significantly oversubscribed, which highlights the enthusiasm of residents, businesses and communities to see greening projects of this nature in the city.  In line with the objectives of the stimulus, prioritised areas in the city centre and villages / towns throughout the Council’s administrative area were chosen. 

 “An assessment of the suitability of areas was conducted to accommodate parklets, in terms of health and safety and access to essential services. Ten parklet sites with partners were chosen. All parklets must encourage a pollinator friendly approach. The Douglas Village Parklet will be managed by Douglas Tidy Towns who have an excellent track record in the roll out of community biodiversity programmes”. 

 “Cork City Council also engaged with Benchspace, a social enterprise, to deliver the timber-clad parklets.  The parklets, which occupy a traditional car space, will be installed over the next number of weeks/months as they are available from Benchspace”. 

 “The parklets are installations in the midst of busy streets with the focus on important issues such as the environment and biodiversity. They also offer people an alternative place to sit down for a few minutes and to reflect on their day or to meet friends”, concluded Cllr Kieran McCarthy. 

Monkey Puzzle Tree Update, 17 October 2020

16 October 2020, “After the iconic Monkey Puzzle Tree in Mahon was blown down, Cork city councillor Kieran McCarthy, UCC’s Dr Eoin Lettice, O’Callaghan Properties and St Michael’s Credit Union joined together to ensure locals with fond memories of the tree could take part of it home”, Cork residents snap up pieces of iconic monkey puzzle tree, https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/munster/arid-40066755.html?fbclid=IwAR10JaNQzs_WdaOmwS8N3QKWSaERlqUQoxK70RBw4Ikqc1QIRDpl1aShjFI

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 24 September 2020


1067a. Project page on the local history of the Vikings in Cork from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 24 September 2019

Launch of Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020-21

Covid-19 has brought many challenges to every part of society and never before has our locality being important for recreation and for our peace of mind. In the past few months more focus than ever has been put on places we know, appreciate and even on places we don’t know but now depend on as we remain grounded in our neighbourhoods and corners of Cork City.

Against the backdrop of Covid-19, the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020/21 (Cork City Edition) launches in its 19th year and is open to schools in Cork City. Funded by Cork City Council. The Project is an initiative of the Cork City Heritage Plan.

The project is aimed at both primary and post primary level.  Project books may be submitted on any aspect of Cork’s rich past. The theme for this year’s project is “Living Through History”, which is a nod to the historic pandemic we are living through.

The Project 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. There are two sub categories within the post primary section, Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate. The project is free to enter. A student may enter as an individual or as part of a group or a part of a class entry.

   Co-ordinated by myself, one of the key aims of the Project is to encourage students to explore, investigate and debate their local heritage (built, archaeological, cultural and natural) in a constructive, active and fun way. Projects on any aspect of Cork’s rich heritage can be submitted to an adjudication panel. Prizes are awarded for best projects and certificates are given to each participant. A cross-section of projects submitted from the last school season can be gleamed from links on my website, www.corkheritage.ie where there are other resources, former titles and winners and entry information as well.

    Students produce a project on their local area using primary and secondary sources. Each participating student within their class receives a free workshop in October 2020. The workshop comprises a guide to how to put a project together. Project material must be gathered in an A4/ A3 size Project book. The project may be as large as the student wishes but minimum 20 pages (text + pictures + sketches). Projects must also meet five elements. Projects must be colourful, creative, have personal opinion, imagination and gain publicity before submission. These elements form the basis of a student friendly narrative analysis approach where the student explores their project topic in an interactive and task-oriented way. In particular, students are encouraged (whilst respecting social distancing) to attain material through visiting local libraries, engaging with fieldwork, making models, photographing, cartoon creating, and making short snippet films of their area. Re-enacting can also be a feature of several projects.

   For over eighteen years, the project has evolved in exploring how students pursue local history and how to make it relevant in society. The project attempts to provide the student with a hands-on and interactive activity that is all about learning not only about heritage in your local area (in all its forms) but also about the process of learning by participating students. The project is about thinking about, understanding, appreciating and making relevant in today’s society the role of our heritage, our landmarks, our oral histories, our environment in our modern world for upcoming citizens. So, the project is about splicing together activity on issues of local history and heritage such as thinking, exploring, observing, discovering, researching, uncovering, revealing, interpreting and resolving.

    The importance of doing a project in local history is reflected in the educational aims of the history curricula of primary and post-primary schools. Local heritage is a tool, which helps the student to become familiar with their local environment and to learn the value of it in their lives. Learning to appreciate the elements of a locality, can also give students a sense of place in their locality or a sense of identity. Hence the Project can also become a youth forum for students to do research and offer their opinions on important decisions being made on their heritage in their locality and how they affect the lives of people locally.  I know a number of students who have been involved in the project in schools over the years who have took their interest further and have gone on to become professional tour guides, and into other related college work.

   The project is open to many directions of delivery. Students are encouraged to engage with their topic in order to make sense of it, understand and work with it. Students continue to experiment with the overall design and plan of their work. For example, and in general, students who have entered before might engage with the attaining of primary information through oral histories. The methodologies that the students create provide interesting ways to approach the study of local heritage. Students are asked to choose one of two extra methods (apart from a booklet) to represent their work. The first option is making a model whilst the second option is making a short film. It is great to see students using modern up todate technology to present their findings. This works in broadening their view of approaching their project.

    This project in the City is free to enter and is kindly funded by Cork City Council (viz the help of Niamh Twomey, Heritage Officer) Prizes are also provided by the Old Cork Waterworks Experience, Lee Road, Learnit Lego Education, and Sean Kelly of Lucky Meadows Equestrian Centre, Watergrasshill (www.seankellyhorse.com). Overall, the Schools’ Heritage Project for the last eighteen years has attempted to build a new concerned generation of Cork people, pushing them forward, growing their self-development empowering them to connect to their world and their local heritage. Spread the word please with local schools. Details can be found on my website, www.corkheritage.ie.

Captions:

1067a. Project page on the local history of the Vikings in Cork from Our Lady of the Lourdes NS student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).

1067b. Gameboard on Cork historical landmarks created by Eglantine National School student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).


1067b. Gameboard on Cork historical landmarks created by Eglantine National School student 2019/20 (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy).