Category Archives: S.E. Ward Local History

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: Forward Planning Essential for Former ESB Marina Site, 1 July 2021

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed discussion and forward planning on the decommissioned Marina power station in Cork city. “It was great to hear about formal confirmation this week that planning between the ESB, Cork City Council and the newly formed Land Development Agency in relation to possible future uses of the site is ongoing. For me the ESB site is one of four sites in South Docks, which have a lot of built and cultural heritage – the others being the old Ford Factory site, former Odlums Building and the R & H Hall grain silos. All four sites have been highly influential in the development of south docks historically plus also are iconic symbolic structures in the area. It would be a real pity to lose their presence in the future of south docks.

“I would like to see the future of South Docks with a mixture of old and new building stock, so that the area has a nuanced sense of place. For me as well, I would encourage any future development to work with the Council to create a riverside walk on the south docks, so that The Marina greenway would potentially lead and connect all the way into the city, and hence linking to walks just west of the city centre – all in all creating an iconic routeway all along the city’s River Lee sections with public health advantages, scenery and other uses in abundance”. concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Read more here on future of ESB Marina Site:Former Marina power station eyed up for housing (irishexaminer.com)

Cllr McCarthy: New Native Saplings Planted on Blackrock Castle Walkway, Late June 2021

Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the sponsorship by Coillte of new native saplings at the Blackrock Castle Walkway. Cllr McCarthy remarked: “In total this year, up to 1,200 trees were planted by Cork City Council Operations (Parks) this year. Cork Chamber are sponsoring another 200 of the 1,200 native trees being planted this year and have committed to at least two more years of sponsorship at €3,000k per year. This is a very generous contribution as it assists with increasing tree cover throughout the City”.

 Outgoing Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh said: “The Coillte trees planted are a representation of all primary and secondary schools in Cork City and speak to our past, present and future. The Lord Mayor’s Oak Tree Initiative 2021 symbolises the resilience, sustainability and growth synonymous with our schools”.

Coillte Supply Chain Manager, Dominic Joyce said: “Coillte is delighted to support such initiatives as they inspire future generations and increase awareness of the important role that trees play in mitigating climate change, improving habitats, increasing biodiversity and providing sustainable and renewable building materials. We are delighted to be associated with the Lord Mayor’s initiative to commemorate the independence struggle 100 years ago in this novel and environmentally friendly way”.

Saplings were also planted Glen River Park, Bridevalley Park, and the Curraheen Walkway. Plaques have been installed near the new trees and a QR code will direct  people to the Cork City Council commemorations site, www.corkcitycommemorations.ie where further details of the initiative will appear.

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

Press, Cllr McCarthy: ‘A terrible precedent for the city’s historic buildings’, 30 May 2021,

30 May 2021, “Mr McCarthy said it is a “really disappointing” decision and “there must be accountability for all involved.” On Twitter, he wrote: “There was no need for The Sextant to be knocked until plans were tied down fully”, A terrible precedent for the city’s historic buildings’ — plan to scrap apartments for offices criticised, ‘A terrible precedent for the city’s historic buildings’ — plan to scrap apartments for offices criticised (irishexaminer.com)

Cllr McCarthy: Marina Park Phase 1 Opening Delayed Until Late September 2021

In a recent reply to a question posed by Cllr Kieran McCarthy at the mid May City Council meeting, Cork City Council have noted revised the completion date of phase 1 of Marina Park. Due to Covid 19, delaying construction works, the completion date is now late August/early September this year. The revised opening date is late September/early October.

Cllr McCarthy noted: The phase one works comprise 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. 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 sides of the pavilion will not be enclosed, and there will be possibilities for coffee pods and outdoor seating and arts and crafts”.

“Another feature will include water jets for children to play in as well as the provision of public toilets. The public can now see the sunken lawn areas and the diversion of a watercourse, as well as new pathways – all of which are taking shape at present. The project is a e.10m investment into the area, of which nearly came from EU Urban Sustainable Funds, which are part of the EU’s structural funds and are a crucial source of funding for cities”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

Kieran’s Cork Harbour Festival Events, Early June 2021

– Bridges of Cork – Online Talk:

  • 8 June 2021, 19:30 – 20:30, In association with Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

Cork City’s growth on a swamp is an amazing story. The city possesses a unique character derived from a combination of its plan, topography, built fabric and its location on the lowest crossing point of the river Lee as it meets the tidal estuary and the second largest natural harbour in the world. Indeed, it is also a city that is unique among other cities, it is the only one which has experienced all phases of Irish urban development, from circa 600 AD to the present day. Hence its bridges all date to different times of urban growth and possess different architectural traits. 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.

Bridges of Cork – Online Talk ~ Cork Harbour Festival

FREE, Register here: https://forms.gle/pazrXi1nVPQFSqKJ7

Daly's Bridge, AKA Shaky Bridge, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Daly’s Bridge, AKA Shaky Bridge, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

– Bridges of Cork Treasure Hunt:

  • 12 June 2021, 13:00 – 13:15, In association with Cllr Kieran McCarthy.

They say the best way to get to know a city is to walk it – in Cork you can get lost in narrow streets, marvel at old cobbled lane ways, photograph old street corners, look up beyond the modern shopfronts, gaze at clues from the past, be enthused and at the same time disgusted by a view, smile at interested locals, engage in the forgotten and the remembered, search and connect for something of oneself, thirst in the sense of story-telling – in essence feel the DNA of the place. 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 self-guided walk, mixed footpaths on city’s quays.

FREE, Join: Meet Cllr Kieran McCarthy at National Monument, Grand Parade, Cork, between 13:00-13:15, no booking required. Bring a pen. Self guided heritage treasure hunt.

Bridges of Cork Treasure Hunt ~ Cork Harbour Festival

St Patrick's Bridge, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

St Patrick’s Bridge, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

– The Marina – Self Guided Audio Trail:

  • 4 June 2021 – June 14, 2021, 06:00 – 23:55,In association with Cllr Kieran McCarthy, 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 historical tapestry of questions of who developed such a place of ideas. Where not all the answers have survived, The Marina is lucky, unlike other suburbs, that many of its former residents have left archives, autobiographies, census records, diaries, old maps and insights into how the area developed. These give an insight into ways of life and ambitions in the past, some of which can help the researcher in the present day in understanding The Marina’s evolution and sense of place going forward. Take a walk with us and discover more.

The audio tour will be available here to stream live on your smartphone from 4-14 June 2021, The Marina – Self Guided Audio Trail ~ Cork Harbour Festival

Autumn at The Marina, Cork (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Autumn at The Marina, Cork (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Ward Watch – Greenway construction to begin on 22 February on Marina to Mahon Point section of the Old Railway Line:

Press Release:

“Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed the beginning of the phase 1 of the Passage Railway Greenway Improvement Scheme on next Monday 22 February. Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding. There is a deep affection for the old railway line walk and in these COVID times is used regularly by locals”.

“The widening of the footpath is to be welcomed and one which locals have called for. I am personally excited that the old Blackrock Station platform is to get conservation works. It is in a poor state and it would be a shame to lose the platform completely due to neglect. I am also excited by the planting of 60 semi mature trees and over 2,000 saplings along the phase 1 from the Mahon Point to The Marina. It is also welcome that the greenway will be kept open to the greatest possible extent throughout the works”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.

READ MORE: Extensive improvements in the pipeline for Passage Greenway (echolive.ie)

Cllr McCarthy: NTA Investments in Marina Area Warmly Welcomed, 15 February 2021

Press Release:

“Last week’s announcements by the National Transport Authority (NTA) are really positive for the Marina area and the Old Railway Line Walk through to Bessboro. Firstly phase 1 of the Greenway has been given funding of e.3.2m to progress construction. It comprises widening of the existing surfaced area along the old railway line path from 3m to 5m, the installation of new public lighting and CCTV, emphasising the heritage of the railway (especially at Blackrock Station) and producing a biodiversity corridor along the railway line. 

Secondly, it is also really great to see funding following the public consultation and its vision for the Marina and the Council’s subsequent vote to pedestrianise the Marina walk full-time.

A total of e.240,000 has received from the NTA to progress preliminary design, planning, design team appointment & detailed design for the Marina Promenade Pedestrian and Cycle facilities project. Many people have complained that is very difficult to walk over certain sections of the Marina’s road plus the need to have a think about public lighting after dark and the counter balance of that with protection of natural habitats around the Atlantic Pond and eastwards. The project will also seek funding for some repairs to the quay wall and some general improvement to the public realm including seating, bike parking etc.

In March/ April this year, the Infrastructure Development Directorate of Cork City Council will be publishing a notice seeking tenders from suitably qualified and experienced Design Consultants for the upgrade and enhancement of the Marina (Centre Park Road to Blackrock Village).

By the end of 2021 City Hall officials aim to present a recommended layout to Council members with construction to follow in early 2022 subject to the necessary consents and funding approval.

Great credit is due to officials in City Hall of the Infrastructure section; there is great momentum at the moment between drafting plans, gaining the input of the public, amending plans where needs be, and presenting them to the National Transport Authority for funding”.  

The Marina, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
The Marina, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)