Category Archives: Cork History

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 5 October 2023

1222a. Tourist coach at Cronin’s Hotel, Gougane Barra, c.1920 (source: West Cork Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen).
1222a. Tourist coach at Cronin’s Hotel, Gougane Barra, c.1920 (source: West Cork Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 5 October 2023

Recasting Cork: Forming the Munster Tourist Development Association

On 4 October 1923 the second meeting of the Executive Committee of the Munster Tourist Development Association was held at the Cork Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Hotel. Mr John Callaghan Foley, President of the Chamber presided, and there were representatives from Irish and British railway as well as from the City of Cork Steam Packet Company and the White Star Line, and the United States Lines. The Munster Association had been successfully launched and as 95 per cent of tourists coming into Ireland were landing at Cobh, there were opportunities to be developed in the southern region.

Since the first meeting letters were received from prominent men in districts all over Munster and from Dublin, approving of the objects of the Association and promising the movement every possible support.

John Callaghan Foley, Chairman, said he could only reiterate the statement he made at the meeting, that they were getting promises of support from every quarter of Munster. John detailed the letters they were receiving that the people of Munster. He noted; “The people had shown their interest, not only by becoming members, but by offering subscriptions and helping in every way. That was very encouraging, but it was only as it should be. If the matter were properly worked, there were boundless possibilities of good for the country”.

Mr D P Buckley was elected Honorary Treasurer and the Munster and Leinster Bank was appointed the hank of the Association.

Mr Canavan of the United States Lines raised that he had been in Dublin and Limerick since the previous meeting. He wished to raise whether their Association was to be a strictly provincial association. He noted that that was a very important point to consider; “The fullest results of the development of tourist traffic in Ireland could not be believed, be successfully obtained by confining themselves to a single province”. He believed an old Association in Dublin, which was less active at that moment, had a considerable amount of funds and that they should be approached to see if they would give some funding to a southern venture.

The Chairman said that they in County Cork were at the gateway of the tourist traffic. He believed that the Association was going to be a very positive endeavour to get the tourists to come through Cork. They were quite prepared to co-operate in every way with any kindred Association for the benefit of the nation as a whole. They aimed to influence local public bodies to strike a rate, as they were entitled to do, for the purpose of advertising their own districts. This would help the work of the Association very much.

Mr D P Buckley outlined that most of the tourists who came through Cobh would, after visiting Southern scenic spots, proceed to Dublin and Belfast, and that there was not, in his opinion, any reason why such cities should not bear portion of the expense of advertising and the narrative. The Chairman, John Callaghan Foley, said undoubtedly the question was a national one, and he believed that they should receive the support of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Two weeks later on 13 October 1923, the discussion revolved around the request to be made to the Military Authorities that hotels occupied by the military should be handed over as soon as possible so that preparations might be made for the reception of tourists during the coming season. In that light a letter was read from the office of Chief of General Staff, General Headquarters, Dublin.

The Chief desired that the Army Authorities to have all hotels at present in occupation, evacuated at the earliest opportunity, both from the point of view of “army economy and public interest”. The letter detailed that owing to the lack of accommodation in parts of the country particularly the South, it was necessary to occupy hotel buildings in many places. The Chief had enquired personally into the conditions affecting the troops occupation of hotels in Kerry and wished for their transfer to other alternative accommodation.

The secretary D P Buckley detailed that the condition of the roads and bridges were also a disgrace, both to the county councils and county surveyors. He noted his surprise that there were not many more accidents and that there were many bridges, damaged by the Civil War, which were in poor condition, and some were worse than others.

Mr Buckley was also of the view that the hotel charges too, were altogether too high, and if their proprietors expected to benefit by tourist traffic, they should be prepared to be far more reasonable in their tariffs. Mr Buckley was reminded that in County Cork, the dangerous bridges were marked by a red flag, but there were no warning signals in Kerry Mr. Buckley said they had neither signposts nor danger signals. At the suggestion of the meeting participants, it was decided to communicate with the Council of the County of Kerry, drawing attention to the necessity of having the bridges repaired, and, in the meantime, to have warning signals put up on dangerous places.

As the autumn of 1923, further lobbying ensued to improve roads as well in West Cork in the areas of Castletownbere and Glengarriff to Kenmare through the Caha Pass route and into areas such as Gougane Barra.


1222a. Tourist coach at Cronin’s Hotel, Gougane Barra, c.1920 (source: West Cork Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen).

Kieran’s Lord Mayor’s Echo Column, 30 September 2023

Celebrating St Finbarr:

This past week marked the 1400th anniversary of Cork’s patron saint’s death. Ceremonies took place in St Finbarre’s Cathedral and will also take place at Gougane Barra. On reflection, it is amazing how much folklore and legend of our patron saint has defined the Cork city’s heritage.

Historically Finbarr’s Life survives in 35 manuscripts and twenty-one copies of the early vernacular life. Finbarr’s written vernacular life has undergone little major change between its earliest and latest extant copies. These date respectively to about 1450 to 1874. Finbarr’s original life seems to have been composed, perhaps as part of a collection, in Cork between 1196 and 1201 AD, some 25 years after the arrival of the Normans in South Munster. This was a time of reform in the Catholic Church.

There are several ways of spelling Finbarr but the most common spelling is as shown. His connection seems rooted in several religious sites across the Lee Valley from source (Gougane Barra) to mouth (Cork City). Finbarr’s Life was composed initially in Latin between 1196 and 1201 AD. His life was transmitted along three principal lines, each marking a major revision of the original text.

Finbarr’s myth endures in the valley and it is the legacy of St Finbarr that gives the city and valley its core spiritual identity and an origins story. Across the valley, there are churches named after Finbarr and a number of memorials depicting the saint in churches in the form of stained glass windows and statues.

An Enduring Figure:

There are several legends that have made it into the city’s main historical narrative. One legend records that the origins of Cork City begins at the source of the Lee in the scenic Shehy Mountains at the heart of which lies the cherished pilgrimage site of Gougane Barra (Finbarr’s rocky cleft). There St Finbarr reputedly established one of his earlier monasteries on an island in the middle of Gougane Lake. Legend has it that he then left to walk the river valley at the mouth of which he established the monastery (at what is now the site of St FinBarre’s Cathedral in Cork City) overlooking Corcach Mór na Mumhan or the Great Marsh of Munster.

Finbarr’s hermitage was located around the area of present-day Gillabbey Street. It grew to be an important religious centre in southern Munster, providing ecclesiastical services in the form of a church and graveyard, and secular services in the form of a school, hospital and hostel. The annal evidence for the school relates that languages such as Latin were taught and that it was one of the five primary sites in Ireland in terms of size and influence. Word quickly spread of the monastery’s valuable contribution to society, and it became necessary to expand the site.

Between 600 AD and 800 AD, a larger hermitage was constructed east of the original site on open ground now marked by St. FinBarre’s Cathedral. It is believed that over the subsequent centuries this hermitage grew to a point where it extended along the northern district of the Lough, and extended on both sides of Gillabbey Street and College Road about as far as the locality now occupied by University College Cork (UCC).

Around the year 623 AD St Finbarr died at the monastery of his friend, St Colman, at Cloyne in East Cork. His body was returned to his hermitage and his remains were encased in a silver shrine. Here they remained until 1089 when they were stolen by Dermod O’Brien. The shrine and the remains have never been recovered. Legend has it that the location of his tomb is just to the southeast of the present cathedral, overlooked by the famous Golden Angel. St Finbarr’s feast day is celebrated on 25 September. As the city’s patron saint he is still greatly revered. The city is lucky to have such a rich cultural heritage.

Meeting Notes from the Lord Mayor’s Desk:

My school visits are ongoing. I have now entered week four of five weeks where the 115 city schools will be visited. Over 40,000 primary and secondary students are engaged over the 26 morning run. Many thanks for the warm welcome so far.

September 28, It was great honour to celebrate the work of the Cork Learning Neighbourhoods over the past year. There are six Learning Neighbourhoods which include Knocknaheeny, Ballyphehane, Mayfield, The Glen, Togher and South Parish. It is important to recognise the importance of the volunteers across the communities who are promoting lifelong learning. There have been diverse and inclusive learning activities that have taken place over the past year. The contribution of the four key partners, CETB, Cork City Council, UCC and MTU are crucial as well as the work of the Learning City Team.

September 27, I formally opened the ETB’s Future of Education conference in the Concert Hall in City Hall. It’s 10 years since Ireland’s 16 Education and Training Boards were established. Following the hugely successful “ETB Day” celebrations earlier this year, ETBs now turn their attention to the future, What does the ETB school, college and organisation of the Future look like? What do our current learners expect and want for the class of 2033? What do we need from our funders, stakeholders and staff to help us get there?

September 26, I launched Cork City Local Enterprise Office’s Autumn/Winter Training Schedule. Cork City has a strong and successful small business sector. At the Local Enterprise Office, Cork City their goal is to ensure the continued growth and success of micro enterprises in the region. Their responsibilities include Fostering a local enterprise culture, maximising the employment potential of small businesses in the region, and providing a range of business support packages to small-scale enterprises including business information & advice, mentoring and training. 

September 24, I launched Cork Walking Week 2023 which took place from the 18th to 24th September. As part of the festival I hosted my historical walking tour of Shandon. The week highlights the stakeholders that are working to make Cork city and county a more accessible and safe place to get out walking and wheeling. Infrastructural developments coupled with determined advocacy for the prioritisation of walking and wheeling will help to break down barriers and normalise walking and wheeling. 

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 28 September 2023

1221a. Youghal beach and Railway Station c.1910 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 28 September 2023

Recasting Cork: Thirty Years of the Children’s Excursion

Bringing 3,000 impoverished children annually to Youghal was a large scale effort by Cork City’s Poor Excursion Committee. It was chaired by William F O’Connor, solicitor, and former Lord Mayor of Cork. In his analysis of the event of the annual event on 19 September 1923 in the Cork Examiner, he was proud to note that the event in 1923 was its thirtieth anniversary and that it was a “eminently successful one”.

William gives his highest praise to the ladies and gentlemen members of the committee that planned out the excursion and to the many subscriptions made to a central support fund; “It was a highly laudable fixture, and it was indeed most gratifying to find that members of the committee worked in most untiring fashion to make it what it proved to be, a delightful outing for the poor children of Cork, and a credit to all who helped in its conduct. Since its inception the excursion has been eagerly looked forward to by the poor of the city, and no charity has ever attained such a measure of popularity”.

Reference is also made by William that the event was initiated by one of Cork’s distinguished citizens, the late Mr Augustine Roche, in 1883-1884. Augustine entered the Corporation of Cork in 1883. He was elected Mayor for the years 1893 and 1894, and when in that position he instituted an annual excursion and the Christmas dinner for poor-children, which helped some 5,000 children.

Augustine was appointed City High Sheriff for 1902-3, during which years the Cork International Exhibition was held. He represented Cork City from 1905 to 1910 as MP in Westminster, when he was defeated, but a year later was again returned to Parliament for North Louth unopposed on the disqualification petition of another MP. One of the best-known and most highly esteemed citizens of Cork, he was, through all his public life, a leader in philanthropy. Augustine had a wholesale wine trade on King Street or MacCurtain Street and had business dealings with every county in the south of Ireland. 

Ahead of the 19 September 1923 excursion, elaborate arrangements were made for the thirtieth anniversary and for the success of the event.  Tickets at the Cornmarket were given out a week before hand at the Cornmarket and the Civic Guard and the Fire Brigade were asked to assist in keeping order during the distribution.

On the day of the excursion queues were quickly formed in every part of the outward premises, and marshalling everyone onto the Cork-Youghal trains was a big operation. As the morning advanced, the numbers of children assembling became considerably enlarged, and half an hour before the time fixed for the departure of the first train the Cork Examiner records a scene of a “very animated character” was on display.

Stewards appointed to attend to the arrangements at the Cork station were promptly in attendance. Members of the National Army, Civic Guard, and Fire Brigade were also present to render every possible assistance. The Cork Examiner records that the children were well behaved; “They were exceedingly orderly and well-behaved and gave little trouble to those who carried out the arrangements, and were most anxious for their comfort, accommodation and enjoyment”.

The Cork Examiner noted of the marshalling preparations:”Members of the Excursion Committee, as well as specially appointed stewards, were posted at all points leading to the barriers of platforms from which trains to Youghal started, while inside these barriers prominent members of the committee had assembled and made most perfect arrangements for the passage of the children to the awaiting trains. In this work, which was conducted in faultless fashion, members of the National Army, Civic Guards, and railway staff rendered valuable assistance”.

No less than four trains were required for the conveyance of the excursionists to Youghal. The first train left at half past eight and the last sonic time after ten o’clock, and by noon, close on 5,000 children had been safety brought to Youghal. The train arrangements at Youghal were attended to by Mr. Brickley, stationmaster.

As soon as the children reached their destination, they broke into no less than sixty sections and in each group a leader and 3-4 volunteers made sure everyone was safe. Once on the beach, the sunshine shone and the children indulged in bathing and sports, after which they proceeded to the Clay Castle and were provided with sandwiches, minerals and sweets.

The meat within the sandwiches was kindly cooked by the staff of the Cork Mental Hospital under the supervision of the Resident Medical Superintendent Dr Owen McCarthy. Even music was provided on the beach by the Greenmount Industrial School under the conductorship of Mr Ogden. Local people, especially Mr. O’Gorman, vice-chairman of the Urban Council and Mr James Cashman, of Youghal Urban District Council, were noted for their “efforts for the enjoyment of the youngsters and the success of the excursion”.

A few accidents, each of a minor character, took place and were attended to by Dr Orpen. Competent local oarsmen patrolled the waterway beyond the shore to present drowning incidents.

When the time came for the 3,000 children to board the trains back to Cork, it was overseen again by the National Army, members of the Civic Guard and the Cork Fire Brigade. Everyone returned safely and for a few hours the 3,000 children had been given a day away from the heart of impoverished slums in Cork City.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s season of walking tours. They will start again next April.


1221a. Youghal beach and Railway Station c.1910 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 21 September 2023

1220a. North Gate Bridge, aka Griffith Bridge, c.1923 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen).
1220a. North Gate Bridge, aka Griffith Bridge, c.1923 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 21 September 2023

Recasting Cork: The Naming of Griffith Bridge

A year after the deaths of Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith (August 1922) respectively, in August 1923, proposals to remember their legacy began. One such proposal to remember Arthur Griffith through the renaming of North Gate Bridge in his name drew the criticism of some Corkonians in September 1923.

In mid-September 1923, the Cork Examiner records that at a meeting of Cork Corporation, Cllr M J O’Callaghan moved that the name of the historic North Gate Bridge, which was then a cast-iron structure, be changed to that of Griffith Bridge. Cllr Allen seconded and there being no opposition the motion was unanimously agreed to. Arthur Griffith was a writer, newspaper editor and politician. He established the political party Sinn Féin. He was the head of negotiations that created the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. He was President of Dáil Éireann from January 1922 until his death later on 12 August 1922.

Criticising the decision was Dr Denis P Fitzgerald of Summerlea House in Tivoli. In a letter to the Cork Examiner on 17 September 1923, whilst respecting the legacy of Arthur Griffith the doctor wrote that old names of Cork should be kept and not forgotten about; “I am second to none in admiration of the late Arthur Griffiths as a Corkonian but I must enter a protest against the changing of the name of the bridge marking a very ancient and historical site of old Cork. Other memorials (and are they needed?) could be sought for and obtained to keep fresh the memory of a truly great Irishman, but it is a pity – and to my mind gross vandalism – to obliterate names associated with our city’s past”.

Dr Fitzgerald was clearly a lover of Old Cork and further pens in his letter that the memory of North and South Gate Bridges should be celebrated; “To any lover of Old Cork, with its canalled streets, castellated walls, and its North and South Gates, such obliteration of old associations is to be deplored. To retain in a material way the memorials of a city’s past is not often feasible, but surely it is a truly civic virtue to perpetuate, as far as possible names hallowed with the memories of the days gone by. It is to be hoped some member of the Corporation will take this matter in hand and let Cork’s citizen’s now and for ever have their North Gate Bridge”.

Another hard hitting letter by an anonymous writer with the pen name, Up Cork, published in the Cork Examiner on 19 September 1923 wrote about the irony that the proposals to change the name were made by members of a Council who did not support Arthur Griffith and the fall out of the Anglo Irish Treaty debate;Sir, — every right minded citizen will endorse the protest made by Doctor Fitzgerald against the outrageous action of the Corporation in changing the name of North Gate Bridge. Arthur Griffith deserves to be honoured, but is it not cruel irony that this should be attempted by a body who helped to break his heart, and reduced this city to the level of a country town. The practical recognition of Arthur Griffith’s work is the finest tribute we can pay to his memory. It is, therefore, degrading that this his name should be used as a catch vote by petty politicians, who ignore civic traditions and the responsibilities of civic life”.

North Gate Bridge has a rich history and its development even till 1923 was layered. In the time of the Anglo Normans establishing a fortified walled settlement and a trading centre in Cork around 1200 AD, North Gate Drawbridge formed one of the three entrances –South Gate and Watergate being the others. North Gate Drawbridge was a wooden structure and was annually subjected to severe winter flooding, being almost destroyed in each instance.

In May 1711, agreement was reached by the Council of the City that North Gate Bridge be rebuilt in stone in 1712 while in 1713, South Gate Bridge would be replaced with a stone arched structure. The new North and South Gate bridges were designed and built by George Coltsman, a Cork City stone mason/ architect.

Between 1713 and the early nineteenth century, the only structural work completed on North Gate Bridge was the repairing and widening of it by the Corporation of Cork. It was in 1831 that they saw that the structure was deteriorating and deemed it unsafe as a river crossing for horses, carts, and coaches. Hence in October 1861, the plans by Cork architect Sir John Benson for a new bridge were accepted. In April 1863, the foundation stone for the new bridge was laid.

The new bridge was to be a cast-iron structure with the iron work completed by Ranking & Company of Liverpool. It was considered a marvel of engineering science at that time and nothing was spared in its ornamentation even to the intricate gas lamps originally built upon its parapets. An ornate Victorian style was incorporated into the new structure with features such as ornamental lampposts and iron medallions depicting Queen Victoria, Albert the Prince Consort, Daniel O’ Connell, and Sir Thomas Moore, the famous English poet. The new North Gate Bridge was officially opened on 17 March, St Patrick’s Day 1864 by the Mayor John Francis Maguire in the company of Sir John Benson, the designer and Barry McMullen, the contractor.

Nearly 100 years later – circa 1960, the bridge would have to be reconstructed again due to structural engineering issues. The Cork Examiner records on 6 November 1961 that after a closure of two and a half it was completely reconstructed, and it was reopened by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Mr Anthony Barry, TD. The new and present day structure, which is 62 feet wide as compared with its predecessor’s 40 feet, replaced the old cast iron structure, which spanned the River Lee since 1863.


1220a. North Gate Bridge, aka Griffith Bridge, c.1923 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen).

Kieran’s Upcoming September Tours (end of season, all free, 2 hours, no booking required)

Sunday 24 September (two tours), The Friar’s Walk; Discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort & Barrack Street area, in association with Autumnfest on Douglas Street; Meet at Red Abbey tower, off Douglas Street, 11am.

Sunday 24 September, Shandon Historical Walking Tour; in association with Cork Walking Festival, meet at North Main Street/ Adelaide Street Square, opp Cork Volunteer Centre, 5pm.

Lord Mayor’s Column, 16 September 2023

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Kieran McCarthy,

Echo Notes, 16 September 2023

School Visits & the Safe Harbour for Ships:

The annual tradition of visiting the 115 Cork City schools have begun. At this point I am several mornings into the 24-morning itinerary across September and early October. My general messages revolve around story of the City’s coat of arms and that the translation of the latin inscription, Statio Bene Fida Carinis translated as Safe Harbour for Ships idea is one that refers to all of us being on a journey of discovery in our life ship and to always be curious in what interests you. Connected to that my gift to each of the over 40,000 students is a bookmark telling the story of the coat of arms.

Indeed, always creative and always beautiful is one way to sum up the various Cork Coat of Arms creations – from etchings on old maps to the Lord Mayor’s chain to appearing on City Hall flag motifs, to Waterworks, to the Port of Cork boardroom, to the City Library, Fire Engines to Cork GAA jerseys.

It is unknown when the present-day Coat of arms was first used. However, an arms with two towers and ship appears on the side of Munster Plantation President George Carew’s 1601 map of Cork. It is reputed that the towers are a reference to Watergate, which comprised a large portcullis gate that opened to allow ships into a small, unnamed quay located within the walled town. On either side of this gate, two large mural towers, known as King’s Castle and Queen’s Castle, controlled its mechanics. Little evidence remains of the gate, but on the basis that it had to allow access by ships with full masts, Watergate possibly divided in two and opened like a door, rather than being wound up and down by means of a stout chain on a pulley system.

In 1996, when new sewage pipes were being laid on Castle Street, archaeologists found two portions of rubble that indicated the site of the rectangular foundations of Queen’s Castle. A further section was discovered in 1997. During these excavations, sections of the medieval quay wall were also recovered on Castle Street.

A new Mayor’s gold chain was placed on the shoulders of Mayor of Cork Samuel Rowland in 1787. It was voted on by the court of D’Oyer Hundred – or the city’s assembly of freemen.  The sum of £500 was given as a bond by the then Mayor who needed to be paid back, and the money sent onto the London goldsmith. The highlighted medallion has the coat of arms and the Latin inscription Statio Bene Fida Carinis, which means a safe harbour for ships.

In 1825 a pen and ink Sketch by nineteenth century Cork artist Daniel Maclise of the Cork Arms from a stone from the old Customs House, North Main Street, shows a ship between two towers or castles with a sailor, in Elizabethan period dress, and a bird on the rigging. The sketch can be seen in the Cork Public Museum.

The Arms of Cork City were officially registered by the Chief Herald on 23rd August 1949.

“Órdha ar thonntracha mara long trí-chrann fá lántseol dualdaite idir dhá thúr dhearg ar charraigeacha dualdaite ar gach túr bratach airgid maisithe le sailtír dheirg” Leis an Rosc “Statio Bene Fide Carinis.”

“Or, on waves of the sea a ship three masts in full sail proper between two towers gules upon rocks also proper each tower surmounted by a flag argent charged with a saltire of the third” with the Motto “Statio Bene Fida Carinis”.

Nine years later after the official registration in 1957, one of the most striking pieces were created above the entrance to the Cork Harbour Commissioners. The Cork Harbour Board, with a certain amount of ceremony, inaugurated a new symbol in front of their offices to take the place of an old one which was supposed to be a relic of British domination, usually described as the Royal coat of arms. On 8 April 1957, Alderman Seán Casey, TD, Lord Mayor of Cork, unveiled the Cork Coat of Arms over the entrance to the office of the Cork Harbour Board at Custom House Quay.

In Kilkenny limestone, the heraldic design depicts the ancient arms of the city. In the speeches tribute was made to Mr Marshal Hutson, the Cork sculptor, who designed the Coat of Arms, and to Messrs. Thomas McCarthy and Sons, Copley Street, Cork, monumental sculptors, who executed the work. Its erection marks the conclusion of a total reconstruction of the South Jetties, and the completion of the first two stages of the long river wall on the northern side.

Voices of Cork – National Services Day, 2 September 2023

Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project:

Coinciding with the school visits I am launching 22nd year of the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project. It is funded by Cork City Council and the Project is an initiative of the Cork City Heritage Plan. 

The Project (est. 2002/03) is aimed at both primary and post primary level.  Project books may be submitted on any aspect of Cork’s rich past. Suggested topics are over the page. The theme for this year’s project – the 2023/24 school season – is “Why stories matter”.

The project is led by myself and schools for this year will be provided with a 30-minute YouTube tutorial and further questions may be complied and asked during my visits to schools. The break from the tradition of physical workshops is due to my limited time this year due to his mayoralty duties.

The fourth-class level is open to fourth class students. The primary senior level is open to students of fifth and sixth class. Post primary entrant/s will be placed in Junior Certificate or Leaving Certificate levels. The post primary level is open to any year from first to sixth year. A student may enter as an individual or as part of a group or as part of a class project.

Research and creativity are encouraged in an effort to create relevancy, awareness and appreciation of our local past amongst young people. There are prizes for best projects – trophies, book tokens, digital cameras and school workshops to be won. Certificates will be given to all entrants. More information can be got on my heritage website,

Check out as well the upcoming Cork Culture Night on Friday 22 September 2023 at

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 14 September 2023

1219a. The recent launching of the Cork City Revolution Trail with Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy and Gerry White, Historian.
1219a. The recent launching of the Cork City Revolution Trail with Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy and Gerry White, Historian.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 14 September 2023

Launch of New Cork City Revolution Trail

Hot on the heels of a large interest in this year’s National Heritage Week comes Cork City Council’s Cork City Revolution Trail. Recently launched it brings together information on thirty Cork City centre sites associated with the Irish War of Independence. The trail is an online story map and can be accessed on A City Remembers on It charts what happened on the streets of Cork a century ago during the revolutionary period. Journey back in time and learn about the historical significance of 30 local sites.

The trail is still very much a work in progress and it is anticipated that up to 50 sites could feature along the route in the future. The Cork City Revolution Trail was written by historians Gerry White and John Borgonovo and it is designed by Serena O’Connor. 

At the launch of the online trail, Gerry White spoke upon a number of key sites, many of which he has wrote at length upon and Cork City is lucky to have so much research published by him. There are some examples and extracts from the revolutionary trail below.

One of the first sites on the trail is Victoria Barracks. During the Irish Revolution, this Barracks was the largest and most significant British Army installation in Munster. Following the 1916 Rising, Commandant Thomas Kent of the of the Irish Volunteers was court-martialled, executed and buried in the Detention Barracks. In 1921, thirteen members of the IRA were executed in the barracks and buried in the grounds of Cork Male Prison.

  From 1919-1922, the barracks contained the headquarters of the British Army’s 6th Division, which had Munster as its area of operations and the 17th Infantry Brigade, which was responsible for Cork city and county.  Lord Mayor of Cork Terence MacSwiney was court-martialled there on 16 August 1920. Members of K Company of the Auxiliary Division of the RIC, the unit primarily responsible for the Burning of Cork, were also based in the barracks. After the Treaty, the barracks was occupied by Cork No. 1 Brigade. It was burned by anti-Treaty IRA forces during the Civil War in August 1922.

On 17 July 1920 on South Mall at the Cork County Club an IRA unit from Cork No. 1 Brigade entered the Cork County Club on the South Mall and shot dead Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Bryce Ferguson Smyth, the RIC Divisional Commissioner for South Munster. Smyth was associated with the incident in Listowel RIC Barracks known as the ‘Listowel Mutiny’. RIC County Inspector George Craig was also wounded in the attack, which took place in the club lounge.

On 9 October 1920, during the ‘Barrack Street Ambush’, an IRA unit from the 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade, (including Captain Tadhg O’Sullivan) ambushed a lorry carrying British soldiers near the junction of Cobh Street and Barrack Street. One soldier was killed in the ambush. Three other soldiers, one IRA Volunteer, and a number of civilians were also wounded.

The revolution trail also showcases the incident at Broad Street/ Broad Lane on 17 November 1920. In what became known as the ‘Broad Street Massacre’ on the night of 17 November, a number of RIC constables entered No. 2 Broad Street where they shot dead Patrick Hanley, a seventeen-year-old member of Na Fianna Éireann and wounded Stephen Coleman. The constables then forced their way into nearby 17 Broad Lane where they shot and wounded Charlie O’Brien, who was also a member of Fianna Éireann and IRA member Eugene O’Connell. The shootings were probably a reprisal for the IRA killing of RIC Sergeant James O’Donoghue at White Street earlier that evening.

The Burning of Cork on 11-12 December 1920 features. At around 9pm, two hours after the IRA ambushed a patrol of Auxiliaries at Dillon’s Cross, the largest the largest arson attack committed by the Crown forces during the War of Independence took place in the centre of Cork. Known as The Burning of Cork, it resulted in the destruction of the eastern side of St Patrick Street, the City Hall and the Carnegie Free Library. £2,000,000 worth of damage was done and around 2,000 people were made unemployed.

The trail also showcases the site of the shop belonging to Nora and Shelia Wallace. From 1919 to 1921 this shop served as a secret communications centre and headquarters for the IRA’s Cork No. 1 Brigade.  Sheila served as the Brigade Communications Officer, while Nora acted as a courier and intelligence agent. The sisters also organized Irish Citizen Army branches in the city.

At Parnell Bridge on 4 January 1921, during the Parnell Bridge Ambush, an IRA unit from the 2nd Battalion, Cork No 1 Brigade, led by Mick Murphy, ambushed a ten-man RIC patrol as it walked along Union Quay. All ten policemen were wounded in the ambush, two mortally, with a number of civilians also injured. Additional IRA units fired at police reinforcements coming from Elizabeth Fort on Barrack Street.

At 86 Douglas Street: Drapery shop owned by Mary Collins, President of the Saint Brigid’s Branch of Cumann na mBan. This premises was used to collect funds for numerous republican organisations and to store weapons for the IRA’s 2nd Battalion of the Cork No. 1 Brigade. From early 1921 it also functioned as a battalion headquarters.

At 92 Douglas Street there was drapery shop owned by Cuman na mBan member Mary Clifford, was used as an office by the intelligence officer of the IRA’s 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade. Republican couriers dropped and collected messages there, while Clifford hid sensitive records and fugitives there. 

See to read up on more of the sites across the impressive Cork City Revolution Trail.


1219a. The recent launching of the Cork City Revolution Trail with Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy and Gerry White, Historian.

Kieran’s Upcoming September Tours (end of season, all free, 2 hours, no booking required)

Saturday 16 September, Ballinlough – Antiquities, Knights, Quarries and Suburban Growth; meet at Ballintemple Graveyard, Temple Hill, 2.30pm.

Sunday 24 September (two tours), The Friar’s Walk; Discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort & Barrack Street area, in association with Autumnfest on Douglas Street; Meet at Red Abbey tower, off Douglas Street, 11am.

Sunday 24 September, Shandon Historical Walking Tour; in association with Cork Walking Festival, meet at North Main Street/ Adelaide Street Square, opp Cork Volunteer Centre, 5pm.

Lord Mayor’s Echo Column, 2 September 2023

The Salt of the Generations:

Padraig Pearse once wrote that: “There are in every generation those who shrink from the ultimate sacrifice, but there are in every generation those who make it with joy and laughter and these are the salt of the generations”. Cork is very lucky that the “salt of the generations” is encountered in ever aspect of community life. However in the past two weeks I especially felt it in two of our well-known sporting clubs in the city, which I had formal visits to. Both clubs show that the game itself has been important but sport has built communities of interested and engaged Corkonians.

In 1943, Na Piarsaigh was founded by a group of schoolboys from the North Monastery School. Europe was embroiled in the Second World War – across Europe there had been death and exhaustion – despite Ireland’s neutrality, rationing was common place across cities such as Cork. Materials were in short supply so the housing plans for sites such as Ballyphehane and Fair Hill were on hold. Buildings that had started construction remained unfinished such as St Augustine’s Church. The progress of the City remained in limbo.

However, that did not stop the ideals of several very young men, who deemed a new club was needed in the heart of Cork’s northside. With a great love for our national culture and games, they established a club, which also reflected on the legacy and memory of Pádraig Pearse. They asked their teacher Donnacha O’Murchú to be their first President.

Quickly the club grew in membership, but it was not easy as there were challenges around where did this new club fit in the Cork GAA ecosystem. Training was conducted across various fields and eventually Junior championship wins began to flow.

In 1951, the secretary Donncha O’Griofa noted of the growing membership– “encourage them to think they are the coming champions. The success of our club ultimately rests on the generation to follow”.

Eighty years later Na Piarsaigh can boast many wins, a club with many friends, a family atmosphere, and a club within the world of sport the City knows it can call upon when it needs to. Happy eightieth birthday Na Piarsaigh!

A North-South Cross Border Project:

Over in the southern suburbs of the city, Blackrock Hurling Club recently hosted young players from Na Magha, in Derry City. Blackrock Hurling Club’s website describes that it was officially founded in 1883, one year before the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association itself. It is therefore the oldest hurling club in Cork. Until 1888 the club was known as Cork Nationals, when it changed its name to National Hurling Club of Blackrock, and later in the same year to Blackrock National Hurling Club.

            Na Magha was founded in 1982 and is the only hurling & camogie club in the City of Derry. Based in Ballyarnett at Páirc Na Magha, they have great facilities to help promote the national sport of hurling to a high standard. They have both hurling and camogie teams from Under 6 right up to senior level.

Denis Doherty from Na Magha Derry spoke to me for my ongoing #VoicesofCork film project and related that his hurling club & how his club has been coming to Cork’s Blackrock Hurling Club for 40 years with some of Derry’s youngest hurlers. There are also reciprocal visits to Derry every year. This cross border activity of hurling began as a respite project away from the Northern Ireland Troubles. Over the many years, the project has offered a fantastic opportunity for the young players to visit each other’s cities and get to know each other’s communities more.

Meeting Notes from the Lord Mayor’s Desk:

August 26, I was delighted the launch of The Everyman’s Autumn season. it’s jam-packed with family favourites, comedy shows and captivating performances. Cork’s favourite traditional family Panto returns withBeauty and the Beast, directed by Catherine Mahon-Buckley. The co-production with CADA will run from Saturday 2 December to Sunday 14 January. In an undoubted season highlight, The Everyman will also co-produce The Women, We Will Rise with singer-songwriter Karan Casey, in association with Cork Folk Festival. It will place women centre stage with songs and stories about women from Ireland’s past, whilst singing into being a vision for the women of the future. See for more.

26 August, It was an interesting photocall to say the least on the steps of City Hall. But I was delighted to greet and sing with cyclists on the Irish Leg of the World Naked Bike Ride. Well done to all who took on the challenge. The event is part of a worldwide phenomenon where cyclists dabble in nudism in over 50 countries to send a strong message that we need to transition to renewable sources of energy and forms of transport.

August 26, It was a fantastic afternoon at the Ballinlough Summer Festival. Local volunteers hosted an incredible family fun event across the scenic Ballinlough Community Park.

August 26, I officially opened the North Main Street Carnival run by the Middle Parish Community Association. It was great to see the street pedestrianised for a day and the street filled by family filled activities.

August 21, I attended and spoke at the official Opening of the Roches Building at Mercy University Hospital (MUH). The 30-bed project, named after the late Sr Laurentia Roche, the last matron of the hospital, includes two ultra-modern operating theatres, of which one is a hybrid theatre, the third of its kind in the country. MUH said that robotic surgery will be introduced in the coming months, which will lead to reductions in surgical site infections, blood loss, and tissue damage during procedures, as well as shorter stays and fewer complications after operations.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 31 August 2023

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 31 August 2023

Recasting Cork: Results of the 1923 General Election

On 27 August 1923, at the conclusion of the polling for membership of Dáil Éireann in the Cork Borough (one of 30 constituencies) the ballot boxes from the different electoral areas were conveyed to the City Courthouse and launched in the Sub Sheriff’s Office.

Returning officer Mr Francis Hanrahan and his staff then checked the votes of the absent postal voters, numbering about 205 – the result of this meant their work extended into the small hours of the morning. This work was carefully performed in the presence of the authorised agents of the election candidates.

The following morning, on 28 August 1923, the boxes were brought to the Technical Institute by members of the counting staff. A total of 130 boxes were brought from one building to the other in lorries in which members of the stuff were accompanied by armed military. The first batch of boxes, twenty in number, were brought to the counting room and just after 11am the counting began. Mr Hanrahan with a legal assessor Mr William Mockler were in attendance as well as a number of Civic Guards and military were on duty inside and outside of the building.

The number of public in attendance at the start was small but grew as the day went on. The formal election of Cork City’s five elected candidates would not be made known for a considerable number of hours.

The candidates who sought election were: Alderman James J Walsh, Postmaster-General (Cumann na nGaedheal), Professor Alfred O’Rahilly, Alderman Richard H Beamish (Cork Progressive Association), Andrew O’Shaughnessy (Cork Progressive Association), Mary MacSwiney (Sinn Fein), Con Lucey (Sinn Féin), Alderman Frederick Murray (Sinn Féin), Timothy Corcoran (Farmer’s Association), Robert Day (Labour), R S Anthony (Labour), William Kenneally (Labour), Captain Jeremiah Collins (Independent), and Sir John Harley Scot (Independent). Those candidates included three outgoing members Alderman J J Walsh Robert Day and Mary MacSwiney.

The initial counting did not conclude until 7pm, and it was then learned that the total poll was 43,256 out of a register of 66,700. The required quote became 7,000 votes. At that point the election count was suspended till the following morning, 29 August. Overnight the checked ballot papers were lodged in a huge box, on which wax seals replaced and the lecture theatre was then closed and all its doors sealed. Outside the doors armed military replaced on duty and representatives of the candidates were permitted to remain within the precincts.

On the following day, 29 August, at 9am the wax seals were broken in the presence of the candidates and their representatives, and the counting was resumed. The only candidate to hit the quota was Alderman James J Walsh who had a surplus of over 10,000 votes above the quota itself. From the start of the count his heading of the poll was assured. Whereas J J Walsh knew his fate early, to reveal the other four successful candidates the count lasted all that day and night and ended at 7.30am on 30 August. Professor Alfred O’Rahilly, Alderman Richard Beamish, Mary MacSwiney and Mr Andrew O’Shaughnessy were then elected in this order.

Tensions remained high though between Sinn Féin and the local Civic Guard. Mary MacSwiney in a letter to the Cork Examiner on 30 August 1923 noted she was unhappy with the raids on Sinn Féin offices and arrests in the City; “Our agents have been arrested in Bantry, rooms rated come out and election literature seized in Clonakilty and a numerous raids and arrests have been affected in the city. Mr J Hennessy, who acted as scrutinising agent yesterday was looked for last night, and his house raided. He was fortunately not at home but as a consequence we are deprived of his services to today. Mr Sean Nolan, who is in a very serious state of health, was arrested at 5.30pm yesterday. He spent the night in the underground dungeons of the Courthouse… what is this brutality for? Just for acting as Sinn Féin director of elections”.

            On 30 August as well a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Cork Progressive Association was held evening in the Offices on the Grand Parade.

Returned TD Mr. James J Walsh for Cumann na nGaedheal was warmly received. He emphasised the fact that the verdict from Cork was an endorsement of the policy pursued by the Government during the past twelve months; “It is therefore an encouragement to them to pursue a strong, firm and just Government, discriminating impartially between all its law-abiding citizens; The combination of Cumann na nGaedheal and Progressives under one banner was a happy augury for the future progress of the city. It combined under one standard the different elements of the community, eliminating sectional entities, and, as the election showed, was endorsed by all classes in Cork”.

Alderman Beamish, who was also enthusiastically received, noted that the election result had clearly indicated one thing, that throughout the country in general, that Irish people were now determined to uphold law, order and progress and that the country was are on “the eve of a new direction of thought”, in which the consistent progress of all Ireland would be the first consideration amongst its members.

In the overall General Election result Cumann na nGaedheal took a majority of seats, which were taken in the Dáil and formed the 2nd Executive Council of the Irish Free State on 19 September 1923. William T Cosgrave again became the President of the Executive Council.


1217a. Front page of report on General Election 1923 (source: National Library, Dublin).

Lord Mayor’s Column, The Echo, 26 August 2023

The Revolutionary Trail:

Hot on the heels of a large interest in this year’s National Heritage Week comes Cork City Council’s Revolutionary trail. Recently launched it gathers information on 30 city centre sites associated with Irish War of Independence. The trail is an online story map and can be accessed on A City Remembers on It charts what happened on the streets of Cork a century ago during the revolutionary period. Journey back in time and learn about the historical significance of 30 local sites. The Cork City Revolution Trail was written by Gerry White and John Borgonovo and is designed by Serena O’Connor. 

At the launch of the online trail, Gerry White presented upon a number of sites. Standing on St Patrick’s Street Gerry spoke at length about the Burning of Cork on 11-12 December 1920. At around 9pm, two hours after the IRA ambushed a patrol of Auxiliaries at Dillon’s Cross, the largest the largest arson attack committed by the Crown forces during the War of Independence took place in the centre of Cork. Known as The Burning of Cork, it resulted in the destruction of the eastern side of St Patrick Street, the City Hall and the Carnegie Free Library. £2,000,000 worth of damage was done and around 2,000 people were made unemployed.

Gerry also showcased the site of the shop belonging to Nora and Shelia Wallace. From 1919 to 1921 this shop served as a secret communications centre and headquarters for the IRA’s Cork No. 1 Brigade.  Sheila served as the Brigade Communications Officer, while Nora acted as a courier and intelligence agent. The sisters also organized Irish Citizen Army branches in the city.

The Project Children Story:

In another time and space, history continued to be another core topic to explore recently. This time the space was Northern Ireland and the time was in the 1970s through to the 1990s.

Project Children, Cork City Council, and the New York County Cork Association and I, were delighted to host a special screening of the award-winning documentary, How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story, in honour of the Cork homecoming of Project Children founding member, Denis Mulcahy, a retired and highly decorated NYPD Bomb Squad Officer, and to mark the twenty fifth anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

            US based Project Children offered over 24,000 children from all communities in Northern Ireland a six-week summer reprieve in the US, away from the intrinsic, sectarian violence of “The Troubles”, Project Children provided a safe context for cross-community friendships to flourish and for the development of mutual understanding. Founded in 1975, the project represented a monumentally brave step towards healing and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and has been acknowledged as instrumental in helping world leaders forge the path to peace in Northern Ireland: Denis’ extraordinary story resonates to all that is good in this world.

Denis Mulcahy has received many accolades for his assiduous work promoting the cause of peace in Northern Ireland. He was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for the children of Northern Ireland and was runner up to the First President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa respectively.

 I was honoured to welcome Denis back to his native Cork for this very special homecoming. Denis’ work over many years constitutes a distinct Corkonian contribution to peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland.

 In addition to Denis, I was also delighted to celebrate the founder of the Hope Foundation, Maureen Forrest who has dedicated her life to supporting the children of Kolkata in the key areas of child protection; healthcare (including Hope Hospital); education, and vocational training.

Meeting Notes from the Lord Mayor’s Desk:

My social media at present is filled with short interviews with people I am meeting. It is a personal pet project I call #VoicesofCork. This week I connected with artist Chelsea Canavan who spoke about co-creating with the local community in designing a new flag for the Kinship Project in Tramore Valley Park & the call to the public to choose your favourite flag.

August 21, I was honoured to speak at the official opening of the Roches Building at Mercy University Hospital. The building is a 30 Bedded Modular Build with Operating Theatres, which includes the Da Vinci surgical robot in the theatres.

August 20, It was the final tour of my Heritage Week programme, which was held across Tramore Valley Park. I delivered seven tours and many thanks to the over 500 people who participated across the different tours.

August 19, I was delighted to attend Nostalgic About the Future Visions of European Identity in Poetry and Song – A Communicating Europe Initiative. It was a very enjoyable event where poets of Cork Migrant Centre came together with soprano Mary Hegarty to offer reflections on migration challenges & opportunities through poetry and song.

August 19, I had the opportunity to explore the world of Walking football at the Mardyke Arena, which is a very easy and enjoyable way for older adults to stay active, have fun and enjoy the game. Focused mainly on men and women aged over 50, participants walk rather than run, and the game is designed to help participants increase or maintain fitness and can add to a healthy lifestyle.

August 18, I had a courtesy visit to Cork Airport to receive a comprehensive business update, and to meet with members of airport staff and to take a tour of the airport.

August 18, It was great to chat with a number of young people in Blackrock. Serve in Solidarity have launched a mural depicting Sustainable Developments Goals Project. It was funded by the Irish Aid and implemented by Blackrock Youth Club and young people pursuing their Gold An Gaisce awards.

August 17, I attended the Jewish Community Torah event as part of Heritage Week. The Torah is a scroll containing the first five books of the bible. It is written in Biblical Hebrew by hand on parchment from a kosher animal using a quill. The process of writing a Torah takes about a year. A Torah is chanted from during many Jewish services and is central to many Jewish worship services and rituals. This Torah was donated to the Cork Jewish Community by Congregation Agudas Achim-Ezrath Israel.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article, 24 August 2023

1216a. Mary MacSwiney, c.1920 (picture: Cork City Library).
1216a. Mary MacSwiney, c.1920 (picture: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 24 August 2023

Recasting Cork: Sinn Féin Prepares for a General Election

In light of the impending General Election on 30 August 1923, the Sinn Féin election campaign was ramped up. On 24 August 1923 in the city, a public meeting was held on the Grand Parade. Speeches wero delivered by well-known supporters of the Republican movement. The Cork Examiner describes the event. The MacCurtain Pipers’ Band was in attendance. During the meeting bouquets were presented to two of the speakers. Miss Mary MacSwiney and Miss Mary Comerford. Mr Daniel Corkery occupied the chair.

Daniel Corkery, who first spoke in Irish, claimed that the election was an unfair one due to its summer date. He thanked those who were assisting their candidates in the election. He referred to the raiding of the Republican offices in Dublin, the arrest of their director of elections, and the treatment of the prisoners. He appealed to all present to keep together and to join Sinn Féin clubs.

Daniel claimed that the Labour movement had been weakened by its representatives remaining in the Dáil in the post Treaty era. He denoted that the only force in Ireland that had beaten the “capitalistic Press and Capital was the spirit of Irish Nationality”. He continued; “No one from a Republican platform wants to say anything that would injure the Labour Party or divide the ranks of Labour, but there was a terrible fight before the working man in the country”.

Mary MacSwiney, who spoke first in Irish and afterwards in English, received an ovation. She claimed that the Sinn Féin movement were asked to go into the British Empire with their heads up or their hands up with a leadership she could not trust; “We stand for a free and independent Ireland; we swore our oath to the Republic and mean to keep it. mean to make Ireland free and prosperous, and we would not be mislead into thinking that they could make Ireland prosperous by sending work out of Ireland, by sending goods made out of Ireland, and by giving unemployment doles to the people at home”.

Mary argued that the proper way to support Irish industries was by purchasing them and by protecting them and guarding them against all profiteering, and that was what Sinn Féin and the Republican Party promised them to do if they were returned at the General Election.

As regards the interned Republican prisoners in Irish gaols, Mary wanted to tell the assembled crowd that for two months the relatives of the men in Newbridge had no letters from them and had not been allowed send parcels to them. The reason was that the men tried to make a tunnel; “The men in the prisons of the Free State Government could hardly live on the food they were getting, and if they bad extra food and cigarettes they came from friends outside, who at enormous sacrifice were trying to send them a little help”.

There was one matter Mary wanted particularly to deal with. She drew attention to the fact that some of the Republican literature was printed in Manchester. She claimed that the reason they had had to get pamphlets and papers printed in Manchester was because twenty printing machines had been destroyed by the Irish Free State; “We have not been allowed to print even a little leaflet until recently, and since the election campaign began their papers had been seized and burned and their people threatened…we therefore ask them by their votes on Monday next to declare for free speech and for free press, and that we can no longer support people who have hounded the Republicans, who have burned our printing presses and destroyed our means of living, because that is not the will of the people, and the people will not stand for it”.

Mary wished to also say some words about majority rule. She maintained that she was a democrat but would not respect the Irish government giving allegiance to the King of England; “I stand for the upliftment of every man. woman and child in Ireland, for an equal chance for the poor and the rich, but if there was to be inequality that the advantage was to be given to the poor for a change… I stand for the right of every man to the inheritance of his country, that he must be a free citizen in every shape, free to educate his children as he likes, free to bring thorn not with the bare sustenance…I stand tor majority rule, but will never obey a government that gives allegiance to the King of England”.

Professor Stockley, Mr McArthur (Dublin), Mr Nolan, Mr K Walsh, and Máire Comerford also spoke, and appealed for united support for the Republican candidates. Wicklow-born Maire Comerford (1893-1982) was a leading national figure in Cumann nBan during the Irish War of Independence and her anti-Treaty stance led her to go on hunger strikes whilst imprisoned in gaol like Mary MacSwiney. In August 1923 she helped the Sinn Féin General Election campaign in Cork.

On 30 August 1923, Mary MacSwiney was elected for the Cork Borough in the general election. Her two running colleagues for Sinn Féin, Frederick Murray and Con Lucey, were unsuccessful in their quest for a seat.

Upcoming Historical Walking Tour (free, no booking required):

Sunday 27 August, Stories from Blackrock and Mahon, meet in the carpark below Blackrock Castle, 2pm.


1216a. Mary MacSwiney, c.1920 (picture: Cork City Library).