“On the 9th May we will celebrate Europe day which is also the 70th anniversary of the Schuman declaration , which is the basis of the European Union we have today. When Ireland joined the European Communities in 1973, few people could foresee that it will evolve in the union we have today.
This sense of community needs to be the centrepiece of the conference on the future of the EU. The conference cannot be a top down exercise but a real participatory mechanism which embraces the needs of the citizens whether they are in Cork or Corsica; in Brussels or Białystok.
Local and regional authorities can build bridges between the EU institutions and the citizen and I hope the European Committee of the Regions can be pivotal in these discussions.
As vaccinations roll out we need to look towards the recovery in our communities and allowing people a step towards normal life. This is why we welcome the Digital Green Certificate as a step to allow European citizens to visit family and friends in different regions or allow business to recover, in particular in our tourism sector.
The Next Generation EU is now available for boosting our recovery, this needs to be made available to finance local projects. This is how we will ensure local sustainable and green jobs which will help the social and economic development of our cities, villages and local communities. The CoR is a willing partner to make this happen.
Finally, after a long way, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we need to #HoldFirm and #Staysafe,Kieran”
First World War the City of Cork Steam Packet Company lost six vessels, and the
company were determined to replace the losses with the construction of new vessels.
In particular, the new ships were designed to meet the requirements of the
cross-Channel trade, especially the cattle trade. One of the ships replaced was
the SS Ardmore, which was hit by a torpedo on 13 November 1917. It was replaced
by the SS Ardmore II, which looked very similar in design to the original.
On 28 April
1921 at noon, the SSArdmore II made her maiden visit to Cork with
flags flying and decorated with bunting. She was welcomed by the sirens of all
the vessels in the river. She was the largest of the fleet of the Steam Packet Company’s
cross-channel steamers and was built by the Ardrossan Dry Dock and
Shipbuilding Company, Ltd North
Ayrshire, Scotland. From
1919 for a time, Harland & Wolff Ltd managed the yard on behalf of the Royal Mail Group.
Ardmore II was launched in August 1921 in the presence ofdistinguished
company at Ardrossan Port. The Managing Director of the City
of Cork Steam Packet Company Sir Alfred Read, at the launching ceremony, was
very anxious not only to restore their pre-war position in that trade, but to
improve on it, and that they were “contracting for vessels that would give the
maximum of service”.
christening ceremony was performed by Lady Margaret Pirrie. At the event, she was
presented with a silver chalice as a souvenir that looked like the Ardagh
Chalice. Margaret Pirrie was
Belfast’s first woman justice of the peace and the first woman to
receive the freedom of that city. Pirrie was also involved in charity work,
working as president of the Royal Victoria Hospital. She also served on the
Senate of Queen’s University, Belfast, and as president of Harland &
Wolff’s, the Belfast shipbuilding firm of which her husband was chair.
Ardmore II was fitted to carry about 1000 mixed cattle. In addition, she could
carry 75 first-class passengers, and also accommodate for steerage passengers. The
ship was fitted with five steam cranes for handling cargo. The Cork Examiner
described the vessel and its sea route: “She is a beautiful vessel, and most
up-to-date in every way, and an idea of her well-appointed
accommodation may be gathered from the fact that she cost over a quarter of a
million…The Ardmore will ply between Cork and Liverpool, and on her first visit
to Cork to visited and inspected by a fairly largenumber of
people who greatly admired her beautiful proportions. She leaves or Liverpool
to-day at two o’clock”.
the unfortunate strike of joiners, which began in November 1920, the City of Cork
Steam Packet Company was forced tobring the steamer into commission
before her saloon and cabin accommodation were properly built.
The SS Ardmore
II was to be the first oil-burner to be used by a cross channel company between
England and Ireland with a speed of 14 knots. Previously the first steamshiptocross the Atlantic was in 1838 when Cork’s SS Sirius
established the record.
insulation was by the J D Insulating and Refrigerating Company, Ltd, Liverpool,
and the cooling system was by the Thermotank Company, Glasgow. The ventilation was
through the use of tempering batteries by James Keith Blackman Company, Ltd.
and the ventilation arrangement in the cattle spaces was created by the same
Fast forward to 11 November
1940, the SS Ardmore II had on board 500 cattle, about the same number of pigs
(which were deck cargo), and a quantity of agricultural produce. The actual
crew of the vessel numbered 20 and with them were five cattle or bullockmen. Still
owned by the City of Cork Steam Packet Company she was commanded by Captain
Thomas Ford of Liverpool. Thomas had been with the City of Cork Steam Packet Company
for sixteen years. He was well known in Cork, Dublin, Liverpool, Fishguard and
other ports through his lifetime at sea.
On 11 November 1940, the SS Ardmore II departed Cork for
Fishguard with a cargo of livestock. Hours later she was reported missing with
her crew. An uneasy vigil was maintained. Air and sea searches proved futile.
On 26 November one of her lifeboats, unfilled, was washed ashore on the Welsh
coast. The body of Captain Ford was discovered near Aberystwyth on 3 December.
Ten days later that of Seaman Frank O’Shea was retrieved from another Welsh
beach. His remains were returned to Cork for burial.
What caused the loss of the
ship was not verified for nearly sixty years. In February 1998, the wreck of the
SS Ardmore II was found by divers three miles south of the Saltee Islands, off
the Wexford coast, in 183 feet of water. The hull showed signs of a large
explosion from a mine near the engine room. In the Second World War section of
the Soldiers and Chiefs exhibition in Collins Barrack Museum, Dublin there is a
model of the SS Ardmore II and a plaque on Cork’s Penrose Quay also
remembers the 1940 tragedy.
1097a. SS Ardmore II, c.1930 (source: Cork City
1097b. Plaque commemorating the sinking of SS
Ardmore II, Penrose Quay, Cork (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
Douglas Road and Independent Cllr
Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the eleventh
year of McCarthy’s Make a
Model Boat Project. This year because of COVID all interested participants
once again make a model boat at home from recycled materials and submit a
picture or a video of it to the competition organisers. All models should be photographed or
videoed and emailed to email@example.com by 23 May 2021.
The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival Team. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘At Home by the Lee’, which is open to interpretation. The model must be creative though and must be able to float. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. For further information, please see the community events section at www.kieranmccarthy.ie
McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted “I am encouraging creation,
innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits
for all of us to develop. I am going to miss this year seeing the models float
at The Lough. The Make a Model Boat Project is part of a suite of community
projects I have organised and personally invested in over the years– the others
include the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project with Cork City Council,
the Community local history walks, local history publications, McCarthy’s
Community Talent Competition and Cork City Musical Society.
Journeys to a Truce: The
Ambush of Tadhg O’Sullivan
Targeted round ups of IRA members by the RIC and Black and Tans continued right throughout April 1921. Company Captain within the 2nd Battalion, Cork City No.1 Brigade and Kerry native, Tadhg O’Sullivan was shot on the evening of 19 April 1921. Originally Tadhg was reared on a farm north of the village of Barraduff, County Kerry and was passionate in the study of Irish being inspired by his national school teacher. In his teens, he set off for Cork City, where he was employed on the clerical staff of Messrs Dowdall O’Mahony, butter merchants. Later he transferred to Fords.
joined the IRB and enrolled as a Volunteer. He took an interest in the
organisation of the Fianna – the youth section of the Volunteer movement. He
was active in organising recruitment meetings throughout the county.
eventually rose to becoming Captain of C Company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1
Brigade. He was constantly on duty and participated in many major operations in
the City. He was one of the two Kerry men on the inquest jury of the murdered
Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain. Florence O’Donoghue was the other
Kerryman. In the summer of 1920, Tadhg participated in the attack on Farran RIC
Barracks and also in the Barrack Street ambush on 9 October 1920. He was again
to the fore in the Parnell Bridge ambush, which took place on 5 January 1921. He was also one of the Belfast
hungers strikers in 1920. Tadhg was also one of those taken in the big round-up
at Cork Union hospital. However, he was released on that occasion.
Michael Murphy, Commandant, 2nd
Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade in his witness statement to the Bureau of Military
History (WS 1547), describes of Tadhg’s death on 19 April 1921:
“One of my best company captains named Tadhg Sullivan was
held up in Douglas Street by two British intelligence officers in mufti. He
made a dash to escape and got into a house No. 80 Douglas St. He ran upstairs
and got out on the roof through a landing window, closely followed by the two
British officers. Sullivan got on to the roof of the adjoining house when the
officers appeared at the landing window and shot him dead. He was unarmed”.
The Cork Examiner on 20 April 1921 describes that the tragic
occurrence took place in the course of a general roundup in the south and
south-west side of the city, which began about 7pm. Numerous parties of police
from Union quay and Tuckey street stations visited the district, which they
practically enveloped up to Friar’s Walk and Barrack Street.
At 7.30pm pedestrians coming from every point converging on the
district were held up, questioned and searched, and about fifteen
persons were temporarily detained, one man, Liam Barry, residing in White
street, was arrested.
The extensively drawn cordon gradually closed in towards Douglas Streetvicinity. There was quite a large number of passersby, and amongst them, was
Tadhg. He was observed by a party of about eight or nine police. They called on
him to halt, but instead he started to run away, whereupon the police pursued.
As he ran a short distance along the street Tadhg seems to have escaped
the bullets of his pursuers, and then he was seen to suddenly dash into a
house. The police by this time were reinforced by a second party of constables,
coming from an opposite direction. Tadhg was followed into the house – the hall
and stairway of which bore the marks of considerable firing. Cornered as he
was, Tadhg made a desperate effort to escape, and rushing into a back room,
endeavoured to get away through a back window.
Tadhg was in the act of
descending into the yard below, which offered an avenue of escape, when he was
overtaken by his pursuers and shot dead. His dead body with several bullet
wounds was subsequently found in the yard below. Fr
McSweeney, CC, St Finbarr’s South, and Fr Father Nunan, CC, were immediately
summoned, but on their arrival Tadhg had already passed away.
Tadhg’s remains were then conveyed
to Union Quay Barracks, and afterwards transferred in a
military lorry to the Victoria Barracks, where the circumstances of his death were
to be the subject of an inquiry.
On the afternoon of 22
April 1921, Tadhg’s funeral took place from the South Chapel to St Finbarr’s
Cemetery where they were interred in the Republican plot. The cortege was
limited in extent by order of the military and armed soldiers walking on foot
at both sides of the hearse, in three lorries, and accompanied by anarmoured
car. The order was served on the Administrator of the parish about one hour
before the funeral was timed to start was obeyed. Despite the warnings, the
streets from the church – over Parliament Bridge, along the South Mall, Grand
Parade and Washington Street – were lined with people. The coffin was draped in
the tricolour flag.
Have a story of relative
to tell involved with the War of Independence in Cork, get in touch with Kieran
1096a. Portrait of Tadhg O’Sullivan, c.1921 (source: Cork
1096b. House of Tadhg
O’Sullivan’s death, second from the right with plaque above front door
(picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1096c. Gravestone of Tadhg
O’Sullivan, St Finbarr’s Cemetery, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
Debate on “The New European Bauhaus and its territorial dimension” high-level event with Ms Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth and Ms Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms. 14 April 2021
Patrick Murray was Officer in Command of C-Company of the
1st Battalion, Cork No.1 IRA Brigade. In his witness statement for the Bureau
of Military History (WS1584), he describes the Spring activity of an active IRA
service unit in the city centre.
Patrick outlines that when the active service unit began,
it comprised six members from each of the two battalions in the city. The men
on the unit were: Danny Healy, Stephen McSwiney, Jim Barrett, Liam O’Callaghan,
Seán Twomey and Patrick Murray from the 1st Battalion; and Florrie
O’Donoghue, Jim Counihan, Ned Fitzgibbon, George Burke, Jim Fitzgerald, Peter
Donovan and one other from the 2nd Battalion. Seán Twomey was put in
There was a special space/ office in the city dealing
with the unit’s intelligence and communications. This office was under the
control of George Buckley. Only two or three selected couriers were allowed to
know where the office was, for fear of anyone being followed into it.
Of the first few weeks that the active service unit was
in existence, Patrick notes: “We were actively engaged watching the movements
of military and police. The members of the active service unit took turns in
taking up positions along routes which were supposed to be taken by the police
and military, but as they did not take any particular route with any
regularity, it was often found that they would leave a street just when the
military or police came into it”.
The unit’s first ambush occurred on 12 April 1921, just
after 10am, when bombs were thrown into a lorry in Washington Street at the
junction with Little Anne Street. The bombs failed to explode, and the military
returned the fire wounding some civilians. The failure of bombs to explode
became a serious problem in the city, as it was realised that, if a bomb did
not go off, civilians and the Volunteers themselves would suffer heavy
casualties through the retaliation of gunfire. Special men connected with the
unit were allocated to the work of inspecting all bombs which were to be used
in the city.
Michael O’Donoghue, engineer officer with the 2nd
Battalion in his witness statement (WS1741) notes that he was present at the Washington
Street ambush describes in his witness statement: “My three companions and
myself were armed with revolvers. Our instructions were simple – to cover the
retreat of a bombing party who were waiting to attack a military patrolling
tender, which passed that way fairly regularly in the morning”.
After the ambush, Michael recalls looking east towards
Broad Lane church or the then St Francis Church. “I saw one of our bombers
limping along slowly and heavily holding his right side and half supported,
half dragged along by a companion. Then, as if from nowhere, a side-car
appeared and from it jumped down another of the attacking party. The wounded
man is then helped up to a seat on the car, his companion sitting beside him
and holding him. The jarvey sat on the opposite side with the other Volunteer
behind him. The driver whips up his horse and off they trot in the direction of
the Mercy Hospital”.
An official and stark proclamation was published in the Cork
Examiner announcing that the competent military authority (Major General
Strickland) had ordered the destruction of two large resident business premises
near the Courthouse because they had been places where as the announcement
noted “rebels and other evilly-disposed persons had consorted to levy war
against His Majesty, King George V”.
Michael describes that one of the premises was Macari’s Café, a great resort of College students, where ice cream, minerals, fish and chips, peas and various other choice delicacies in fruit, fish and flesh. Macari himself, his wife and teen-age family were Italians who had settled in Cork pre 1914. It was a popular place for Cork youths especially students of all types, and IRA men were in and out casually every day and at, all times. The British wanted to punish Macari for not reporting to them the “comings and goings” of his clientele.
The other house officially condemned to destruction was Murphy’s public house and provision store round the corner of Messrs Dwyer’s stores near Clarke’s Bridge. The Murphys were a prominent Republican family from the Kinsale area of West Cork.
Michael outlines that the British military cordoned off
Washington Street between the Courthouse and Wood Street. Macari’s and Murphy’s
were entered by armed soldiers who ordered the occupants outside. Macari’s was
blown up first. A demolition squad in khaki entered and set some explosives
apparently on top floor. They withdrew to the street where they took cover at a
safe distance. There then was a series of explosions and the roof was blown
out, sending showers of slates and pieces of wood and masonry flying into the
air. When the shower of smoke and dust had subsided the demolition squad again
entered this time to complete the job by laying explosive charges on the ground
Michael continues his detail: “Out again with them and back
to the safety of the cordon. This time three or four tremendous explosions
rocked the interior, completely wrecking everything within. Then the military
repeated this programme of destruction in like mariner at Murphy’s. Not a
solitary item of furniture or goods were permitted to be taken from either
house and both buildings were utterly and completely wrecked in this brutal
a story of relative to tell involved with the War of Independence in Cork, get in
touch with Kieran at firstname.lastname@example.org
Present day site of Washington Street ambush (12 April 1921) at the
intersection with Little Anne Street, (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
1095a. Present day site of Washington Street ambush (12 April 1921) at the intersection with Little Anne Street, (picture: Kieran McCarthy).
At Ballycannon, Kerrypike lies a memorial (erected
in 1945) to the memory of six young IRA men that were killed near the spot on
23 March 1921. Farmer
Cornelius O’Keeffe was witness to the killing of the six men. His detailed affidavit
appears in the appendix of the witness statement in the Bureau of Military History
of Daniel Healy, C Company, 1st Battalion, Cork IRA Brigade No.1.
Aged 21, Cornelius
O’Keeffe had a farm of 105 acres, which was situated on the northern side or
the high road leading from Cork to Blarney and was approached by a laneway
leading from main road. The farmhouse consisted of a kitchen, parlour and four
bedrooms. There were also extensive out-offices, barns, and sheds for cattle,
also stables. It was one of the safe houses for the IRA.
In his affidavit,
Cornelius remembers that on the night of Tuesday, 22 March 1921 about 11.30pm
on that night there was a knock at his door after they had all gone to bed. He asked,
“Who is there?” and a voice replied, “There are a couple or us [volunteers]
going to sleep down in the stables; give us a call at seven in the
morning”. He said “alright” and went to sleep.
About 4am, there
was a thundering knock at his door. He leapt out of bed and looked out through
the window. He saw the police outside. Before he could say anything, they
roared at him to open the door. Cornelius relates:
“Just as I rushed
downstairs to open the door it was burst open by the police and they said to me
“Why the bloody hell didn’t you open the door”? I explained that the
delay was due to the lamp not 1ighting. They then asked me if I had any man in
the house. I said there was no win there only myself. They asked me if there
were any men in the out-house. I said, ‘I can’t tell but the doors are unlocked’.
They ordered me back to bed and searched the buds and the other rooms in the
house. They then went outside, and I heard then search the out-houses”.
looking out the window and suddenly saw all the police rush up to where the
lads or volunteers were sleeping. He went to bed and ten minutes later the
police came in and took him out into the yard. There they charged him with
harbouring rebels, which he denied. They then took him about 100 yards away
from the out-house and gave him in charge to a sergeant and constable of the
Royal Irish Constabulary.
One of the Black
and Tans present came up to where he was standing with the other policemen and
told them that they could find no arms in the house. He was then asked him to
tell them where the arms were, and he said he did not know. As they were
speaking to him Cornelius heard one of the boys roaring as if he was being
“I then saw one of
the boys being pushed across the field. It was still somewhat dark, and he was
too far away to distinguish who it was. The Black and Tan then returned and
said, ‘he is showing where the arms are’. They then carried the same boy over
to the ditch and brought him back to the stables again. A few minutes after I
heard a shot. Then at intervals there were two or three shots and then a volley
the policeman what the shooting was about, and he replied they were only blank
cartridges. A report then came up from the other body of police that some of
the lads had escaped and to watch out for them. The police with him then
prepared to shoot in case anyone would attempt to escape. There were then
volleys fired where the boys were.
Cornelius then knelt
and said his prayers as he thought his turn would be next. The police near him
began shouting to the others not to shoot in their direction for fear they
would be shot themselves. Cornelius was sent up for then and taken down to
where the boys were. There two lines of Black and Tans in front of the stables
so that he could not see who was there. As he was being taken down the field
where the shooting took place, he saw two of the boys stretched out, on the
grass. He was then taken over the road and down to Kennedy’s public-house at
the nearby crossroads.
“There were five
police with me – three old RIC and two Black and Tans. After some conversation,
in which they accused me of keeping arms on my premises which I denied, I was
brought back to Flaherty’s gate and I then saw five bodies being removed from
my farm. They were all covered up in blankets. These bodies were placed in a
lorry. They then brought out the sixth of the boys who was then alive and as
they were throwing him into the lorry he said “Oh, my leg”. There was
a bandage around his forehead”. [The sixth volunteer was subsequently killed].
Cornelius was put
into the third lorry. They drove him in by Healy’s Bridge and the Lee Road as
far as Gale’s quarry. When they got there the first lorry in which the bodies
were want on and I did not see it again. He was taken up to the Military Barracks
where he was kept in the Detention Barracks until 17 April 1921, and then he
was released without any charge being brought against him.
The six men killed were Daniel
Crowley of Blarney Street (aged 22), William Deasy of Mount Desert, Blarney
Road (aged 20 years), Thomas Dennehy of Blarney Street (aged 21 years), Daniel
Murphy of Orrey Hill (aged 24 years), Jeremiah O’Mullane of Blarney Street
(aged 23), and Michael O’Sullivan of Blarney Street (aged 20 years).
This week the local community group of Clogheen/ Kerry Pike
Community Association will place a wreath at the monument in Kerry Pike. They
have also ordered six benches, which will have plaques dedicated to the six
young men who were murdered at the location.
My thanks to Jim O’Mahony of the Community
Association for his help and insights.
1092a. Pat O’Regan, Vice Chair of Clogheen/ Kerry
Pike Community Association, with the Ballycannon Monument, March 2021 (picture: