The past, present and future of community building is very regular theme in the Lord Mayor’s office. Two events recently reiterated the legacy of community life and the importance of grassroots activities in our city. I gave a civic reception to former Independent Councillor Con O’Leary and met with Cork City FC and Gerry McAnaney, the President of the FAI.
Honouring Con O’Leary:
Whilst Con, like myself, served as an Independent Councillor in Cork City Council, I didn’t share the Council Chamber with him but Con’s family, friends and my colleagues in the Council shared some snippets from Con’s life and contribution to the City with me. Con was born in the Community he has served for most of his life – Gurranabraher, going to Blarney St. Boy’s School. Con and wife Ann lived in Charlemont Terrace, Wellington Road as newlyweds. They moved to Mayfield for a short period before returning back to Con’s roots in Gurranabraher in 1973.
An opportunity arose to purchase ‘Molly’s Shop’ now known as ‘Con’s Shop’ and for over 50 years now Con has served the people of Gurranabraher from that shop. We all know the value of the corner shop. The service they provide goes way beyond a pint of milk, a loaf of bread or a lottery card. These shops are bedrocks of community life. Con, like many shopkeepers – not only kept the shop, but kept an eye on the street, provided shelter from the rain and an open ear when no one else was listening. He knew when people were struggling and pointed them in the direction of help.
It is borne out of the shop as a community service that Con got involved in a whole host of community initiatives – Churchfield/Gurranabraher youth club, St. Anthony’s over 60’s club, Churchfield/Gurranabraher Meals on Wheels, The Legion of Mary Gurranabraher, Ógra Corcaigh, and the North Infirmary Action Group
Perhaps it was that Community involvement then that led Con into local politics in 1991– not only serving as a Councillor but also as a Member of the Southern Health Board, and as a Director of EACD (European Cities against Drugs). A glance at newspapers from 1991-2004 shows important and a myriad of councillor campaigns by Con. It is an honour to celebrate a master crafts person of community, someone who forged carefully community life in our city over many decades.
Honouring Football Legacies:
Football in Cork became a major theme across one of my recent weeks. Cork City FC hosted a breakfast briefing at The Metropole Hotel, which I attended and I also hosted a reception to honour the work of the President of the FAI Gerry McAnaney, who has strong links to College Corinthians, amongst other.
Cork City FC like many of our sporting clubs matters in our city and region and add significantly to the essence of building community values in Cork and grassroots sports initiatives in Cork – the tangible and intangible benefits. This was also one of the themes of Gerry’s speech during his visit to City Hall.
In addition one does not have to look far to see how football clubs are rooted in the life of the city and how proud the city are of them, and how it represents the many legacies of football clubs going back over one hundred years.
Indeed, one just has to go to any match to see the sense of pride, ownership and love for Cork City FC amongst players, management and the supporters who chant, laugh, cry and shout more and then even chant, laugh, cry and shout more the local football team on. And that essence of pride is hard to physically replicate.
There are individuals who have spent decades every week supported the team and there are parents or guardians who proudly bring the next generation on in all kinds of weather, and they wouldn’t miss it for anything. There are incredible special moments of human connection are bound up with football and indeed all of the sports that operate in Cork. One cannot buy that energy or connection but it is so important to have in a city such as Cork whose heart when it comes to social and cultural capital beats very passionately.
Notes from the Lord Mayor’s Office:
September 30: I was delighted to launch the Celebrating Cork Past Exhibition.
September 30: It was great to attend and take part in the Lord Mayor’s Community Heritage Concert.
October 2: It was a great honour to receive Douglas born and reared woman Mary Scanlon, who is celebrating her 100th anniversary early next month.
October 2: I paid a visit to the Elephant Sculpture as part of the Cork Samaritans Elephant in the Room campaign.
October 2: I was delighted to launch the Dragon of Shandon, which is all set for 31 October to re-enter the streets of Cork.
October 4: I was delighted to pay a courtesy visit to Collins Barracks to learn about its history and its role in the future of the Cork region.
October 5: I attended the Cork City FC Breakfast morning whose focus was on sponsorship.
October 5: I attended and presented the centenary event for the Insurance Institute of Cork.
October 6: I hosted a reception with College Corinthians to mark the completion of Gerry McAnaney’s presidency of the FAI.
October 6: I hosted a number of visiting scholars who were presenting the Western Front conference in Cork on aspects of the First World War.
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.
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, www.corkheritage.ie.
Check out as well the upcoming Cork Culture Night on Friday 22 September 2023 at wwwculturenight.ie/location/cork-city.
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 www.corkcity.ie. 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.
Dear colleagues, [dear TDs, senators], dear Chief Executive, dear family, dear Lady Mayoress, dear Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends;
Cork 1863 – A letter is dispatched to the UK to a young architect letting him know he was successful with his design proposal for a new cathedral.
William Burges, the newly appointed architect of a new St Finbarr’s Cathedral, immediately and proudly remarked in his diary, “Got Cork” and with that embarked on a remarkable piece of building work, a voyage of discovery into the origins of Cork history. He created an iconic structure relevant for his time and forged a structure as it was seen at the time as [quote] “worthy of the name cathedral” [end quote].
And proudly I can write in my diary this evening also “Got Cork”.
Mar sin ar dtús báire, ba mhaith liom mo fíor buiochas do mo mholtóir Comhairleoir Des Cahill agus do mo thaiceoir, Comhairleoir Terry Shannon, an bheirt iar-Ard Mhearaí Chorcaí, agus a chomhghleacaithe daor as do mhuinín a chur ionam, agus as bronntanas dom an noiméad seo “Got Cork”.
Many thanks dear colleagues for your trust in me here this evening.
Such a term “Got Cork” has always stayed with me through many years since my first reading of them.
And this diary entry by William Burges leads to many questions on what it is to “Got Cork”.
William was tasked to be a guardian of a key part of the city’s heritage – to carry out a project, with multiple roles – some of which included remembering and representing a legacy, projecting and re-animating the origins story of the city’s patron Saint Finbarr.
He built upon past legacies of former churches, He assembled striking architectural designs in a historic medieval style. He managed a team, and most interestingly conducted archaeological excavations and move skeletons and burials because the new cathedral was twice the size of the church it was replacing.
Whereas this evening, you are not entrusting me to build a Cathedral or to move graves [I hope not, but I cannot confirm I have read all of the terms and conditions with the role!].
But we are, I feel, in our own political cathedral where “Got Cork” takes on new meanings– we are in a space of guardianship, representation and inheritance.
In our ancient ceremony of handing over the chain at our annual general meeting this evening from Cllr Forde to myself – that strong sense of guardianship is ever present. There is a guardianship over the chain as an object of high symbolism – firstly a gold medallion with the city’s coat of arms and its Latin inscription Statio Bene Fida Carinis or translated A Safe Harbour for Ships,
Secondly a portcullis showcasing the ancient water gate of the medieval walled town of Cork thirdly the SS chain links symbolising sacredness and guardianship, and lastly the medallion inscription where 1787 marks its creation.
There is the guardianship of how this chain links the past to our present, almost seamlessly – that one could argue that the chain links are not just physical links but if it could speak it has seen the highs and lows of Cork history from boom to bust and vice versa. The chain has been a witness to it all in its over 230-year history;
…to the creation of the term of Lord Mayor in 1901 with Daniel Hegarty to the tragedies of office holders such as Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney and then woven into a myriad of personal connections by those who have engaged with office holders.
…and then there is the guardianship on how its essence the chain projects the city into the future as debated during the recent boundary expansion scheme. That of all the elements of those contentious debates, which emerged a few short years ago was that the chain and its societal connection meant much to the people of Cork.
And indeed, when you mix the guardianship elements of the past, present and future, one gets a strong mix of high emotion and a deep attachment to the title of Lord Mayor of Cork.
A Personal Journey:
And for someone like me, it’s not lost on me what this chain means.
I was the child on the annual Lord Mayor school visits who felt a deep attachment to the essence of the chain and its connection to the sense of place and pride in Cork– something that made me feel proud, made me connect to my city, driven by proud parents and teachers of Cork. Thanks Mum and Dad, and to my sister Deirdre and my brother Aidan for everything.
I was someone who likened the Lord Mayor’s visit to a form of Christmas and that they had some sort of super powers and that the medallion of the chain was an actual key to a rich box of stories and papers of my city. I look forward to seeing it later.
I was the child who wanted to be Lord Mayor when I grew up
I was the teenager who pursued civic education projects of former Lord Mayors– someone who began to research and photograph the city – its buildings and public spaces – and someone who consumed history books written about the city.
I became a someone who has studied and written on the high and lows of Cork history across time encountering mayors and Lord Mayors like ghosts walking across my research of historic books and newspapers;
A someone who created walking tours, a someone who wrote books on this historic city, and ultimately an epic voyage that has led me straight into this hallowed political gladiatorial space to meet and work with you good people,
to work with different Lord Mayors of differing political hues and interests, to learn more about how this city ticks and develops,
to work in the European Committee of the Regions and now this journey has come to this enormous moment this evening.
So, what my 11 year old self engaged with 35 years ago has brought me on a voyage of epic personal proportions where “Got Cork” has a very high emotional value.
A House of Democracy:
But perhaps it is my journey since I joined the Council in 2009 that has been the most enriching.
I have had wow factor memories, deeply worrying memories and very proud memories.
I have been very fortunate to work with colleagues who care deeply about Cork’s communities – its essence and people, who represent its people and neighbourhoods, where every meeting is a chance to make a difference. In my time, some evenings we have won incredible things for this city and during other evenings, we remain pushing forward inch by inch, or stuck, or we have gone back to the drawing board, but we have always remained true to a forward-looking path.
Indeed, in the past four years of this Council as a significant house of democracy, we have achieved so much.
In this Council term alone, we have gone through many challenges – the expansion of the city’s boundaries, which feels like years and years ago, brought us many nights of debates.
In 2019 in a special booklet to mark the boundary expansion of the city the Council commissioned poet Theo Dorgan to reflect on the winds of change and the related challenges and visions. He wrote:
“Great changes are coming, the worst of the old ways are dust in the wind and the new energies are crackling with light and variousness of daring thought and music. Go on, said one of my brothers, give us a mad vision of Cork in the coming years. That’s Easy I said, it will be the Athens of a new republic, the dream city where a noble past will give birth to a glorious future. He looked at me and said, would you ever cop yourself on. Fair enough I said – getting a bit carried away…but all the same though. What if”.
Again, a sense of “Got Cork” but little did we know what was ahead of us.
We pushed forward through the significant challenges of Covid. We created an online digital platform to enable us to interact. We created a strong Climate Action team. We established a strong Women’s Caucus. We hosted a strong and rich commemoration programme. We passed an ambitious development plan. We found new ways forward to serve in more ambitious ways our respective local electoral areas or neighbourhoods, to placing a focus on our City of Welcomes paradigm, and much much more.
We kept the Council’s work on the road.
This has been due in no small part to your dedication dear colleagues and our strong Executive led by our CE Ann Doherty.
At this juncture I would like in particular like to thank our former Lord Mayors of this Council Cllr Dr John Sheehan, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Cllr Colm Kelleher and the outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Deirdre Forde for leading us through days ranging from “is this our life now sitting 2 metres away from people” to re-opening the city sprinkling it with hope, positivity and charm, to beginning our journey on the development plan, to championing the rebooting of business and community life” and much much more.
We kept this house of democracy going – the importance of guardianship, democracy and representation never wavered.
I am reminded of the words of Tomás MacCurtain in his Lord Mayoralty speech in late January 1920 where he noted:
[quote]: “I expect from the members of the new Corporation a sacrifice of time and a sacrifice, perhaps, of personal interest…that no self-interest would be put before the interest of the community at large”.
And in our time to each member of this chamber you have made sacrifices to your personal lives to make sure this chamber forges paths forwards through its multitude of its work programmes.
The Hope for Tomorrow:
And so now as we face into the last final 12 months of this Council, there is still much to do. There is much work to finish and much work to start.
And when I say all of that I am very conscious that our citizens and their voices and requests must continue to be listened to, new ideas forged and implemented, and need to be the bedrock of Cork’s DNA building into the future.
In our City, democracy matters. It is renewed every time we have a meeting. It will be renewed with the impending local elections next year.
Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney in his book Principles of Freedom spoke about people gifted with certain powers of soul and body. That it is of vital importance to the individual and the community that one be given a full opportunity to place a value on developing one’s talent, and [quote] “to fill one’s place in the world worthily” [end quote].
He also wrote about the citizen and a hope for tomorrow. As he noted:
“The citizen will fight for that ideal in obscurity, little heeded – in the open, misunderstood; in humble places, still undaunted; in high places, seizing every vantage point, never crushed, never silent, never despairing, cheering a few comrades with hope for tomorrow. And should these few sink in the struggle the greatness of the ideal is proven in the last hour”.
And in a similar vain Eamon de Valera opening this City Hall building and our chamber on 8 September 1936. Addressing the masses, he noted:
“I am sure the people will not shrink from the work that is necessary so that the efforts of the past are not to be in vain. The people of this city have clung tenaciously to their nationality with courage and hope even in the darkest hours. Surely that courage and that hope will not sway them now when the dawn is at hand”.
We will have myriads of meetings ahead of us in our final year where the “hope for tomorrow” can make sure our citizens are the front and centre of our priorities such as reducing homelessness, making sure our construction of our new social housing projects keeps on track, as well as keeping our affordable housing programmes on track, to making sure we are put on a firm footing to be Climate Neutral as part of the EU led Horizon Mission,
We need to keep adding to sustainable mobility plans; we need to keep enhancing the offering of the city centre; we need to make sure we keep creating new amenities, and we need to continue to make sure our communities are future proofed by weaving them with the sustainable development goals and the WHO Healthy Cities project. The list is a long one.
And then we need to sprinkle all those priorities with the energy and ambition that a second city brings or what I call Ireland’s southern capital and one gets an exciting future for our city by the Lee.
Cork City Council is on the frontline in building the future of communities in Cork. The Council is a story builder, a strategy builder, and a capacity builder.
In addition, one would be hard pressed to find a community within the city’s boundaries and in its outliers that doesn’t have a strong sense of place and identity – where building community capacity, family nest building, ambition and creating opportunities matter, and when compiled create a very strong Cork Inc.
Without doubt my Lord Mayoralty will champion these many priorities but in particular I would like to offer a voice to many of our citizens through my theme of Building our Communities Together and through a pet project I will be calling the Voices of Cork. My interests in heritage, history and education will be at the heart of this project.
So, at our Annual Meeting this evening, we continue to carry with hope, with confidence, with passion, with wit, with leadership, and all of that bound to the city’s hopes and dreams, which burn brightly for the future. This great city keeps moving and the tests of our time demand continuous action.
And so this evening I can proudly inscribe in my diary “Got Cork” with its multitude of meanings that we all continue to explore, engage and push forward with.
To conclude, I am also reminded of the words of two famous composers, Rogers and Hammerstein who once penned the most beautiful lyrics.
“Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I got a wonderful feeling, everything is going my way,
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy invites all Cork young people to participate in the thirteenth year of McCarthy’s Make a Model Boat Project. All interested participants must design and make a model boat at home and bring it to The Lough on the evening of Friday 19 May 2023.
The event is being run in association with Meitheal Mara and the Cork Harbour Festival Team for the Cork Harbour Festival itself. There are three categories, two for primary and one for secondary students. The theme is ‘Boats of the Past which is open to interpretation. The model must be creative though, made from recycled materials and must be able to float. There are prizes for best models and the event is free to enter. For further information and to register a boat, log onto http://www.corkharbourfestival.com
Cllr McCarthy, who is heading up the event, noted: “Over the 13 years of this annual projects, the Make a Model Boat Project has gone from strength to strength. The Cork Harbour festival team and I have seen really creative entries and of course it is great to be able to float boats on a fantastic amenity such as The Lough. I am encouraging creation, recycling, innovation and imagination amongst our young people, which are important traits for all of us to develop. The Make a Model Boat Project is part of a suite of community projects I have organised over the years– the others include the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project with Cork City Council, the Community local history walks, and local history publications”.
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy is encouraging community groups in the Douglas area and beyond to avail of Cork City Council is making €840,000 available to community organisations across the city to support them to take collective action on climate change.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “The Community Climate Action Fund, funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Community, is inviting groups via local authorities to design projects around one, or ideally more than one of the following themes – Home and energy, Travel, Food and waste, Shopping and recycling, Local environmental management and biodiversity”.
“Interested groups can contact the Council’s Climate Action Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org before they make an application so they can get further details and discuss their project ideas”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
Grants are available to non-profit community-based organisations who can contribute to climate action. Small grants of up to €20,000 are being made available, medium grants between €20,000 and €50,000, or larger grants between €50,000 and 100,000.
Applications for funding are welcomed via an online grant submission system. The application window closes on Friday 16 June at 5pm. Further information is available from www.corkcity.ie
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy is to restart his free historical walking tours during the month of April. Tours will be of the old Cork City workhouse site on Douglas Road in St Finbarr’s Hospital, the Shandon quarter, and the Barrack Street/ Friar’s Walk area respectively.
Cllr McCarthy noted; “This year my talks and walks reach their 30th year. There have been many walks given since my teen years. I have pursued more research than ever in recent years as more and more old newspapers and books are digitised these have allowed greater access to material and hence more material to create historical walking trails of some of Cork’s most historical suburbs”.
“I am also trying to sharpen the tours I have and to create new ones in a different suburb. The three areas I am re-starting with for the 2023 all have their own unique sense of place, their own cultural and built heritage, their own historic angles, some really interesting ‘set pieces’ and add their own stories to how the city as a whole came into being; they also connect to the upcoming 2023 Cork Lifelong Learning Festival”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
Full details of Kieran’s April tours are below:
Saturday 1 April 2023, Shandon Historical Walking Tour; explore Cork’s most historic quarter; meet at North Main Street/ Adelaide Street Square, opp Cork Volunteer Centre, 2pm, in association with the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival (free, duration: two hours, no booking required).
Sunday 2 April 2023, The Cork City Workhouse; learn about Cork City’s workhouse created for 2,000 impoverished people in 1841; meet just inside the gates of St Finbarr’s Hospital, Douglas Road, 2pm, in association with the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival (free, two hours, on site tour, no booking required)
Saturday 15 April 2023, The Friar’s Walk; Discover Red Abbey, Elizabeth Fort, Barrack Street, Callanan’s Tower & Greenmount area; Meet at Red Abbey tower, off Douglas Street, 2pm (free, duration: two hours, no booking required).
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for more consistent and meaningful communication between the NTA and Residents Groups. Proposals for 12 Sustainable Transport Corridors including Maryborough Hill to Douglas Road for BusConnects Cork were published in June 2022 as part of the first round of public consultation. The consultation closed in early October last year.
Following the first round of public consultation, the NTA has been reviewing the almost 3,000 submissions made by the public. The BusConnects Cork team has also met with 33 residents’ and business groups across the city since summer 2022 with meetings ongoing. The engagement process has resulted in a number of revisions and alternatives to the initial proposals and these will inform part of the next round of public consultation for people’s feedback.
However Cllr Kieran McCarthy has noted that some of the feedback has been haphazard; “I am hearing that some residents groups in the Douglas area have had multiple meetings and others have had none. The communication process must be consistent. We will entering phase 2 of the public consultation process in early April and it important that compromises and alternatives, where relevant are actually discussed and explored – otherwise the consultation element is just a tick the box action”.
“I remain deeply worried for the built and natural heritage of several areas of the NTA plans. The decision to omit the bridge proposal over the Mangala is welcome but the thought of kilometres of trees and garden space being ripped out along route ways such as Douglas Road, Boreenmanna Road and Well Road is very worryingly indeed. Hence why meaningful dialogue is very important between stakeholders”, concluded Cllr McCarthy.
This weekend the award ceremony of the Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project 2022/23 takes place at the Old Cork Waterworks Experience. A total of 30 schools in Cork City took part in the 2022/23 school year, which included schools in Ballinlough, Beaumont, Blackrock and Douglas and with a reach to Glanmire, Ballincollig, and inner city suburban schools as well. Circa 1,000 students participated in the process with approx 250 project books submitted on all aspects of Cork’s local history and it cultural and built heritage.
The Discover Cork Schools’ Heritage Project is in its 21st year and is a youth platform for students to do research and write it up in a project book on any topic of Cork history. The aim of the project is to allow students to explore, investigate and debate their local heritage in a constructive, active and fun way.
Co-ordinator and founder of the project, Cllr Kieran McCarthy noted that: “It’s been a great journey over twenty years of promoting and running this project. Over the years, I have received some great projects on Cork landmarks such as The Marina to Shandon to villages such as Douglas but also on an array of oral history projects – students working closely with parents, guardians and grandparents. I’ve even seen very original projects, such as this year I received a history trail on streets of Cork pavements. The standard of model-making and in recent years, short film making – to go with project books – have always been creative”.
The Project is funded by Cork City Council with further sponsorship offered by Learnit Lego Education, Old Cork Waterworks Experience and Cllr Kieran McCarthy. Full results for this year’s project are online on Cllr McCarthy’s heritage website,