Saturday 14 May 2022, The Northern Ridge – St Patrick’s Hill to MacCurtain Street; Historical walking tour with Kieran of the area around St Patrick’s Hill – Old Youghal Road to McCurtain Street; meet on the Green at Audley Place, top of St Patrick’s Hill, 2pm (free, duration: two hours, no booking required).
Sunday 22 May 2022, Views from a Park – Tramore Valley Park, historical walking tour with Kieran in association with the KinShip Project; discover the site’s local history and about the historical sites surrounding the Park; meet at Halfmoon Lane gate, 2pm (free, duration: 90 minutes no booking required).
Saturday 28 May 2022, The Friar’s Walk; historical walking tour with Kieran; 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).
The New European Bauhausinitiative, which connects the European Green Deal to our daily lives and living spaces, is as a key opportunity to harness the creative potential of regions and municipalities, provide jobs locally and create accepted and sustainable solutions, the European Committee of the Regions believes.
The opinion drafted by Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy (IE/EA) points out, however, that this requires strong local and regional engagement, which is why the European Commission must ensure that cities and regions are at the centre of the initiative and receive technical assistance and appropriate funding. In this regard, the Commission has confirmed it is developing a voucher scheme as proposed in McCarthy’s opinion.
“The principal concerns of this opinion revolve around issues such as: what is the role of local and regional authorities? What financial resources are being put to this movement or programme? What are the planned indicators?” rapporteur Kieran McCarthy pointed out when presenting his opinionat the CoR plenary session on 27 April.
“The current call for local and regional authorities to get involved is welcome but lacks ambition. Sufficient resources from state budgets and EU cohesion policy programmes need to be allocated at local and regional level for New European Bauhaus”, he insisted, underlining also the need for a New European Bauhaus regional scoreboard to ensure that the initiative is implemented at all levels and supported by regional investments.
The opinion proposes a NEB Lab voucher scheme to help cities and regions co-create, prototype and test the tools, solutions and policy actions that will facilitate transformation on the ground. Michaela Magas, member of the EC’s high-level roundtable on the new European Bauhaus, confirmed the European Commission would work together with the CoR on launching 100 vouchers for Bauhaus LABs across EU regions. “I’m grateful for the idea proposed by CoR to model it on the successful Wifi4EU initiative”, Ms Magas said.
The European Commission is also asked to establish better links between the New European Bauhaus and existing conceptual, culture-related, aesthetics-oriented and design-oriented frameworks. This would translate principles into action and enable the initiative to harness the creative, cultural and cultural heritage potential of local and regional authorities to renovate and revitalize neighbourhoods across the EU.
“I believe that the New European Bauhaus must become a real movement which involves local and regional authorities and is not just another top-down project. It must be a project for everyone, not just the few. To be successful, this exercise must be socially, culturally and territorially inclusive”, Mr McCarthy summed up.
Journeys to a Free State: The Potential of the Port
In the spring of 1922, the Cork Harbour Commissioners commissioned Mr George F Nicholson, chief engineer of the Port of Seattle, to come to Cork in order to research and write up a paper on the challenges in the development of the port of Cork in the short term. George gave a public lecture in Cobh on his work in March 1922. His work was also discussed at length in the meetings of the Cork Harbour Commissioners across the Spring of that year. He pitched a need to invest two million sterling (€145 million today) to modernise port facilities.
In the public lecture, George emphasised the fact that, he was an outside engineer and had no local connections. The Port Commissioners of Seattle granted George a leave of absence, without pay, for from four to six months. The Cork side were interested in the story of the Port of Seattle. The concept of that port had just come into existence on 5 September 1911, by a vote of the people of the Port District. It was created with a view to recovering public control over the waterfront of Seattle. Port construction commenced in 1913 with the establishment of a home port for the local fishermen. From the beginning, the importance of recognising the waterfront with railroads, warehouses, and industrial sites was crucial.
The Seattle terminal was finished in 1914 and became the Northern Pacific Fishing Fleet’s home of operations. By 1916 Seattle had six separate deep-draft terminals, comprising one for grain and one for refrigerated goods, and a storage facility that held nearly one million gallons of vegetable oil. Seattle swiftly became the leading port on the West Coast in terms of the dollar value of its imports and exports, and it reigned unchallenged in Washington for decades.
George was employed to see if any learnings could be brought from Seattle to Cork Harbour. He opened his talk in Cobh saying that his opinion was unbiased, and his recommendations were made from a purely engineering and traffic standpoint. At the outset, he thought that Cork Harbour should be made a national port, if not the national port of Ireland, by the new Provisional Government. Mr Nicholson stated that the Lower Harbour should be given preference in the future development work, especially developing the rail connections and deep water shipping.
George advocated very strongly in his lecture that the City of Cork and town of Cobh consolidate as one city under one corporate limit. This, he argued, was necessary for the “successful development of Cork Harbour as a whole”. Cork Harbour, he detailed, had a fine opportunity in its new development work, to install more efficient facilities than the surrounding European Ports. But harmonious co-operation between the two communities, acting as one city, with the Harbour Board was vitally essential.
George called for Cork and Cobh to learn from the serious mistakes made by other ports in this regard. He referenced the Atlantic Coast Ports of North America who profited by the mistakes made by the older European ports. In the previous fifteen years the Pacific Ports of North America had learned by the mistakes made by the Atlantic ports.
George pointed out that the upper river harbour in Cork city was not capable of accommodating the evolving size of ships that large steamship companies were standardising upon. There was also a great need at Cork for – (1) transit sheds, where goods could be stored in transit and protected from the weather; (2) shipside tracks, so that freight could be loaded direct between ship and railway wagons without man handling; and (3) mechanical freight handling equipment lor the economical handling of grain, coal, and all miscellaneous cargo.
George highlighted the importance of the entrance channel to the lower harbour was of first and prime importance. He noted that was no use in erecting modern facilities inside the harbour if steamers could not reach them in any kind of weather and at all stages of the tide.
George deemed that the deep water quay at Cobh was impossible for a number of reasons: (1) There was no room for future expansion, there were only 46 acres available, including a large portion of White Point, while at Cuskinny Bay there were several hundred acres. There were also issues in turning large vessels around rocks and at points in the main channel.
The place of Cuskinny Bay as a terminal site for the lower harbour was detailed in the lecture. George proposed that a modern terminal should erected there, and that any boat, large or small, could then berth there in the worst gale. He noted: “The Cuskinny pier would be the means of getting back the mail business going to Northern England and Scotland, as many hours would be saved. Also it would result, in the attracting of new commerce. When you have the passenger traffic, you will also obtain considerable freight traffic”.
George concluded by showing very interesting stereo views of the modern port of Seattle. It was clearly shown in these views the excellent terminals constructed in that port in the previous years at a cost of £3m; as well as the great assortment of mechanical freight handling equipment for which Seattle was noted. It had the reputation of owning and operating more labour-saving devices, in comparison with its number of terminal facilities, than any other port in the United States and Canada.
In the months that followed, George’s report was sidelined due to the Irish Civil War, but the creation of extra terminal space was kept on the Harbour Commissioner’s agenda but only became a physical reality in the mid to late twentieth century. One could argue that the Ringaskiddy port development in today’s context was inspired by a multitude of reports such as the Nichols report commissioned through the past century.
1148a. Postcard of Cork Harbour from Queenstown, now Cobh c.1910 from Cork Harbour Through Time by Kieran McCarthy & Dan Breen.
Journeys to a Free State: Disbanding the Royal Irish Constabulary
The establishment of the Irish Constabulary was begun by the Irish Constabulary (Ireland) Act 1836. Previous to this, the Irish police force at the time of the Act of Union of 1800 was still comprised only of small units of sub-constables. Originally, the prime role of the Royal Irish Constabulary was upholding the peace, which involved the suppression of armed rebellion, religious riots or agrarian disturbances. Their position was extended when it took on the functions of the Revenue Police, which involved “inquiries on behalf of departments of state, collected agricultural statistics, enforced the fishery laws and performed a variety of duties under the laws relating to food and drugs, weights and measures, explosives and petroleum”.
In 1867, the Irish Constabulary was renamed the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). After 1916 it faced the effect of the violence from the Irish War of Independence.
Following the formation of the Irish Free State in early 1922, on 31 March 1922, the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary began in southern Ireland. They were to be replaced by the creation of the Irish Free State’s Civic Guard. Approximately 7,000 RIC men, excluding officers, awaited disbandment in Ireland with many waiting to evacuate barracks in various parts of the country. Of these, between 4,000 and 5,000 were focussed in the Dublin and Kildare area.
Britain’s National Archives in Kew, London records that pensions were paid by the Paymaster General in London, and the service records of members of the force passed to the Home Office which were subsequently transferred to The National Archives. An annual sum of £1,500,000 was put aside for their pensions. This sum was guaranteed by the British parliament and, under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, all or part of it was to be provided by the Irish government.
In Cork, in early April 1922, there was ongoing fallout from the murder of a former member of the RIC who was shot dead on a crowded Cork City street on 25 March. Retired William Gloster, a former sergeant, returning to his home at Elizabeth Fort was passing through the southern end of South Main Street at 1.30 pm when a group of young men shot him at least six times.
On 12 April 1922, the handing over of the city’s RIC Barracks began. There was considerable activity in the vicinity of the Bridewell and Tuckey Street when both those barracks, as well as the annexe on the latter, on the Grand Parade, were handed over by the RIC to an officer of the IRA from Dublin. At 11am, District Inspector Riordan, Union Quay attended at the Bridewell, where he was met an IRA officer from Dublin, and some local IRA officers. There, with the assistance of Head Constable Nestor and Sergeant McCoy, the station sergeant, an inventory of the property being left was made. By 11am the RIC walked out, leaving an IRA guard in charge.
The party then proceeded to Tuckey Street, where District Inspector Riordan again handed over the barracks to the IRA officer. Then the annexe on the outer side of Tuckey Street, and overlooking the Grand Parade was visited, and a like process was gone through. Large crowds remained outside both barracks during the process of evacuation, but there were no disturbances. The police from both barracks then went to Union Quay.
The other three barracks were evacuated the following day on 13 April – the barracks an Empress Place on Summerhill North, Elizabeth Fort and Union Quay, with its annexe at Moore’s Hotel at Morrison’s Island. These were handed over to the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan.
Union Quay took more than two hours to complete the checking of the inventory before it was officially handed over by Captain Moran to the Lord Mayor. It was a large spacious building of modern brick, built and capable of affording accommodation to upwards of 150 men. Before they were completely departed at Union Quay. Constable Lowry, the men’s representative, approached the pressmen present, and said he had desired on behalf of the old city force to express their gratitude to the people of Cork. Some of them has been in the force for over 30 years.
From early morning, the RIC were busily engaged in removing luggage to the City’s Custom House Quay, where the steamer, SS Lady Wicklow, was berthed. The vessel was specially chartered for the conveyance of RIC members to Dublin. The steamer hosted 20 officers, 400 police, with all their luggage and equipment on board.
At the quayside, City Councillor and Home Rule supporter Sir John Scott was present and noted that he had been present when the barracks were handed over to the Lord Mayor for Cork Corporation. He noted that he had experienced a feeling of pleasure and also of regret – pleasure of meeting once more members of the RIC, and regret when he came to think that they were leaving the city. Continuing he paid a fine tribute to the officers and members of the force, and wished then “every good luck, long life and prosperity in the future”. At the close of Sir John Scott’s address, a policeman who said he was of the oldest members of the force, expressed thanks, and called for three cheers for Scott.
In mid-May 1922 disbandment commenced at Cork’s Victoria Barracks.
1147a. Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Donal Óg O’Callaghan receiving the keys of the Union Quay barracks, Cork, 13 April 1922 (W D Hogan Collection, National Library of Ireland).
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has called for more meaningful consultation with local people when it comes to the emerging BusConnects Project. This week more information was revealed that a proposal is being pitched to provide bus and cycle lanes in both directions on Douglas Road.
Initial proposals pitch that Douglas Road would be made one-way outbound only for general traffic. Inbound traffic would be required to use other routes. A new bridge is proposed to connect Grange Road to Carrigaline Road over the scenic Mangala Valley. Additional road widening is proposed required on Ballycurreen Road, Grange Road and Carrigaline Road.
These are parts of the twelve sustainable transport corridors proposed in different parts of the city, each designed with the aim of making the bus system operate more efficiently and to encourage more people to cycle by enhancing infrastructure. In places, it is proposed to acquire parts of the garden space of houses plus land in front of commercial properties, to allow the bus and cycle facilities to be provided.
Cllr McCarthy raised the lack of partnership with members of Cork City Council at this month’s meeting of the Council’s Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee. Cllr McCarthy noted: “I appreciate the ambition of BusConnects Cork but what is happening is that proposals are being pitched in a way, I feel, that are being set in stone before proper consultation. I am not happy at all with the partnership between the National Transport Authority and the elected member. There is a format of let’s just inform the local public reps of what we’re doing instead of partnering with them”.
“There was also a recent consultation with the general public on network routes and there has been no feedback to those myriad of concerns from the general public yet, which were brought to my colleagues and I. The communications and partnering up piece really needs to improve. Within the initial proposals, there are also nods to CPO-ing garden space and eliminating trees. Working with local people is really crucial; otherwise there is a real fear the Council chamber could dismiss proposals without effective discussion”, concluded Cllr McCarthy”.
BusConnects Cork entails a €600m investment and includes nine measures which will transform Cork’s bus system, making public transport more useful to more people. A number of the initiatives are already underway including the redesign of the Bus Network in the Cork metropolitan area, which had two rounds of public consultation during 2021. The feedback received by the NTA during these consultations will inform the basis for a Final Redesigned Bus Network.
Currently there are only 14km of bus lanes are currently being provided. The proposed sustainable transport corridors includes approximately 75km of new bus lanes, multiples of the existing provision, and aspiring to reduce journey times by bus by on average 15 minutes across the proposed 12 corridors.
19 April 2022, “Several of us, engineers, local councillors, local media, promoted the story of the bridge until we got funding for the repairs, and now someone with this huge international social media presence has recognised that. The fact that it’s had over one million views in just 24-hours is incredible, said Cllr McCarthy”, Cork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral as 1.2m watch video shot by YouTube star Tom Scott, Cork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral as 1.2m watch video shot by YouTube star Tom Scott (irishexaminer.com)
19 April 2022, “The video, entitled ‘The Bridge that must Legally Wobble’, features stunning drone footage of the beloved bridge in addition to comments from local historian and Independent Cork city councillor, Kieran McCarthy”, WATCH: Cork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral thanks to YouTuber, WATCH: Cork’s Shakey Bridge goes viral thanks to YouTuber (echolive.ie)
Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy has welcomed “Our City, Our Future”, third draft of Cork City Development Plan, which has gone out to public consultation It which provides an overarching framework to help shape the transformation of the City over the next six years by supporting the creation of 20,000 homes and 33,000 jobs.
Cllr McCarthy noted: “It provides an exciting and opportunities driven transformative blueprint for Cork as the city sets out upon an exciting phase of growth and change – with sustainability, quality of life, social inclusion, and climate resilience at the plan’s core. This is the first City Development Plan to include the new city areas such as Douglas, Donnybrook and Rochestown taken in under the 2019 city boundary extension. So there has been a chance to consolidate thinking on improving the quality of life not just in those areas but also in the inner suburbs of Ballinlough, Ballintemple, Blackrock, Mahon and South Docklands”.
At a meeting of Cork City Council on 15 March 2022, the Elected Members considered the Draft City Development Plan and the Chief Executive’s Report on submissions received. It was resolved at that meeting by the Elected Members of Cork City Council to amend the Draft Cork City Development Plan 2022-2028.
Cork City Council Chief Executive, Ann Doherty said: “This next phase of public consultation follows widespread listening and engagement with stakeholders in the first and second rounds of public consultation. I’d like to thank everyone who made a submission to date. We have engaged with a broad church of stakeholders reflecting the diversity of Cork City and the work of the Elected Members on the ground in our city’s communities and this engagement has been integral to the whole process.”
Cork City Council invites submissions on the Proposed Alterations to the Draft Development Plan. This is the third stage of formal public consultations. Submissions can be made online at https://consult.corkcity.ie/
By mid-April 1922, tensions between the pro and anti-Treaty sides intensified further. Words such as “civil war” began to creep into speeches of the anti-Treaty side. The first acts of disobedience of Irish Free State law also occurred. This was the beginning of the Irish Civil War. On 14 April 1922, about 200 anti-Treaty IRA militants, with Rory O’Connor as their spokesman, occupied the Four Courts in Dublin.
From 1919 to 1921, Dublin based Rory O’Connor was Director of Engineering of the IRA. On 26 March 1922, Rory was one of the anti-Treaty officers of the IRA that hosted a convention in Dublin, in which they rejected the Treaty and renounced the power of Dáil Éireann. However, they were willing to discuss an approach forward.
The convention met again on 9 April. This time they set up a new army constitution and put the army under a newly elected executive of sixteen, that would select an army council and headquarters staff. Rory was one of the sixteen and within five days of the new constitution, the Four Courts were seized. They also took other smaller buildings in Dublin deemed as being connected with the former British administration, such as the Ballast Office and the Freemason’s Hall. The main aim was to incite British troops, who had not departed the county yet, into confronting them. There was a hope that the war with Britain would restart and galvanise the pro and anti-treaty sides together with a common purpose.
As described by the Cork Examiner, small crowds of curious onlookers initially gathered over the weekend of 15 and 16 April in the neighbourhood and beguiled their time inspecting the sandbag defences and timber barricades in the windows and at the entrances of the Four Courts. In several of the windows overlooking the quays loopholes had been made by smashing the glass, and the apertures were partly filled by stacks of books. A stand-off began, which was not resolved until the shelling of the building by Irish Free State Troops began on 28 June. Two days later a large explosion destroyed the building, leading to the surrender of the garrison.
On Sunday 16 April, in a speech delivered by Cork TD Mary MacSwiney at the Mountain Chapel (Ballinhassig) she declared that the people of Ireland could not go into the British Empire and to do so would be a disgrace to every man who ever died for Ireland. The audience was composed of the congregation that attended the 10.30am Mass. Leaflets were distributed at the church gate, recalling the events of 1916, and declaring that “the Republic lived on and was in 1918 constitutionally established by the free vote of the Irish people, and was maintained by the IRA in spite of all the forces England could put in the field”. The pamphlet continued: “Easter Week is with us again. We now celebrate the sixth anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic, but to-day you are asked to disestablish the Republic; to take, an oath of allegiance to England’s King and to come into the British Empire”. Finally, the pamphlet asked: “Will you do it?” and concluded with the admonition: “Remember 1916”.
Miss MacSwiney, who had a cordial reception, said that in December 1921, two weeks before, the Treaty was signed, she spoke in the village of Ballinhassig. She noted then what she believed that not one single Irishman would accept compromise, and that Ireland’s honour was safe in the hands of the delegates who went to London. She then believed in them. She felt that they went to London to try to find a way to peace with honour, but not to give away the Republic of Ireland that the men of Easter Week died to establish. She deemed that those men gave away the Republic and that they had told the people that they got the last ounce that England would give, and that the alternative was “immediate and terrible war”. Mary advocated that Britain was fighting a war in Egypt and in India, and that they had no money to follow through on the war element.
Referencing Irish patriots of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Mary commented on what they stood for; “If we allow Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith and the rest of the men who were trying to turn down the Republic to establish a government in this country they would have to imprison, and perhaps to torture and to kill the men and women who stood where Tone and Mitchell and Davis and the men of 1916 stood, for these would not go into the British Empire with their heads or their hands up. They were going to remain citizens of the Irish Republic, and they would not allow that to be turned down except over their dead bodies”.
Mary wished to advise Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith to say to British Prime Minister Lloyd George: “We will not have civil war in our country. We believe that your Treaty is good, and we might have worked it, but it is not worth civil war, and we won’t risk that. That was what honourable men would say, for there could be no peace which included a Governor-General in this country and an oath of allegiance to an English king.
Mary appealed to the people to stand true to the Republic for which so many great men had died. They had only to stand true for a little while longer, and they would win. Concluding she noted: “As sure as England tried to impose on them a Governor-General or an oath of allegiance the Irish would stand against it. Where England had interests they would destroy them. They would fight her in England, fight her in Ireland, and fight her all the world over until she came to terms with the Irish Republic”.
1146a. Mary MacSwiney TD, 1921 (Source: Houses of the Oireachtas Archive).