Monthly Archives: October 2023

Kieran’s Lord Mayor’s Column, The Echo, 28 October 2023

Growing with Nature Grows:

The past few weeks I have made a number of visits to community gardens across the city – Hydro Farm near Tower, to The Glen, to Mahon and most recently to the International Garden at Ardfoyle in Ballintemple. The community garden concept is growing and the city can now boast over 26 sites.

Indeed, the concept of allotments and community gardens is not a new concept. One just has to look at late nineteenth century and twentieth century Ordnance Survey Maps of the city’s suburbs to see how plentiful in particular market gardens were at points in time. At one point 75 % of townlands such as Kilreendowney extending to the Lough was a market garden space. The community garden concept is embedded in the city’s cultural heritage.

On Saturday 14 October 2023, I officially launched the inaugural National Allotments and Community Gardens Week at The Glen Community Garden. Community Gardens Ireland, a volunteer national organisation who support community growers across the country, are the organisers behind Irelands first ever National Allotments and Community Gardens Week.

Over 40 community growers from all over Ireland attended the launch and the theme for the 2023 Week was “Growing with Nature”. The week-long national event took place to raise awareness of allotments and community gardens, to highlight how important they are and to detail the huge benefits of community gardening for communities, individuals, and the environment.

Spaces of Sanctuary:

It is also important to note that national allotments and community gardens are spaces of sanctuaries for both mental health and biodiversity. It is important that Cork remains at the forefront of this community movement. Indeed, there is an onus on all local authorities all over Ireland to provide more of these essential community spaces.

Their multiplication is important to meeting the needs of Climate Action by partnering together in a collegiate manner with grassroots resident’s groups and a myriad of volunteers. There is also a strong lifelong learning vibe with the allotments and community gardens movement especially around areas of growing organic food and developing community food projects and policies”.

For my social media and my Voices of Cork series I interviewed Ellie Donovan, a Community Gardening Tutor with Cork ETB and Secretary of Community Gardens Ireland who highlighted that the Glen Community Garden has been at the heart of the community since 2009, so she detailed “it was fantastic that community gardeners from all over Ireland had the opportunity to experience their warm welcome”.

Dónal McCormack, Chairperson of Community Gardens Ireland (CCI) noted to me that “community gardens and allotments provide an easy way for communities to carry out local climate and biodiversity friendly actions and that such spaces also clearly help contribute towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals”.

The website of CCI also provides information a map of where all of the allotments and gardens in Ireland currently exist as well as information on partnerships, resources, health benefits and selling of produce.

Green Spaces for Health:

Meanwhile in Cork the Green Spaces for Health is a city-wide, community led initiative. Under the direction of Maria Young and the enthusiasm of so many neighbourhood groups, they are an Eco social group; one of the most important aspects of our work is fostering a reverence for nature. Their website highlights that the community garden element is also about reconnecting with the natural world and reconnect with something deep within ourselves; “This reconnection has profound benefits for our physical and mental health. We further recognise the transformative power of coming together with others to build a resilient, inclusive community”.

Green Spaces for Health maintain existing green spaces and seek out new greening opportunities. There are multiple and very valuable aims, which include the importance of seeing green spaces as having many benefits; “They aim to develop an understanding of greening to encompass deep ecology, protecting biodiversity, creating new habitats, supporting green energy initiatives in our homes and businesses, recycling and up-cycling, harnessing permaculture principals, encouraging city dwellers to become citizen scientists”.

The International Garden:

In the past week as well I had the privilege to visit the new geodome as part of the International Garden in Ardfoyle in Ballintemple. Launched in 2022, the garden has been described as a ground-breaking project is enabling families in direct provision to grow food from their native countries in a green space shared with the whole community. It was initially designed to create a safe space for migrants including newly arrived Ukrainian families in Cork. 

The Nano Nagle Place initiative was created in conjunction with Cork Migrant Centre and allows families to grow food from their native countries while making friendships in the community. What started off as a pilot project with just seven migrant families will now be rolled out across a number of other locations close to direct provision centres. People of all ages are invited to participate in the horticultural activities.

Participants involved in the project have emphasised that the sharp focus on promoting learning among children that aligns with their family’s traditional culture and values. The garden has seen families enjoy up to three harvesting sessions of various food products. Participants involved in the project also develop expertise on growing, cooking and their cultural identities.

During the launch, I interviewed Naomi Mascheti of the Cork Migrant Centre for my social media platforms. Naomi said the international garden was of vital importance, as it encouraged families to get out and about;“Normally we work with families who are living in the direct provision centres, and getting them out here gets them out for a walk, and they can get good food in solidarity with the local communities and they can make social connections”.

The geodome itself was a donation and was moved from its original location in Mahon to its new home after a great deal of work by volunteers. Made from recycled materials, it is being offered as a space to grow tropical plants and vegetables that would not survive or thrive in the Irish climate.

The garden has also been described as a place where migrant women can network with collaborators, volunteers, and the local community and bring a taste of home to their tables, bridging the gap between their home and adopted countries.

The International Garden Project has been created in collaboration with SHEP, the SMA, Horticulture LTI, Green Spaces for Health, community gardaí, Cork City Council social inclusion office, Johnson Controls, Apple, Dell, and the resident sisters at Ardfoyle Convent where the garden is located.

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 26 October 2023

1225a. Gortroe memorial with local Fred Wilson, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 26 October 2023

Extracts:  The A-Z of Curious County Cork

My new book, The A-Z of Curious County Cork is available in any good bookshop. Published by History Press UK (2023) the book has been born out of my own personal curiosity for many years now to venture off the main roads of County Cork to explore the curiosities of cultural heritage in County Cork. This week’s column shares more extracts from the new book.

GAME: Scoubeen was an early form of modern hurling, which was practised in early historic Ireland. Over the succeeding centuries, different kinds of sticks were used to drive roughly made spheres over the most basic of roads or across grassland. The rules were simple. The quasi-ball had to be played to a predetermined spot in a parish. There were no limits to how many players played in a scoubeen match. Due to no stewards or officials overseeing the game, any arguments were settled by physical fights. Of course, first aid was in very short supply.

Scoubeen sticks were usually home-made, were of all outlines and sizes – and not everyone played with one. The home-made ball could be made of anything from wool woven around a centre of a cork to matted cow hair, to something similar to the present-day sliothar. One could carry the ball in one’s pocket, but such a play by a player would end up with his clothing being torn to bits. Having a team with fast runners was of great benefi t as getting the ball to them and enabling them to pursue a solo run was signifi cant.

Players concentrating on their solo efforts had the prefix ‘fuadach’ connected to their surname. In the 1870s, a legendary scoubeen match took place between north Cork players at Ballyhea and Charleville. Both sides chose local players and some even arrived from the heart of County Limerick. The match is said to have involved the vast number of 500 players and commenced at the hill of the Old Pike. The ball was thrown in and up went the cry, ‘All for home’. From the start, Ballyhea progressed well.

Play continued until it was dragged into a meadow flooded to the depth of 30cm, across other landscape obstacles until it got as far the banks of the (Upper) Awbeg to a site named locally as Madigan’s Marsh. It was here a serious fight broke out. No one was killed or seriously wounded but the Charleville side eventually conceded. With the establishment of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884, the game of scoubeen rapidly disappeared.

INFLATION: Known as ‘the Fearless Frogman’, Irish-born Paul Boyton pursued daredevil acts in open water while ‘encased’ in a vulcanised rubber suit. The wearer inflated it by blowing into air tubes. This suit permitted him to float on the water and then he could move forward while using an oar. Paul was confident that the apparatus could protect hundreds of lives if more of the public were aware of it. To attract media attention, Paul decided to carry out a number of high-profile stunts. In the port of New York in October 1874, Paul’s stunt was rejected by several ships’ captains. They did want to allow a man to jump off a ship into the Atlantic Ocean for fear he would drown. To avert any further refusal, he boarded a ship.

MASSACRE: The formal unveiling of the Gortroe Massacre memorial stone took place on 16 December 1984. Sculpted by Michael Sheedy of Midleton, the memorial depicts two panels: one shows a young boy blowing a cow horn to summon the community to resist the troops as they come to collect tithes; the second shows the Widow Ryan, who owned the tithes. She is weeping by a stack of corn, the twelve ears of which represent the twelve who died at the massacre, which took place on 18 December 1834. It was where the last great fight of the Tithe War of 1831–38 occurred.

Tithes were initially voluntary offerings to the Protestant clergy in appreciation for their work. They were separated into three sums, one of which was to deliver education for all the poor and for the youth of the parish; the second was for the needs of the impoverished and the sorrowing and the hungry; the third was to provide for the upkeep of the local Protestant church.

            The true opposition to the payment of tithes came with the Reformation when the clergy, becoming Protestant, were separated from the people. Occupiers of land were obliged to pay tithes to clergymen whose services they rejected. After the passing of Catholic Emancipation in 1829, the public turned towards getting rid of the tithes, which were levied on crops and not on grassland and thus affected the hard-working farmer. The house of Widow Ryan of Gortroe townland stood on a hill overlooking the road from Rathcormac to Midleton. She owed £2 8s tithe to Rev. William Ryder and had refused to pay it in protest against the tithe system and in agreement with her neighbours.

On the morning of 18 December 1834, a company of 100 men with their officers – making in all 121-armed men – were instructed from Fermoy to Rathcormac to arrive at the Ryan house at 10.30 a.m. to meet Rev. William Ryder and Captain Collis. Nine cavalry from the 4th Dragoon Guards were to complement them. On arrival at the Tallow Road, between Bartlemy and Bluebell Cross, the cavalry observed that a crowd of people had gathered.

The Riot Act was read but the people did not disband. The troops had already fixed bayonets. Now they were given instructions to ‘prime and load’ their musket guns. Having complied, the troops moved down the lane to Mrs Ryan’s house, the cavalry going ahead. A cart had been drawn across the lane leading to the haggard (a large haystack adjacent to a house) and the people had assembled in the yard behind the cart. They brought sticks. Captain Sheppard moved up front with a detachment, who were ordered by Major Walter to charge. The soldiers leapt up on the cart but were hurled back. Walter ordered a flanking attack and the soldiers tried to get over the haggard wall but these were also pushed back.

The order to fire was then given, but the crowd, instead of scattering as was expected, closed in on the cart and the soldiers fired at the men still standing at the cart, brandishing their sticks. A trumpeter sounded the ceasefire. In all, sixty-seven shots had been fired and nine men were killed and seven seriously wounded. A memorial stands at Gortroe today in memory of those killed.


1225a. Gortroe memorial with local Fred Wilson, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Speech, The Unveiling of the Michael Collins Statue, 20 October 2023

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Rena Buckley and Ronan O’Gara unveiling the new statue of Michael Collins. Credit: Darragh Kane
Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Kieran McCarthy, Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Rena Buckley and Ronan O’Gara unveiling the new statue of Michael Collins. Credit: Darragh Kane

The Parade of Memory

Dear distinguished guests, dear friends, thank you for the invite to address you.

I have three brief messages.

My first message to you this afternoon is all about the power of the rich stories that underpin Cork’s past and Ireland’s past and how this statue adds to the city’s memory bank.

In a historic port city such as Cork, stories swirl around us,

Every few metres there are stories, which stop you, they make you question, make you wonder, make you dream, make you remember, make you curious, make you disturbed, make you explore and make you to not forget – a whole series of emotions, which ultimately make a strong sense of heritage, a strong sense of memory and a strong sense of place

And this afternoon we unveil another story to add to the cityscape.

 On this historic street, Grand Parade we stand on a space with an abundance of stories, memories, and curiosities.

A former rushes and reeds threwn river channel.

A former impressive moat of the eastern walls of the walled town of Cork,

A moat giving access to the small port of the walled town via the grand castles of King’s Castle and Queen’s Castle, now depicted in the City’s Coat of Arms.

South east quadrant of the town wall, c.1600 as depicted in George Carew’s Pacata Hibernia, c.1600; red dashed line is the Grand Parade (source: Cork City Library)
South east quadrant of the town wall, c.1600 as depicted in George Carew’s Pacata Hibernia, c.1600 ; red dashed line is the Grand Parade (source: Cork City Library)

A curious late sixteenth century canon reputed to be from the Siege of Cork in 1690.

A placename with links to Georgian Cork and a toppled King George II statue, a story now immortalised in Sráid an Chapaill Bhuí

A carefully constructed series of arches over the river channel to create this Grand and wide street of the Grand Parade

A bridge named after eighteenth century champion of Cork’s impoverished Nano Nagle

An unfinished but friendly gift of a fountain by judge Walter Berwick in 1860s Cork

A thought provoking National Monument placed in 1906, ten years before the Easter Rising 

A new library emblazoned with an Irish Free State Harp, which replaced a burnt out Carnegie Library.

And the list goes on… influential families who lived and worked on the streets, historical churches such as Christ Church and St Augustine’s, famous shops, cinemas, and public space creation.

So my first brief message that as we unveil this statue and its embodied stories it is important to reflect on how lucky we are in Cork to have a wider heritage and historical contexts, which all add to Cork’s a strong sense of memory and a strong sense of place.

And this statue will also add to Cork’s a strong sense of memory and a strong sense of place.

Discover more on the Grand Parade’s evolution here: History Trail, Grand Parade | Cork Heritage

Grand Parade, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Grand Parade, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

My second message to you is bound up with narrowing the lens even more to reflect on why the statue is placed on this location and what drew Michael Collins to the street here on 11 March 1922.

 It is important to note the historical context or the time and space of what we remember here especially as all of us Corkonians frequent the Grand Parade regularly.

It was the first political rally that Michael Collins attended outside Dublin to promote support for the Treaty was in Cork City. All of the regional newspapers of the time including the Cork Examiner had media spreads on the rally.

On Saturday afternoon, 11 March, Michael and colleagues arrived to Cork City.

Anti-treaty supporters fired gunshots into the air as Collins passed in his car through St Patrick’s Street towards his accommodation at Turner’s Hotel on Oliver Plunkett Street. This was not a straight forward visit but hindered by security concerns.

During Saturday evening, two platforms set up on the Grand Parade for the rally the following day were damaged.

On Sunday 11 March circa 50,000 people turned up on Cork’s Grand Parade for the rally. Every vantage point was used. At platform no.1, the first speaker was Liam De Róiste, who was followed by Michael Collins.

*View British Pathe footage of Michael Collins addressing the Cork public in March 1922, GREAT CORK TREATY – British Pathé (

The core of Michael’s speech was basically a rebuttal of many of De Valera’s ideas he had presented in previous weeks at his own Anti Treaty rallies across the country.

Michael went onto comment on the Treaty negotiations and the success of the British army leaving the south of Ireland.

In a sense culture and society was physically changing in Cork.

Michael Collins was followed by Seán Hayes, Commandant Seán McKeown TD, Commandant Seán Hayes TD, and Diarmuid Fawsitt. During Seán McKeown’s speech shots were fired during his speech and continued interruptions of shouting was heard all the way to the end of the programme of platform no.1.

The pro Treaty rally hosted by Michael Collins on Cork’s Grand Parade on Sunday 12 March was deemed a success. The following day, Monday 13 March, before taking the afternoon train back to Dublin, Michael took the time with Diarmuid Fawsitt from the Provisional Government’s Ministry of Economics to visit and take a tour of the Ford factory.

At Turner’s Hotel on Oliver Plunkett Street Michael Collins received several deputations – Irish Ex-Servicemen, Tenant’s Association, Cork and District Labour Council and a deputation appeared about the question of advancing funding for premises destroyed in the Burning of Cork.

Their mantras were all about a job of work to do to resolve economic and social challenges, which faced Cork. 

The city had 8,000 people unemployed with a large proportion of whom were artisans, mechanics and unskilled labourers.

So yes there was much excitement for Michael here on 11 March but there were also many questions about the winds of cultural and societal change within Irish society and Cork society and what an emerging Irish Free State would look like.

Indeed, over the ensuing six weekends Michael Collins held political rallies from Skibbereen to Waterford, Wexford, Castlebar, Tralee, and Naas, where questions and answers continued.

Michael Collins giving an oration on the Grand Parade, Cork 12 March 1922 (picture: Cork Examiner)

And my third and last message concerns one of the statements of Michael he gave on this street on 11 March. Towards the end of his passionate speech, he made a noble call about created a better Ireland for future generations.

“We have a chance now of giving our people a better life, we have a chance of doing the things that the people required done. We have a chance that the people shall no longer live the life of beasts.

We have a chance of ending our slums. We have a chance of ending the hovels of some of our country places. We have a chance of making our population happy and health. We have a chance now, not by travelling any soft road, God knows, but by a hard tilted effort to make Ireland something for the next generation, which it was not for ourselves, which it was not for ourselves”.

We are Michael’s next generation. And yes, much was done in the emerging Irish Free State to create a better Ireland. One just even have to look at Cork’s development in the 1920s – rebuilding of the City Centre, clearance of slums, massive social housing projects, economic development of our towns and villages and rural areas, and most all the emergence of a more happy, healthy and hopeful people.

But here we are over 100 years after Michael’s oration here, in a time where a “hard tilted” efforts needs to be made again, for ourselves and for future generations – across elements in particular of housing provision, hospital care, social inclusion, equality, community life, future proofing employment – what Michael called for a centenary ago.

We have a chance in our time to finish what Michael and his compatriots started. And we ow to ourselves to finish the job, work together and to strive forward.

So Dear Friends today, yes we reflect upon our new statue of Michael Collins but it is also to reflect on the cauldron of different simmering ideas or messages.

 It is important to reflect on the wider context on which this statue is to be added to and the rich sense of place the City possesses,

the messages of cultural and societal change abounding in 1922,

and the role of past narratives in our present and our future. That the work of what Michael and his compatriots remains unfinished.

To conclude dear friends, I wish to thank the fundraising campaign committee, my colleague Cllr Shane O’Callaghan for his commitment to championing the story of Michael Collins, and to Michael Holland for his creative skills in forging this beautiful piece of sculptural work. Go raibh míle maith agat.

Unveiling of new Michael Collins statue, Grand Parade, Cork, 20 October 2023 (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 19 October 2023

1224a. Lime kiln at Ard na Gaoithe townland, Watergrasshill, with locals Kyle Furney Kelly, Fia Furney Kelly and Ned Quigley, December 2022 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 19 October 2023

Extracts:  The A-Z of Curious County Cork

My new book, The A-Z of Curious County Cork is available in any good bookshop. Published by History Press UK (2023) the book has been born out of my own personal curiosity for many years now to venture off the main roads of County Cork to explore the curiosities of cultural heritage in County Cork. This week’s column shares more extracts from the new book.

AUTOPSY: On an information panel high up in Cousane Gap near Keakill, overlooking Bantry Bay, one encounters the story of body snatchers. In the early nineteenth century, bodies were dug up and robbed from the local cemetery in Kilmocomogue. They were for sale and use in anatomy classes in medical schools in Cork city to meet the necessity to carry out autopsies to study more about human anatomy and educate their students.

It was legal for surgeons to dissect the bodies of convicted murderers, who were hanged for their crimes. But the small number of bodies handed over was not enough to meet the growing science of anatomy. A horse and cart conveyed the bodies from Kilmocomogue. However, the immoral activity was eventually targeted by a local vigilante group, who safeguarded freshly dug graves.

BLOOD: In the parish of Durrus near Bantry lies Loch Na Fola, or Blood Lake. The 1937–38 National Schools Folklore Collection records that long ago, a man had to go to Durrus to fetch a priest for a sick person. He had to pass a place on the hill where a ghost was often seen. Near this place, there was a lake. He rode his horse to this location and took with him a scythe. The man and his horse arrived at the point where the ghost was seen. Suddenly, his horse automatically halted. A ghostly tall man emerged from the landscape and strode before the horse on the road. The man raised his voice to the stranger, ‘Come off the road and let the horse pass’, but the ghost did not move. He reiterated his call several times, but the ghostly figure would not move from where he was.

The man grew angrier, dismounted his horse and cried, ‘Are you going to come off the road and let the horse pass?’ but the stranger did not stir. The man then struck him on the head with the scythe, which he had in his hand. The stranger fell to the ground and covered the whole place with blood. The man jumped on his horse and fled. The blood steadily flowed into the adjacent lake, and in the morning it was overflowing with blood. Ever since, that lake has been called Loc Na Fola or, in English, Blood Lake.

DITCH: The Cliadh Dubh, or the Black Ditch, runs for over 13.5 miles from the Ballyhoura Mountains to the Nagle Mountains. This ancient linear earthwork, which is estimated at over 1,000 years old, crosses the Blackwater Valley in north-east County Cork. Rich folklore presents many tales on the origins of the ditch. One tale relates that a huge black boar with large tusks angrily tore through the countryside leaving a vast earthen linear mound. Another tale speaks of a large worm burrowing its way through the land. However, the real reason for its construction and its use will never be known. Among the more plausible reasons is that it could define an ancient territorial border and help defend important paths and routeways, or even protect cattle from attacks from wild animals or from other people’s raids.

 Comparable earthworks can be discovered in other parts of Ireland – for example, the Black Pig’s Dyke, which shaped the margins of the ancient Kingdom of Ulster. In the present day, the Cliadh Dubh is mostly difficult to recognise within its immediate landscape and field boundaries. However, it still provides boundaries for several townlands and parishes.

Enrich: In the townland of Ard na Gaoithe, near Watergrasshill in mid-County Cork, adjacent the local ancient church and graveyard lie the accessible but ruined and curious remains of a lime kiln. It is one of hundreds scattered across County Cork and across the Irish landscape. Their curiosity lies in their function for enriching the land with powdered lime as fertiliser. The powder was created by burning limestone rocks in an enclosed kiln. Where limestone was an underlining rock, it was readily accessible.

  Limestone was initially smashed up into smaller pieces. They were put in the kiln from the top with alternate layers of existing fuel such as oak or turf. Burning lime involved an immense volume of work: digging or constructing the kiln, collecting rocks, chopping, carting and throwing fuel down the kiln, keeping attention on the kiln. The kiln was lit and burned for up to a fortnight before the fire was permitted to be extinguished.

After a cooling period, the burnt limestone was withdrawn through an opening at the base. Water was spread over the burnt stone, and it slaked off into hydrated or slaked lime. Burnt lime had a wide range of functions. Lime mortar could be used for fertiliser and bonding stone walls, as well as providing limewash for painting traditional-style Irish cottages. Lime could be used for softening water and decreasing the acidity of butter, cream, milk and ‘sour’ soil. Other applications include sanitising outhouses and making sheep dip, drying cuts on livestock, tanning leather and killing insect pests.

The A-Z of Curious County Cork by Kieran McCarthy is published by History Press, UK (2023) and is in any good bookshop.


1224a. Lime kiln at Ard na Gaoithe townland, Watergrasshill, with locals Kyle Furney Kelly, Fia Furney Kelly and Ned Quigley, December 2022 (picture: Kieran McCarthy).

Kieran’s Lord Mayor Echo Column, 14 October 2023

Community Grassroots Matters

            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 has invited sponsors of the club to gather and hear about the business of running the football club and about how the club is building on the relationships already established with some of Cork’s leading businesses.  The club is also hoping to increase its sponsors by establishing and developing relationships with other businesses in the city.

            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.

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).