The Revolutionary Trail:
Hot on the heels of a large interest in this year’s National Heritage Week comes Cork City Council’s Revolutionary trail. Recently launched it gathers information on 30 city centre sites associated with Irish War of Independence. The trail is an online story map and can be accessed on A City Remembers on 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.