2020 Remembering 1920

2 January 2020, Remembering 1920: Preparing for Local Elections

   A new day and year, 1 January 1920, coincided with a bringing a sense of hope and renewal at the start of a new decade. But excitement and worry existed over the pending restructuring of the local government structure in Ireland. Proportional representation was to be tested in the 1920 local elections. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16081

 

9 January 2020, Remembering 1920: Attacks on RIC Barracks Begin

   The first week of January 1920 witnessed another scaling up of agitation by the general headquarters of the Irish Republican Army. Following the failure of the Independence petition at the Paris Peace Conference. the continued banning of non-violent republican organisations and the outlawing of Dáil Éireann, offensive action was officially sanctioned against crown forces. In the counties of Cork, Limerick, Cork, Tipperary, Kerry, Clare, and Dublin attacks on police patrols escalated. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16087

 

16 January 2020, Remembering 1920: The Newly Elected Corporation

    One hundred years ago today, 16 January 1920, boxes of votes for the city’s six local electoral areas and for membership of Cork Corporation began to be counted in Cork City Hall. The election had taken place a day earlier on 15 January. A total of 160 candidates looked on with trepidation on their fate as the ballot boxes were being opened. Only one female, Summerhill North resident Miss Anne Sutton representing the Sinn Féin and Workers Transport grouping and standing in the north-east ward, was on the ballot paper (who was successful). http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16113

 

23 January 2020, Remembering 1920: A Dáil Enquiry Comes to Cork

One hundred years ago this week a research inquiry set up by Dáil Éireann – six months previously – arrived to the steps of Cork City Hall The ensuing event coincided with another stand-off between individuals pushing for a Republic and those upholding Ireland’s place within the British Empire. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16146

 

30 January 2020, Remembering 1920: Arise Lord Mayor Alderman Tomás MacCurtain

On 30 January 1920, one hundred years ago, the scene was set for Alderman Tomás MacCurtain to be declared elected as Lord Mayor in the Council Chamber of the old Cork City Hall. As Tomás rose from his seat in the Chamber to go to the Lord Mayor’s chair, much of the general public present cheered him. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16207

 

6 February 2020, Remembering 1920: Sir Edward Fitzgerald Speaks Out

    In a wide-ranging interview published on 3 February 1920 in the Cork Examiner senior councillor of Cork Corporation, 70-year old Sir Edward Fitzgerald of the Irish Parliamentary Party, is still hopeful but with a hint of political battle weariness. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16213

 

13 February 2020, Remembering 1920: Made in Ireland

    The first meeting of the Council of the Cork Industrial Development Association (Cork IDA) for 1920 was held at the offices of the Association on Monday 2 February. Mr J C Dowdall, President, occupied the chair. The others present included the Lord Mayor of Cork Alderman Tomás Mac Curtain and acting secretary Liam de Róiste. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16243

 

20 February 2020, Remembering 1920: Calls to Fund Public Health System 

   Mid-February 1920 coincided with the annual general meeting of the Committee of Management of the South Infirmary, which was held in the Boardroom of the institution. The annual report was submitted by Mr J C McNamara and gives a further insight into the health care conditions of the time and the calls for investment to support the work of doctors and nurses. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16257

27 February 2020, Remembering 1920: The Return of the Chaplaincy

    On 13 February 1920 a meeting of the Cork Corporation was held at 3pm. It was the first meeting since the election of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain and its agenda was to fill councillor positions on a variety of City Hall positions. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16263

5 March 2020, Remembering 1920: A Home for Sailors

    The annual meeting of the supporters of the Cork Sailor’s Home was held on 2 March 1920 at noon in the Boardroom of the institution at 12 Merchants Quay, Cork. Mr D J Lucy, Chairman of the Cork Harbour Board, presided. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16282

12 March 2020, Remembering 1920: Outcomes of a Bye-Election

It was a tale of democracy in action versus the continuation of the violence between opposing sides within the second week of March 1920. On the 10 and 11 March 1920 Sinn Féin candidates Donal O’Callaghan and Barry Egan emerged as victors in the first bye-election post the January 1920 local elections for Cork Corporation. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16300

19 March 2020, Remembering 1920: The Murder of Tomás MacCurtain

One hundred years ago on the night of 19 March and the morning of 20 March 1920, Tomás MacCurtain (1884-1920), was murdered at his home in Blackpool. His murder is linked to the tit-for-tat violence between the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16343

26 March 2020, Remembering 1920: The Funeral of Tomás MacCurtain

Within just a few hours of his death in the early hours of 20 March 1920, the coffin of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain was carried by hearse from his home in Blackpool to Cork City Hall. Heartrending scenes were witnessed. Men and women knelt down in the street and wept. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16358

2 April 2020, Remembering 1920: Arise Lord Mayor MacSwiney

A special meeting of the Council of the Cork Corporation was held on 30 March 1920 in the old Cork City Hall, for the purpose of electing a Lord Mayor in lieu of the tragic death of Tomás MacCurtain. In light of the turbulent times just 32 of the 56 members were present. On the motion of Alderman Liam de Róiste, Professor Stockley was moved to the chair. Alderman de Róiste, speaking in Irish proposed that Terence MacSwiney be elected. Alderman Barry seconded, and the motion was supported by Sir John Scott. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16374

9 April 2020, Remembering 1920: Witness to Murder

The new book Witness to Murder by John O’Mahony and I is a transcript of the Tomás MacCurtain Inquest from March and April 1920. Tomas (1884-1920) is truly a colossus in Cork history who has attracted many historians, enthusiasts and champions to tell his story. His story is peppered with several aspects – amongst those that shine out are his love of his family, city, country, language comradeship, and hope – all mixed with pure tragedy. In many ways, the murder of Tomás MacCurtain on the night of 19-20 March 1920 changed the future public and collective memory narrative of Cork history forever. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16418

16 April 2020, Remembering 1920: Coroner James McCabe Speaks

One hundred years ago, the Tomás MacCurtain inquest was the most significant inquiry of its kind ever held in Cork City. The verdict, which was given on 17 April 1920, was the most startling ever pronounced by a coroner’s jury in the British Empire. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16428

23 April 2020, Remembering 1920: The Inquest Jury Speaks

   At the conclusion of the Inquest of Tomás MacCurtain on 17 April 1920, Chairman Coroner James McCabe thanked the jury for the great care and attention they had given the various witness interviews. The 14-man jury comprised: William J Barry (foreman), Daniel Barrett, Richard Barrett, Michael J Grace, David Hennessy, Harry Loreton, Patrick McGrath, Melville McWilliams, Florence O’Donoghue, Peter O’Donovan, Jeremiah O’Callaghan, Thomas O’Shaughnessy, Tadgh O’Sullivan and Pádraig O’Sullivan. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?m=20200423

30 April 2020, Remembering 1920: MacCurtain Street is Born

     On 23 April 1920 – this week one hundred years ago – one of Cork’s principal streets was to get a name change to provide another outlet for the public outpouring of grief arising from the murder of Tomás MacCurtain. Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney, under Lord Mayor’s items, at the Cork Corporation meeting proposed in a short motion: “That the name of King Street be changed to MacCurtain Street”.  http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?m=202004

7 May 2020, Remembering 1920: A Cork to New York Shipping Lane

Established in 1913 by Albert V Moore and Emmet J McCormack – the Moore McCormack Company – began with one ship, which ran between the United States and Brazil. Such was that success they acquired more steamships. After the First World War, the American company bought several surplus ships and began further trading links with South America and further afield to the eastern Mediterranean, India and Western Europe. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?m=20200507

14 May 2020, Remembering 1920: The Naming of Oliver Plunkett Street

    At the meeting of Council of Cork Corporation on 14 May 1920, Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney presided. On the agenda was a discussion on the beatification of Oliver Plunkett headed up by Sinn Féin councillors. A number of decisions arose out of it. One of the principal ones was the proposal by Cllr Micheal O’Cuill that the name or George’s Street be changed to that of Sráid Olibhéir Phluingcéid (Oliver Plunkett street), and this was seconded by Cllr Seán O’Leary and passed unanimously. This change in name just came within a month of the change from (Robert) King Street to MacCurtain Street. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?m=20200514

21 May 2020, Remembering 1920: The Gathering of Intelligence

The witness statements of the Bureau of Military History offer much insight into the Irish War of Independence. There is much to gleam from the Cork context on IRA activity and the gathering of intelligence by Cork Brigade no.1 across April and May 1920. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16683

28 May 2020 Remembering 1920: Kilbrittain’s Arson Attack

As the weeks of early summer 1920 progressed, tensions escalated and violence ensued between the IRA and British forces. One additional element of force, which appears more and more in witness statements and across the newspapers of 1920, was the use of arson. It was used on both sides of the conflict especially in the destruction of buildings (and an aspect, which culminated in the Burning of Cork in December 1920). http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?m=20200528

4 June 2020, Remembering 1920: The Republican Courts

 In 1920, as the War of Independence escalated, the formation Dáil Courts were seen as a contest to British rule. In May 1920, Dáil Éireann formally adopted the Courts and they were put under the Dáil’s Department of Agriculture, which connected to their initial function as a means of resolving land disputes. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?m=20200604

11 June 2020, Remembering 1920: Sick Poor Society Celebrates 200 Years

One hundred years ago on 13 June 1920, to celebrate the centenary of Cork’s Sick Poor Society, Solemn High Mass was held at the North Cathedral at 12noon. Bishop Daniel Cohalan in his homily related some of the important work of the society.  The Cork Examiner also provided a short history of the Society, some of which I detail below. In 2020 the Society celebrates its bicentenary. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?m=20200611

18 June 2020, Remembering 1920: The Dilemmas of Dockers and Railwaymen

With the early summer of 1920 passing it coincided with violence escalating in the War of Independence. In late May and early June 1920, the Cork Examiner records several ships, which docked at Queenstown (now Cobh) and at the city’s Custom House Quay to unload British soldiers and weapons. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16752

25 June 2020, Remembering 1920: The Return of the White Star Line

In the summer of 1920 there was much excitement at the resumption of the call to Queenstown (now Cobh) by the White Star Line and their America to Europe line of ships. The connection to Queenstown had been broken since 1907. In late April 1920 the ships RMS Celtic and RMS Baltic were scheduled by the White Star Line to arrive at Queenstown on the outward bound route to New York, from 3 June to 23 September 1920. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16778

2 July 2020, Remembering 1920: Besieging MacCurtain Street Barracks

The targeting of city centre barracks was a much riskier set of actions. Michael Murphy in his witness statement retells his side of events on the 30 June hit on the RIC Barracks on MacCurtain Street. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16796

9 July 2020, Remembering 1920: The Assassination of Commissioner Smyth

The targeting by IRA Brigade No.1 of RIC Cork City barracks in early July 1920 turned into targeting by mid-July 1920 of high ranking RIC officers. By far the most sensational shooting of a Government official occurred in Cork as a late hour on Saturday evening, 17 July 1920, at the County Club on the South Mall. Colonel Gerard Bryce Ferguson Smyth was a First World War veteran from the Royal Engineers and newly appointed Chief Commissioner of the RIC. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16810

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16 July 2020, Remembering 1920: B-Company’s Summer Encounters

In the witness statement of Michael Walsh (WS 1521), a native of Blackrock, he details activities of B-Company of the second battalion of Cork No. Brigade in the south east of Cork City, http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16820

23 July 2020, Remembering 1920: Stories of the Fianna

 The youth division of the Cork No.1 IRA Brigade or the Fianna was significant in their reconnaissance during 1920.  It was in 1910 that the Na Fianna Éireann was established in Cork by republicans involved in the O’Growney Branch of the Gaelic League. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16841

30 July 2020, Remembering 1920: The Terror of Curfew

One hundred years ago – late July 1920 – nightlife on the streets of Cork was under strict curfew. On 19 July Major-General Strickland issued an order of a curfew between the hours of 10pm and 3am for Cork City. A permit was required from the 21 July to be able to be on the streets outside of those times, http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16849

6 August 2020, Remembering 1920: A Deputation to Westminster

In the midst of curfews being implemented and Black and Tans patrols across Cork City Centre streets, on 3 August 1920, a large meeting of the professional and commercial, both Protestant and Roman Catholic merchants, who supported Home Rule was held at the Imperial Hotel on the South Mall. Their intention was to send a delegation to meet British Prime Minister Lloyd George. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16872

13 August 2020, Remembering 1920: The Arrest of Terence MacSwiney

The military activities in and around Cork City Centre for early August 1920 culminated with a raid on the old City Hall on the Thursday 12 August 1920 and the arrest of Lord Mayor Cllr Terence MacSwiney and other prominent Sinn Féin members. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16887

20 August 2020, Remembering 1920: The Search for Oswald Swanzy

From evidence given at the inquest of Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain there was no doubt among the officers of the Cork No.1 Brigade that RIC District Inspector Oswald Swanzy was the prime instigator in the murder of Tomás. The Brigade Staff decided that Oswald Swanzy should be assassinated for his crime. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16911

27 August 2020, Remembering 1920: Day 12, Terence’s Endurance

“No news of Terence MacSwiney beyond the fact that he has been deported. Whether they will let him die or send him to hospital, or release him, we cannot say. And what is most distressing to me about the matter is that there seems to be nothing we can do to assist him, or nothing effective in his case that will hasten, what he would desire, the independence of Ireland” (extract from Liam De Róiste’s diary, 19 August 1920, Cork Archives). http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16939

3 September 2020, Remembering 1920: The Hunger Strikers Speak

Maurice Crowe, Adjutant 4th Battalion 3rd Tipperary Brigade, in his Bureau of Military History statement (WS517) was one of those who were on hunger strike at Cork Gaol when Terence MacSwiney stayed for short time before being relayed to Brixton Prison. Having begun on 11 August 1920, the hunger strikes began as a demand for unconditional release. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16970

10 September 2020, Remembering 1920: Calls of Clemency for Terence’s Release

 By the closing two days of August 1920 or nearly twenty days into Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike, there was much public concern and there were regular groups of sympathetic groups of watchers outside London’s Brixton Prison and its surroundings. They waited for the latest news or any sign that clemency would be granted. Despite the emotionally charged situation Terence’s wife Muriel and his brother and two sisters were regular visitors. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=16990

17 September 2020, Remembering 1920: The Anniversary of St Patrick’s Hospital

Mid-September 1920 coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of St Patrick’s Hospital on Wellington Road. The anniversary is referenced in Cork newspapers. This year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the hospital’s foundation but in recent years has been relocated to Curraheen and has morphed into the name Marymount University Hospital and Hospice. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=17005

24 September 2020, Launch of Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020-21

Covid-19 has brought many challenges to every part of society and never before has our locality being important for recreation and for our peace of mind. In the past few months more focus than ever has been put on places we know, appreciate and even on places we don’t know but now depend on as we remain grounded in our neighbourhoods and corners of Cork City. Against the backdrop of Covid-19, the Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project 2020/21 (Cork City Edition) launches in its 19th year, http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=17033

1 October 2020, Remembering 1920: The Barrack Street Ambush

As the War of Independence intensified, the tit-for-tat violence continued in late September and into October 1920. Engineer Officer of the 2nd Battalion, Cork No.1 Brigade Michael O’Donoghue in his witness statement (WS1741) in the Bureau of Military History records he was twenty years of age running the intelligence, engineering and the signals and communications services. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=17052

8 October 2020, Remembering 1920: The Attack on City Hall

Reprisals by the Black and Tans for the Barrack Street Ambush on Friday 8 October and for the connected death of Private John Gordon Squibbs were quick. The stakes were heightened again when that Friday night City Hall (old) was targeted by the Tans for an arson attack. Even though it was not fully successive, much damage was caused. http://kieranmccarthy.ie/?p=17063