About Kieran McCarthy


Kieran McCarthy, Cork
Kieran McCarthy, Cork

  Kieran McCarthy is a born and bred Cork City man. Growing up in Ballinlough he developed a great love for his hometown and today remains dedicated to promoting the past, present and future of this city and region.


   After attending Colaiste Chríost Rí, Kieran went on to study Archaeology and Geography at University College Cork. On completing his Joint Honours BA degree, he went on to undertake a Masters in Geography. Even after devoting four years to furthering his knowledge of the city, Kieran wasn’t satisfied to leave his love of all things Cork and has completed a PhD on the River Lee Valley and the importance of remembering, collective memory, identity and protecting our historic landscapes.

Local History Advocate:

Since 1999, Kieran has written his well-known weekly column, Our City, Our Town, in the Cork Independent. It has addressed the local history of Cork City but also the River Lee Valley and Cork Harbour. He is a also an occasional heritage columnist with the Irish Examiner. He has also written 30 books dedicated to Cork and its region, and Irish history.

Kieran’s commitment to instilling a sense of pride in the community is demonstrated through his involvement in a well-established school projects currently running in Cork. The ‘Discover Cork: Schools’ Heritage Project’, was founded by Kieran in 2003 and is now annually implemented in 25 schools across the city.

Kieran also hosts walking tours across Cork’s City Centre and historic suburbs. Currently his walking tours focus on the landscapes, histories and memories within 25 areas. He was awarded Cork Person of the month for his heritage work in January 2017 and the Mary Mulvihill Publication/ Media Award in 2019.

Community Project Advocate:

   Other initiatives amongst our youth include his Community Talent Competition, Art Competition, Make a Model Boat Project and his involvement in the foundation of Cork City Musical Society.

Local Government Councillor Role:

  Kieran was elected to Cork City Council in June 2009,  May 2014, May 2019 and June 2024 as an Independent City Councillor for south east Cork City. He sits on the South East Local Electoral Area Committee, the Housing Strategic Policy Committee, the Community, Culture and Place-making Strategic Policy Committee, International Relations and Tourism Strategic Policy Committee, the City Council’s Arts Committee, the City Council’s Heritage Forum, the City Council’s Finance Committee and is a member of the Council’s Climate Action Committee.

Kieran was Lord Mayor of Cork, 2023-24.

DISCOVER Kieran’s local government work at this blog: www.kieranmccarthy.ie

Member, European Committee of the Regions: 

   In January 2015 and January 2020, Kieran was appointed by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government to be an Irish member on the European Committee of the Regions (an opinion body of local authorities and regional assemblies) to the European Parliament. He holds membership of the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) and has personal interests in the new Skills Agenda, informal and formal education, lifelong learning, the Digital Single Market, smart specialisation, science and innovation in regions and cities, cities and regions of the future, youth and sport, socio-cultural effects of IoT.

Kieran also sits on the COTER Commission (Cohesion Policy and Territorial Development) with interests in the role and voice of small cities within the EU and the EU Urban Agenda.

Kieran is Rapporteur on the opinion documents, New European Bauhaus, Small to Medium Sized Cities and the Just Transition, Digitising European Industry, Building a European Data Economy, and An Implementation Assessment of the EU Urban Agenda.

Kieran was President of the European Alliance grouping in the Committee of the Regions from January 2020 to June 2022. He is currently First Vice-President. Kieran was was also a delegate member on the Conference on the Future of Europe, 2021-22.


  • Chief Scout Award Recipient
  • An Gaisce Gold medal, President’s Award Recipient
  • Government of Ireland Scholar, Recipient of Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences Scholarship
  • Feis Maitiu Winner (President’s Cup and Gilbert and Sullivan singing categories)
  • Cork Person of the Month, January 2017
  • Mary Mulvihill Publication/ Media Award, Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland, 2019 for The Little Book of Cork Harbour (2019, History Press) and for championing cultural heritage.