The history of County Cork is a rich one, spanning over many centuries and millennia. The county has witnessed some of Ireland’s most important historical events, both ancient and recent.
Celebration and remembrance of these significant events frequently occurs in County Cork. With the Decade of Centenaries focusing on the events of 1912-1922, there are many groups commemorating the pivotal moments which happened here.
The following section provides much information on past, present, and future commemorations within County Cork.
One key undertaking at present relates to the documenting of War of Independence and Civil War Memorials within the County of Cork.
For submitting information and for any queries please email email@example.com
The Decade of Centenaries is an opportunity for all members of the community to get involved in commemorating the significant events of the period 1912 to 1922.
Cork County Council, in association with the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs, and the many voluntary and community groups are working together to commemorate each step Ireland took between 1912 and 1922 in a tolerant, inclusive, and respectful manner.
More than 200 groups were involved over 2016 to mark the 1916 Commemoration through local projects, initiatives, and events. Cork County Council's 1916 Centenary Commemorative Committee also played a tremendous role and this work was recognised on a national level in 2016, with the awarding of the Public Sector’s National Heritage Award to Cork County Council for its promotion of the 2016 Centenary Programme.
The events in 1916 started six years of significant change and upheaval for the island of Ireland, and, when appropriate, Cork County Council and community and Heritage groups will commemorate the key moments in the War of Independence and Civil War.
The County of Cork played a most pivotal role in the Irish War of Independence and ensuing Civil War, with so many of its people and places still known today when we think of the Decade of Centenaries in Ireland. With the support of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Cork County Council’s Library Service and Heritage Unit were able to team up to undertake a bespoke and informative War of Independence and Civil War Exhibition in 2021.
The exhibition constitutes 25 panels, covering everything from noted Cork names and ambushes, to the role of women, the civilian experience, and the international context. Key moments, on the national and local level are set out, including details of the Truce, the Treaty and the ensuing Civil War.
The exhibition will be available to see on the ground once public health guidance permits in 2022 and copies of the exhibition publication (Irish and English combined) will be available shortly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A video documentary, highlighting the importance of the role people in County Cork played in the hearings given on hardships endured during the War of Independence has been launched as part of Cork County Council’s Commemorations Programme. The documentary, titled, ‘Evidence on Conditions in Ireland Commemorative Documentary – The County Cork Connection’ features interviews with the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan; Dr. John Borgonovo, School of History, UCC as well as many other local historians.
Between November 1920 and January 1921, an American Commission hearing on the hardships being endured by people in Ireland during the War of Independence took place. In December 1920 and January 1921, seven key witnesses from County Cork gave testimony, which contributed greatly to the efforts of raising awareness internationally towards Ireland’s struggle for freedom. Less than one year later, on December 6th, 1921, the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed. This documentary highlights the importance of these hearings.
‘Evidence on Conditions in Ireland Commemorative Documentary – The County Cork Connection’ is an initiative of Cork County Council’s Commemorations Committee and was supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Evidence on Conditions will be available on Cork County Council’s YouTube channel from Monday, 6th December.
This project is in addition to a suite of other projects undertaken by the Commemorations Committee including a War of Independence and Civil War Exhibition and the publication of a timeline of key events in the 1920 to 1923 period, both of which will be launched early in the New Year.
In addition, a heritage book will be released by Cork County Council on the week of the 13th of December. ‘Heritage Artefacts of County Cork’ is part of the Heritage of County Cork book series and follows the success of ‘The Archaeological Heritage of County Cork’ publication in 2020. Cork County Council called on local heritage societies, community groups, museums and individuals to get involved by submitting any specific information, stories and photos of interest on local heritage artefacts. A selection of these submissions join valuable objects such as the Cork Horns, the GarryDuff Bird, St. Laichtín’s Arm together with items such as sherds of handmade pottery, flint tools and clay pipes, providing a unique insight into life in Cork County in the past.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Gillian Coughlan highlighted how, “The Evidence on Conditions in Ireland Commemorative Documentary – The County Cork Connection, together with the Heritage Artefacts of County Cork book, are fantastic historical resources for us in County Cork. The documentary is a fascinating insight in the role played by Cork County in such a significant historical event. It is superbly produced and brings to life the roles played by these important people from County Cork.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey added, “Cork County Council prides itself on recognising our history. These new resources give an insight into our rich and colourful history here in County Cork. What is fantastic is that they are collaborative projects and are a great way of gathering stories from people who live around the county.”
Cork County Council’s Heritage Officer and Commemorations Coordinator, Conor Nelligan, highlighted “these projects will add value to the excellent work undertaken by people and groups throughout the county of Cork, in commemorating this important part of Ireland’s past. The outstanding projects supported by the Commemorations Committee under the 2021 County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme are fine examples in this regard”.
The Evidence on Conditions in Ireland video documentary was supported by the Department of tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and was undertaken with thanks to Wombat Media, working with Cork County Council’s Commemorations Office. The video is available to view on the Cork County Council YouTube Channel and the direct link to the video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twAyrT3j1hQ
Battle of Crossbarry centenary (on the 19th of March 1921) - Comóradh chéad bhliain ar Chath Chrois a' Bharraigh - na gaolta ag insint a scéalta faoin chath - the relatives speak.
Donnchadh Ó Seaghdha of the Crossbarry & Kilmichael commemoration committee talks to the relatives - Seán Ó Céilleachair son of section commander Tom Kelleher at Crossbarry; Diarmuid Begley son of the piper of Crossbarry; Flor Begley; Murt Ó Súilleabháin who's uncle Pat Ó Sullivan was killed at Upton and his aunt Kathy was carrying messages to flying column prior to Crossbarry Battle and Con O Callaghan who's father Dan was involved in organising the attack and capture of Rosscarbery RIC barracks. A lot of ground covered it was a joy to facilitate - listen to them and have them converse in a nice easy leisurely way. If you haven't time to listen in one go, you can delve into it in your own time also. Bain taithneamh as.
Four IRA volunteers died for Ireland that morning at Crossbarry Diarmuid Ó Laoghaire, Conchúr Ó Dálaigh, Peadar Ó Manacháin agus Cathail Ó Mhuirthile. Ar dheis Dé go raibh said uilig anois.
To see the video click the following link - Battle of Crossbarry centenary (on... - Donnchadh Ó Seaghdha | Facebook
Michael Collins House has just released its newest podcast episode ‘Twelve Dark Days’. This time well known historian and author Meda Ryan joins us to discuss the War of Independence in West Cork in early 1921. This was a particularly active time for the IRA leading up to a period Tom Barry referred to as the ‘Twelve Dark Days’ where they suffered significant losses. The podcast is available on the Michael Collins House app and website as well as on Spotify. For the first time the podcast will also be added to Youtube. Links for the different options are as follow:
The Drishanebeg Train ambush was a Millstreet Battalion operation led by Commandant Cornelius J Meaney and the Flying Column O/C Jeremiah Crowley. It was regarded as one of the more successful train ambushes of the War of Independence period due to meticulous planning and patience on the part of the Volunteers. The publication details the story of the lead up to the ambush and also the ambush itself. The arms and equipment captured that night would be used within weeks at Clonbanin Ambush on 5 March 1921.
Terence MacSwiney had strong links with the Millstreet Battalion and visited Millstreet several times in 1915 in an organisational capacity. It was on 1 Nov 1915 a Fair Day that he attended a public meeting where the first 4 companies of Millstreet Battalion were formed. A chapter in the book outlines the influence of Fr. Joseph Breen on the Millstreet Battalion and being a source of counsel and comfort for them. He also campaigned openly in Millstreet during the 1918 election for Terence Macswiney.
The Publication, which was supported by Cork County Council’s Commemorations Committee under the 2020 County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme, is retailing for €10.00 and can be purchased by emailing email@example.com.
To commemorate the centenary of the Dripsey Ambush, local historian Mary O’Mahony will publish Dripsey Ambush 1921, Executions & Reprisals. This book will include an insightful account of the ambush and is testimony to the brave local volunteers. It describes the major engagements undertaken by the 6th Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade leading up to the Dripsey Ambush. The subsequent capture, trial by court martial and execution of five IRA volunteers and the death of another volunteer from his wounds. It outlines the actions taken by the IRA to prevent the execution of the volunteers including the kidnapping and execution of Mrs Mary Lindsay and James Clarke and examines the impact that these events had on a local, national and international level. The publication has been supported by Cork County Council’s Commemorations Committee and proceeds from the sale of this publication will go towards Independence Museum Kilmurry and the Dripsey Ambush Site Fund.
Book Price: €15. Books can be pre-ordered by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 087 2251184 and will be on sale in local shops including Sheila’s Shop Kilmurry, QuikPick Crookstown, O’Leary’s SuperValu Macroom, Murphy’s Centra, Coachford, Kathleen’s Shop Coachford, Coachford Post Office, O’Leary’s SuperValu and Filling Station, Tower..
Minister Catherine Martin T.D. has announced a new Artist-in-Residence scheme to create new works to encourage public engagement with the Decade of Centenaries and institutions. Artists will be invited to reflect on the rich collections held by our institutions and other bodies and create innovative pieces in order to reach new audiences.
The programme is in partnership with the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), the National Library of Ireland (NLI), the National Archives (NAI), the Beyond 2022 Project and the Military Archives as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2021-2023. This collaboration with the five hosts will culminate in imaginative work and new audiences for the vast array of collections held by our National Cultural Institutions and other bodies. The duration of each residency will be specific to the host Institution and a fee of up to €20k is available per residency (with both the NMI and NAI proposing a two year residency with a fee of €40k over two years proposed).
Announcing the new funding scheme, Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Minister Catherine Martin T.D. said: “As we embark on the final, most challenging phase of the Decade of Centenaries, new programmes such as this can serve to bring some of our rich primary source material into the public domain in engaging and imaginative ways. Artistic and creative endeavours will have an important role in encouraging reflection, exploration and debate during the remainder of the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023, allowing people of all traditions to question and consider issues which may be challenging and difficult”.
The focus for 2021 is on five Institutions that hold and/or present material with a direct connection to the period and to bring those historical collections, documents etc. to new audiences. The Programme hopes to explore original ways to engage with this part of our history and support authentic historical enquiry about this period as well as promote the use of archival resources. It also aims to support artists and highlight the importance of artistic enquiry in the Decade of Centenaries Programme. Each of the five partner Institutions in the Programme will engage an artist selected from a specific discipline or a range of artistic disciplines (depending on the bespoke requirements/emphasis of that body) to reflect on particular collections identified by the Institution and a theme or themes falling under the scope of the Decade of Centenaries.
Minister Martin continued: “I would encourage artists of all disciplines to apply for this Programme. We hope this Artist-in-Residence Programme will lead to the development of unique and original work which will attract new and existing audiences to our precious national collections; it also provides contemporary creative arts practitioners with an opportunity to develop their creative practice in the interdisciplinary environment of these Institutions.”
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is providing funding of €125,000 in 2021 to the Artist-in-Residence Programme as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme. Each participating Institution will select their own artist-in-residence based on shared criteria and based on the themes of the Decade of Centenaries. Some Institutions have specified the type of artist they wish to work with and others are open to all artists. Details of each Institution’s requirements can be found here: www.gov.ie/artistinresidence.
Applications under the scheme are welcome from Monday 22/02/2021 up until the closing date of 17:00 on Friday 19th March 2021. Applications will be assessed in April with announcement of the 5 successful artists by the Minister to follow.
Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland have published an online Story Map entitled ‘Ambush at Coolnacaheragh, West Cork, Ireland: A story of conflict and sacrifice in the Irish War of Independence, 25 February 1921’. The map commemorates the centenary of the Irish War of Independence ambush at Coolnacaheragh, close to Baile Mhic Íre in West Cork.
The ambush, involving an attack by Volunteers of the IRA Flying Column against members of the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary, took place at a winding section of the old N22 road in the townland of Coolnacaheragh, approximately 11 km west of Macroom town.
The Story Map sets out the historical context of the ambush and provides information on how the ambush site was selected, the ambush strategy and how the ambush unfolded, including suspected betrayal by a saboteur. Detail is also provided of the two opposing commanders who found themselves in armed conflict by the fate of history.
The Story Map includes historical photographs, interactive mapping and links to further reading and resources, as well as a noteworthy vignette of Irish film history.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley welcomed the launch, marking this important time in our history;
“100 years ago, County Cork was heavily involved the Irish War of Independence. Marking this centenary, this story map will help us to remember this historic event and will raise awareness of the ambush at Coolnacaheragh, both locally and internationally. While we look forward to a time when we can commemorate together in person and across the many historic locations in County Cork, this online resource provides us all with a way to engage with our rich history from home”.
The ‘Ambush at Coolnacaheragh’ Story Map is available online and is part of a suite of Story Maps available for viewing on the TII website.
Upton Ambush Centenary -15th February 1921 - Chomóradh Chéad Bhliain ar Luíochán Upton. Donnchadh Ó Seaghdha of the Kilmichael and Crossbarry Commemoration committee talks to the relatives - brothers Murt and Michéal Súilleabháin who's uncle Volunteer Pat O Sullivan was killed in action at Upton and to Seán Ó Céilleachair who's father Óglach Tom Kelleher took part and carried Charlie Hurley several miles to safety after he being seriously wounded. Three volunteers died fighting for Ireland at Upton and six civilians were killed and several more were wounded on all sides. Listen to the true story in the video – Upton Ambush Centenary -15th February... - Donnchadh Ó Seaghdha | Facebook –
Passage West Maritime Museum had planned a public exhibition to mark the 100th Anniversary of the death of Michael John (Jack) O'Mahony who died in the fight for Irish Freedom, however, due to the COVID 19 restrictions it is not possible to have the public display, so the Museum will exhibit some of the material on its website & facebook page starting on Feb. 28th.
An 18 year old local boy, Jack died on the 28th of February 1921 from wounds that he had received a week earlier when with a group of Volunteers he took part in an ambush of British Forces near Beach Road, Passage West. Visit www.passagemuseum.ie.
In 2016 many counties, towns and parishes throughout the country installed Gardens of Remembrance. Following on from this very successful initiative and as Ireland continue its decade of commemorations, Seanad Éireann is promoting the undertaking of these Gardens of Remembrance and Reflection.
Diarmuid Gavin has designed seven template gardens and these designs can be replicated, altered or amended in any way deemed fit or indeed a completely different design can be used depending on the location. As noted by Senator Mark Day, all these Gardens of Remembrance and Reflection should have three elements in common:
- A replica of the 1916 Proclamation
- A flagpole for the tricolour a
- Seven trees which represent the seven signatories of the Proclamation.
Speaking of the inclusion of the Proclamation, Senator Mark Daly noted: ‘As many people were involved in the journey for independence during those years a century ago, it would be appropriate that the proclamation alone would be the only inscribed words in these gardens’.
Senator Daly also furthered, if community groups ‘have not already installed a Garden of Remembrance as part of the 1916 Centenary commemorations, they might consider installing a Garden of Remembrance and Reflection in their area. Communities who have installed either garden may wish to officially dedicate or rededicate their gardens on the 11th of July this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the truce during the War of Independence’.
For more information see the Gardens of Remembrance and Reflection document by clicking here. In relation to the initiative, the Tidy Towns Unit within the Department of Rural and Community Development has stated that Tidy Towns committees may be in a position to gain points within the competition from these gardens and this letter is available to view by clicking here.
Due to the current government Covid-19 restrictions the planned Centenary Commemoration for the Clonmult Ambush Anniversary has been postponed. We will have an online video to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Clonmult, which will be available to view on our YouTube Channel – Clonmult Ambush Site or via our Facebook page Clonmult Ambush Site.
Despite the postponed commemoration we still want to mark the centenary of the battle to honour those who fought and subsequently died a result of Clonmult. We are requesting all those in the local area and wider community to fly the Tricolour on Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st of February as a mark of respect.
Why is it that we commemorate? Is it something we feel compelled to do, or is it something deeper, something ingrained in us as an Irish People? In County Cork, our past is paramount and every parish has its own stories, its own heroes and its very own trials and tribulations.
2021 is a significant centenary year in the County of Cork with regard to Commemorations. It is the year that saw the Truce (July 11th 1921) but also some of the key ambushes and events of the War of Independence such as Dripsey, Cúl na Cathrach, The Battle of Crossbarry (which is one of the most famous of engagements in the War of Independence), and the greatest loss of Republican life at any War of Independence Engagement – the Clonmult Ambush. County Cork in 1921 saw over 20 ambushes and over 30 assassinations and executions including the first officially sanctioned execution in Ireland under Martial Law. There were house raids, barracks attacks, disappearances, rescues and close to 100 Shootings - some of which were accidental but nonetheless resulted in tragic loss of life. Perhaps one of the most tragic was the death of an innocent 4-year-old boy in Rosscarbery who died during a nearby explosion.
The War of Independence in County Cork, 1921, saw the death of over 250 people – men, women and children, on both sides of the conflict and on none. This year, groups throughout County Cork are proud to be the generation that commemorates the centenary and a range of different projects and initiatives are being undertaken with the support of Cork County Council’s Commemorations Committee, all in keeping with Covid-19 measures.
To remember where we have come from is a reflection of ourselves today – a projection in the present of our future identity. In the County of Cork, these commemorations are an opportunity to show that one hundred years later - we still remember.
Details of the many different commemorative events, projects and initiatives for 2021 will be added to this website shortly.
Added on 15/02/18: Cork's Revolutionary Dead Photographs Online
A new website with photographs of 120 out of the 700 people killed in Cork County during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War has been published online. A companion piece to Cork's Revolutionary Dead written by Barry Keane and published by Mercier Press in July 2017 it includes previously forgotten images of individuals including many of the Auxiliaries klled at the Kilmichael ambush in November 1920. Victims on all sides from Volunteers to innocent civilians through to British soldiers have been rescued from history brought together for the first time. It is hoped to add to the site over time with new and better images of the victims and anyone with information can contact Barry Keane at email@example.com. The website is accessible via – https://wordpress.com/page/corkrevolutionarydead.wordpress.com/240