A tweet from Irish History Links on Thursday reminded that it was 98 years since the mutiny by the Connaught Rangers in India
My education of these events was prompted by a headstone in Castlehyde Cemetery near the banks of the River Blackwater, commemorating Patrick McGrath. I had first learned of this event at the annual window sale of history/local books in the Cancer Society shop on Castle Street, where I purchased Mutiny For The Cause, by Sam Pollock.
The book had rested on my bookshelf for a year or more. My encounter with Patrick McGrath led to the book being taken from the shelf. My education as to what happened in India in 1920 started and led to bit of a trail about treatment of soldiers disobeying orders.
The Connaught Rangers in Jullundur and Solon refused to soldier for the British King because of the actions of the Black & Tans against Irish people. It was a peaceful action – a refusal to work, until after mess closing one night and discussions as to rumour that fellow protestors in Jullundur had been killed, those at Solon sought to break into the munitions store to retrieve their guns – resulting in death of one protestor (Smith in book; Smythe on Wikipedia; Smythe on memorial at Glasnevin, and Pte Peter Sears who depending on the sources was a protestor or was caught by a stray bullet.
One soldier died while being held for trial, Private Miranda. James Daly, born in Ballymote, Co. Galway but from Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath, the leader of the attack on munitions store, was sentenced to death at court martial hearing.
He died by firing squad on 2nd November, 1920.
A crowd of more than 6,000 attended the return of Daly’s body to Tyrrellspass in October 1970. The ceremonies, held shortly before the 50th anniversary of his execution, elevated Daly to an equal of the greatest heroes of the republican movement. The Irish flag that draped Daly’s coffin had previously lain on the coffin of Terence MacSwiney, the lord mayor of Cork who died on hunger strike in October 1920. In a speech at Daly’s graveside, Old IRA representative Thomas Malone identified Daly’s sacrifice with the republican goal of a 32-county republic:
Mutiny For The Cause led to a period of books on soldier executions. First was a reread-
‘For much of the last century the detail of how hundreds of British soldiers were executed has been a state secret. It is only in recent years that the details of the courts martial and the executions have become public. The story marks one of the most controversial chapters in British military history, and the emotion and pain that surround the men’s deaths. The long-running campaign to obtain pardons for them has clearly pricked the national consciousness in Britain and in Ireland.
Twenty five were pardoned in 2006 by the UK Government.
In 2001, the Canadian Government spoke of the 23 Canadian soldiers executed in World War I, including James Wilson:
‘To give these 23 soldiers a dignity that is their due, and to provide closure to the families, as Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, and on behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish to express my deep sorrow at their loss of life, not because of what they did or didn’t do, but because they too lie in foreign fields where “poppies blow amid the crosses, row and row.” While they came from different regions of Canada, they volunteered to serve their country in its citizen army, and the hardships they endured prior to their offences will be unrecorded and unremembered no more.’
Michael Marpugo was a favourite of our then ten year old. Many books have been read and audio books heard. When I heard of the play Private Peaceful then coming to the Everyman Palace, the book was purchased and read in a day – one possible example of why a soldier might be executed by his own side.
Life intervened and I was unable to get to the Everyman so that remains on the list to be seen.
Next up, compliments of the library, was Robert Widders’ Spitting on a Soldier’s Grave which told of those in the Irish Army who deserted to join the British Army to fight in World War II and how they were ostracised by the government here.
‘After the war, the Irish government court-martialled these men en masse and in abstentia. Under Fianna Fáil Taoiseach (or prime minister) Eamon de Valera, the men were formally dismissed from the Irish Army and stripped of all pay and pension rights. The government also circulated a list of 4,983 names and addresses, entitled, the “List of personnel of the Defence Forces dismissed for desertion in time of National Emergency.” The aim was to prevent those men from finding work by banning them for seven years from any paid employment paid by State or public funds.’
Paul O’Brien’s book on The Curragh Incident, or The Curragh Mutiny, A Question of Duty, soon followed on the reading list.
Dealing with 1914 when officers in the Army refused to follow orders to prepare for possible action in Ulster against Protestants who were arming themselves in anticipation of defence of the Union of Ireland with Great Britain.
You might not find it odd that none of the Officers met the same fate as James Daly – or even Patrick McGrath’s period of hard labour on the Isle of Wight.
Mutiny For The Cause – Sam Pollock (1969)
“My dearest Mother, I take this opportunity of writing to you to let you know the dreadful news, that I am to be shot on Tuesday morning, the 1st of November. What harm, it is all for Ireland. I am not afraid to die, but it thinking of you I am. That is all: if you will be happy on earth I will be happy in Heaven. I am ready to meet my doom. The priest is with me when needed so you need not worry over me… I am the only one of 62 of us to be put out of this World, but I am ready to die”
Private Jim Daly, leader of the Mutiny
P34 onwards – Wellington Barracks, Jullundur
“But that summer””the men of The Connaught Rangers had to endure worse than the Turkish bath conditions prevailing in the bungalows. In the sweltering heat of the plains of India the British Army normally completed all its parades and exercises in the early hours – between the hours of 6 and 8 a.m., before the sun had climbed to a height which made outside activity a torture and a danger to health. But in June, 1920, the men of The Connaughts had been required to undergo a series of vigorous exercises in daylight hours during which even a brisk walk reduced a soldier’s drill jacket to a sweat-soaked rag. ……….
It was suspected by some of the men that this spell of Active Service conditions was deliberately designed to keep them out of mischief – maybe even to weary them beyond the stage at which they might react violently to the news from Ireland; the news of the doings of the Black and Tans. In the event the sufferings imposed on the Rangers – unnecessary sufferings even in the strictest military terms one of the officers was later to agree – aggravated their rage when word came to them of what was being done to their fellow-countrymen at home…….
….It was at the nightly sessions in the battalion Wet Canteen that stories of such happenings,”[Balck and Tan actions]”with the much-thumbed letters from home that backed them, were passed from man to man. The stories and the letters circulated with the beer, each inflaming the effects of the other….
…Sunday, June 27, 1920……That Sunday evening Private Joe Hawes from County Clare sat at a table in a corner apart from the regular schools with four friends: Paddy Sweeney, Stephen Lally, Paddy Gogarty and William Daly. None of the five friends was a member of a Boozing School, being only occasional and moderate drinkers. All around them the air was filled with violent language….as to indignation of the deeds of the Tans about which they’d heard from home or read about in the letters of others. Vengeance was denounced against the perpetrators of the outrages……
None of the shouting that evening that evening was done byHawes and his friends, Quietly they sat in the corner over beer, and quietly they listened to Joe Hawes, the leading spirit of the group, as he urged them that something could be done about what was happening in Ireland.
At that time India too, though mainly by passive resistance had begun her struggle for freedom and independence. The year before – in 1919 – a British general, Dyer, had ordered his troops to open fire on a crowd of men, women and children peacefully demonstrating at Amritsar, and over three hundred had died, immediately, that is.; hundreds more probably died later, of those left lying wounded and uncared for on the ground. The Connaught Rangers had had no part in that affair – the troops who obeyed General Dyer’s order were, in fact, Indians. But the Irish battalion was a unit of the British forces in India, and this was a point made by Joe Hawes as he talked with his four comrades. The Connaught Rangers were doing in India, said Joe, the same job that English regiments were doing in Ireland – holding down the people. Did they want to go on doing it? He personally had made up his mind no longer to serve England’s king in that capacity, or any other, until British forces were withdrawn from Ireland. The next day, Monday morning, he intended to go to the guardroom and tell the guard commander that he refused to solider, and ask to be put inside.’Volunteering for the guardroom’ was once a common enough gesture of defiance or protest by British soldiers, usually when under the influence of drink. But, as has been said, Hawes and his four companions were all moderate drinkers, so it was not the case of beer talking. Fired by his eloquence and example, and feeling aggrieved by the news from Ireland which they’d talked about many times, his friends agreed to support and emulate his gesture….
…Early on Monday morning….One man, William Daly, allowed himself to be persuaded, for the time being, that their proposed action would be useless, but the other four – Hawes, Sweeney, Gogarty and Lally – were undeterred.
The quartet presented themselves at the guardroom at eight o’clock that morning, and Joe Hawes addressed the corporal of the guard….’In protest’, he said,’against British atrocities in Ireland, we refuse to soldier any longer in the service of the king’
P49 – after Commanding Officer, Colonel Deacon had spoken to the 35 soldiers who now formed the mutiny
“It was evident from the expression on some of the men’s faces that the colonel’s plea had impressed them. Joe Hawes stepped forward. ‘Colonel’, he said – and to address his C.O. in that way, and not as ‘Sir’, was presumptuous for a British private soldier in those days – ‘all those honours,’ said Hawes, ‘on The Connaughts’ flag were for England. Not a one of them was for poor old Ireland, and it’ll be the greatest honour of them all.’” Whether this speech of Hawes’ would have by itself have nullified the effect of the colonel’s address, we do not know. Other words, not so loudly spoken by the battalion’s adjunct, who was one of the officers present, may have been more decisive. The adjutant was apparently convinced that the colonel had won – that the men would accept his offer. ‘When the men return to their bungalows’, he muttered to the R.S.M., ‘see that Hawes is put under arrest.’ Softly as he spoke, he was overheard by Private Coman, a man from Tipperary who was one of the thirty-five. Immediately Coman shouted :’Never mind putting Hawes in the guardroom! We’re all going there.’ And turning to his comrades, he commanded: ‘Left turn, lads! Back to the guardroom – quick march!’ And regimental to the last, smartly and in perfect order and step, the volunteers wheeled into the guardroom, and back behind the grill.
“In their measures for the security of arms, and in nearly every other activity – guard-mounting, opening and closing of the canteen, and in the daily parade which was still held – the mutineers punctiliously clung to the regiment’s traditional discipline, and to the traditional ceremonial routine. There was, however, one departure from the latter. At sundown every evening, it had been the custom to lower the Union Jack on the flagstaff before the guardroom, re-hoisting it at Reveille. The committee decided that the lowering even temporarily, of the tricolour might be misimterpreted as a sign of surrender. All the night – which ended the first day of the mutiny – the green-white-and-gold flag flew high above the barracks at Jullundur.”
“it will be recalled that on the day following the impressive protest led by Jim Daly at Solon, he, with the the other occupants of the hut above which flew the tricolour, had consented to hand over their rifles and ammunition, which were then stored in the magazine under guard…….
The mutineers’ rifles and ammunition having been handed in, the rest of the day passed without incident. Outside their bungalow, the men who had refused to soldier mixed freely with those who had remained loyal, when the latter were not on parade…….the policy adopted by the officers of the Rangers there seems to have been like Brer Rabbit to ‘lie low and say nuthin’’…..
At dinner in the officers’ mess in Solon that night, a rumour reached the company commander, perhaps through a mess waiter or someone else in touch with the men – that an attempt was to be made by the mutineers to break open the magazine and recover their arms. The magazine, it will be remembered, was guarded by a detachment of bandsmen under their sergeant, all Englishmen, but on hearing this rumour, the company commander ordered the guard to be strengthened and command of it to be taken over by two junior officers armed with revolvers, which they were not to hesitate to use, if attacked.
Curiously, at the time, when the rumour reached the officers’ mess, it was unfounded. Daly was fixed in his determination to abide by a policy of non-violence, especially thanks to his outstanding qualities of leadership, he was firmly in control of his followers. Then rumour once more intervened. Just before the canteen closed that night, around 10 p.m., it began to be whispered among the men drinking there, that terrible things had happened at Jullundur. There had been, it was said, another Amritsar massacre, with the victims this time the mutineers of The Connaught Rangers. English troops had marched in, the story ran, and had ruthlessly mowed down Joe Hawes and hundreds of other men who had protested, with machine guns. Were they going to sit there helpless, some of Daly’s men asked, until the same happened to them? Why should they not break into the magazine and, recovering their arms, die like soldiers selling their lives dearly, not like dumb cattle led to the slaughter? Some who urged this course had, no doubt, drunk quite a few pints of beer that evening, but Jim Daly….was a total abstainer. He told the men he was going to keep his promise to Father Baker, and that in any case, the rumours were probably wild exaggerations.
One of his followers sneered. Was their leader afraid? For all his strength of mind, Jim Daly was too young, and too high-spirited, to remain unmoved by such a remark. He’d show them. He’d lead them to the magazine, if they’d follow. Twenty-seven men volunteered to take part in the operation, which Jim Daly remained level-headed enough to insist should be soberly planned, and carried out after a reconnaissance…. By the light of the moon they could see that the guard had been heavily strengthened. In place of the lone sentry, several men, with rifles to the ready, were patrolling around the magazine, and others could be observed lying on the flat roof, also armed and ready to repel an attack. But Daly had now committed himself and was not the man to draw back…Determined that his followers should know what they were up against, he stressed the strength of the guard and its obvious preparedness to fire on any aggressor. No matter, said the volunteers – it was only bluff and they’d call it. Daly instructed them to be ready to rush the magazine at midnight. Bayonets, the only arms they had, would be carried.
At midnight, with naked bayonets in their hands, the party deployed at the foot of the slope, and, led by Daly, advanced in line uphill…….A challenge from one of the magazine patrol rang out: ‘Halt! Who goes there?’ Again, some guile might have been more effective, but it was not Jim Daly’s way. ‘I am’, he oddly replied, ‘Jim Daly of Tyrrellspass, Westmeath. Hand over our rifles, and there’ll be no trouble.’ ‘If you advance another step,’ called an officer from the roof of the magazine, ‘we’ll fire.’ While he spoke the cassocked figure of a priest came running from the direction of the men’s quarters. It was Father Baker, to whom Daly had given his promise. But before Father Baker could reach the attackers, Jim Daly had spoken. ‘Come on, boys!’ he shouted; ‘charge for Ireland!’ And, clearly marked by the white shirt he wore, contrasting with the army ‘grey-backs’ of the others, he ran up the slope towards the magazine, waving on the men behind with his drawn bayonet. A volley of shots rang out from the roof, and two of the attackers fell to the ground. At that moment Father Baker reached them, and with outspread arms restrained Daly and his followers from advancing further. ‘Cease fire!’ the priest shouted towards the magazine, and then turning to Daly told him that any more bloodshed would be on his head……. Then Father Baker pointing to the two figures lying prone on the ground, urged that they be taken immediately to the medical hut. One of them was already dead. The second, John Egan, had been shot through the lung but lived to nurse that scar, with others received at Mons and Ypres, at his home in County Mayo. The man killed outright was Private Smith.”
“In an interview with an Irish newspaper in 1952 Joe Hawes stated that the shots were fired by two officers, Walsh and McSweeny. He also stated that a second man killed, Sears, was not one of the Mutineers but was hit by a stray bullet whilst walking towards his quarters some way away.”
P103 – when Mutineers held in cells awaited trial
“But an occasional cigarette was not enough to stave off the disease induced by bad and inadequate food. Several of The Rangers were struck down by dysentery, and were reduced to almost skeletons by the time they were brought to trial. ‘I wonder,’ said one of them later, ‘that the witnesses for the prosecution were able to identify some of us. I didn’t recognize myself, when I looked in the glass.’ One man, an Englishman called Miranda, died of dysentery in Dagshai. ‘He wasn’t an Irishman,’ the same informant remarked; ‘But he was a true comrade. God rest his soul!’”
“Daly lies buried in the Simla hills in Dagshai military cemetery – grave number 340.”
Yet another headstone that intrigued with its story – a headstone that shouted out to be place on the TO FIND OUT MORE list.
This headstone is located in Old Kilmurry Cemetery near Passage West. It is not my first blog post from my one visit – and will not be the last.
I did wonder when reading if ‘murder’ was only in the mind and opinion of the grieving brother who erected the headstone to Timothy Connell.
The web quickly led to HistoryIreland which educated that Captain William Stewart did kill Timothy Connell and six others .
However, the court held it was not murder – ‘not guilty, having committed the act while labouring under mental derangement.”
Captain James Gould Raynes, Francis Sullivan, John Keating, James Murley, James Cramer, William Swanson and stableman, Timothy Connell were bound and tied to the floor and attacked with crowbar and then an ax - but they were not legally murdered on board the Mary Russell.
I think I am with Patrick Connell and his use of language.
My first visit to St. James Cemetery at Chetwynd was exactly one month ago. There will be regular visits from here out.
I had seen a photograph of this headstone online but had to seek it out for my own eyes. There was so much to like
I remember Bernie Murphy as a sandwich board man or holding advertising signs around town – regularly throwing out comments at those daring to pass by.
The Dunne Brothers were musicians who would be spotted on Patrick’s St or Princes St or when my grandfather brought me to matches down ‘The Park’ or the Mardyke. They first introduced me to the sound of the banjo.
They and Bernie Murphy were thought by the younger me to be part of Cork that were always there and would always be there – the innocence of youth.
I will be nodding towards Bernie on my regular visits – There You Are, Bernie Murphy…..
I spotted tweets earlier today regarding the formal opening of the former Cork District Model School as the new Courthouse Complex.
There are many photos of the refurbished areas and the new extension – some of the 25,000 replaced bricks
What struck me when the scaffolding came down was not captured in any photograph or clip that I have seen but the mark left of the current generation of craftsmen to remind the future that those in 2017 also assisted its retention.
That April Friday evening, while I was taking my photos, a lady also stopped to look at the newly exposed building. She said that she had gone to school there and was looking forward to being able to look inside.
A few weeks later, in Chetwynd, I was reminded as to the titles I might like on my headstone and wondered if my school or place of employment might be one, probably not for me.
While the women of the house sit in front of a television, waiting for the appearance of a wedding dress, I am contemplating the removal, deliberate or otherwise, of part of the history that remains from when Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.
I have often blogged on matters relating to postboxes – colour & font; split-personalities; repurposing; quirks of manufacture; and, even, the riddle of Shanagarry. Another blog on a post-box should not surprise too many who pass by here often.
This is another reminder to self to continue the populating of the map that I started – hundreds and hundreds still to do.
This blog has been prompted by a tweet from Eoin Lettice about the upcoming Sheppard’s Auction where Lot 2 is a Victorian cast iron pillar postbox, guiding €2,000 - €3,000, previously resident at Patrick’s Street in Cork.
My recording of postboxes only goes back as far as this website and the VR box from Patrick’s St. was before that. If I were to guess, it may have been replaced by the modern rust-bucket style unit, now at the junction with Academy Street, but I may need to flick through books with old photographs to hunt for more clues.
Maybe An Post needed the money and decided to sell off some postboxes from stores. Maybe some ‘enterprising’ person thought that they were being wasted in An Post stores.
The old boxes definitely are better wearing and hardier than that the modern versions. I would have thought that it would be an idea for An Post to keep the old style to replace the postbox causalities – and there have been a few.
There was an old pillar box in Ballyphehane in Cork that is no longer – or substantially no longer. The base is still there and used as a concrete foundation for the new style box. I suspect this was a victim of a road traffic accident.
The Carron Scotland pillar box at the Holy Ground in Dingle lost its battle with a truck that came down Green Street and ended up in the Woolen Store shop. It was replaced by an old-style Handyside pillar box
The Carron, Scotland pillar-box that stood outside Bandon Road Post Office in Cork city is yet another that is no longer.
But whether this was another victim of road traffic or revenge for the ambush at Ballynamona, Mourneabbey is still open to debate and supposition
Above is a painting by Sir John Lavery held in Crawford Art Gallery.
Below are photographs of the interiors of three Cathedrals.
Take your pick.
This blog post has been rambling around my brain for over two years – hopefully it will not be as long when you get to the end.
With the Taoiseach in the White House today, I was reminded as to a story told, possibly with some truth, of metal detectors picking up some strange findings in the White House a while back.
Last December, I had a novel experience accompanied by nuggets of information – local and traditional – that many might consider trivia, but which I believe are pure gems.
It was my first visit to the refurbishment of and extension to a cottage on one of the hills looking down on the city. This is my fourth decade attending building sites but that December Friday was the first time a client arrived to a site meeting with a pot of homemade hearty soup accompanied by some bread and cheese – very welcome they were, as the regular cold wind was blowing up the hill to compliment the damp environment of a house being plastered.
A sheet of plywood acted as the table and it was standing room only. It was not exactly homely, but the food put a stop to all talk of construction details and contract issues. We fell into general chatter which then veered towards traditions.
I had known of Gobnait’s Measure being used as a good luck charm for those in a building. I had visited the house where one of one of the Eucharistic Tiles was on a ledge over the front door to bless all those who enter the house. Until then, I had not known of the luck believed to follow the placing of coins in the floor of a building as it was being poured.
The builder told of a project, only two or three years previous, where the concrete lorry was on site but the builder was under clear instruction not to start pouring the floor until the client arrived with his coins to be placed in the four corners.
His colleague told a story from years back in Adrigole where the house owner left four sovereigns to be placed in the concrete floor as it was being poured. Seemingly, coins were placed in the floor slab, but not to the value of a sovereign.
As I was writing up this blog this evening, with a dirty black pint in Tigh an Cúinne, CC queried the use of a laptop in a pub. He was aware of coins in the floor – not necessarily four.
The morning of that site lunch, I had read that the architect of the White House had been born on that day in 1755 – 8th December. That lunchtime, I had heard that it is believed that the Kilkenny man, James Hoban, had placed coins in the corners of the White House which led to concern when the metal detectors went beeping, centuries later.
Whether true, embellished or pure fiction, I like.
Another blog post prompted by Folklore Thursday and the traditions associated with money……..
A few weeks back, I declined the option of a few hours at the Kildare Village outlet centre. Instead, I enjoyed chill out time around the town of Kildare, ending in a trip around St Brigid’s Cathedral and the adjoining cemetery.
On the corner of the building that I approached, I noted that one of the corner stones had a hole from one side to the other. I was intrigued.
As I was leaving, I spotted someone looking at this closely. When I asked, I learned that this was a wishing stone – one had to pass one’s hand through the stone and make a wish.
I was warned that one could not wish for love or money, as both were to come to you unbidden.
The topic of wealth and money on Folklore Thursday on twitter brought the wishing stone back to mind – reason enough for a blog post.
These steps have been closed for many years.
Growing up, I passed them regularly on my way home. In receipt of religious instruction, I travelled down them.
I cannot dance, or maybe don’t dance, but I clearly remember that there was a sense of rhythm in the moving down those steps – a sense of rhythm that was brought to mind when I walked past earlier this week, for the first time in a few years. It did allow a moment to look back.
Today’s listing from Stair na hÉireann advised that on this day in 1916, Séan Ó Ríordáin was born.
This prompted a reminder to self to finish the grouping of the very many photographs and start uploading here. I have spent a while this afternoon putting together the different aspects relating to Seán Ó Ríordáin that I have encountered in the past few years – as well as a bit of a distraction on YouTube.
SEE ALL HERE
Touch history while you can
I remember, about 25 years ago, speaking with J and N whose job involved visiting a Nursing Home in Mid-Cork once or twice a week. They mentioned that one of the residents had been involved at the Kilmichael Ambush.
At that time, I knew next to nothing of Kilmichael; Cadet Cecil Guthrie; or the effect the ambush and the death of Terence MacSwiney had in heightening tensions so that when the British Army were ambushed at Dillon’s Cross on the night of 11th December, 1920, it led to the Burning of Cork.
If I had the knowledge and interest then, the chance to hear first-hand of that period may have been available – an opportunity that passed by.
From even further back than 25 years, I remember seeing Michael O’Riordan on the television, particularly in and around election times. I remember him speaking on behalf of the Communist Party of Ireland.
I had no knowledge of his involvement in the Spanish Civil War; or, his book, The Connolly Column which led Christy Moore to write Viva La Quinta Brigada – a book that POF kindly gifted to me and which has come down off the shelf and onto the ‘For Reading’ pile.
Indeed, I had little knowledge as to the Spanish Civil War. That interest was piqued many years later, some years after Michael O’Riordan had passed away aged 90.
I would like to think that I would have sought out an opportunity to listen first hand to his experiences in Spain – but that possible chance to touch history had passed unaware.
Last Saturday, I spotted a wreath on Pope’s Quay in the distinctive Republican colours. Very many thanks to Pat Cadogan.
I stood, with my 11 year old, and we again remembered – leaving a small memento.
Sunday, I watched again the Cathal O’Shannon documentary ‘Even the Olives are Bleeding’ and a documentary on Michael O’Riordan where it is suggested that the first communist in Ireland might have been St. Finnbarr.
All of which is a reminder to self to grasp those opportunities and experiences that might be passing by……..
I was sorting through some photographs taken during the Summer and spotted that today was the anniversary of the Earl of Desmond.
As good a reason as any to try to get back to more regular blogging.
Logainm assists with the meaning of Glenageenty – Gleann na Ginnte
Another word added to my Irish vocabulary – dícheann – to behead
Public Realm is definitely a recent buzz word.
From what I have observed on St. Patrick’s Street, Cork; Cornmarket St., Cork; Limerick Railway Station; and, Tralee, there appears to be a formula of sorts including:
Limestone paving, laid to an irregular pattern, with some colour or granite thrown in for good measure
Some timber or stone plinths for seating, but not so comfortable so as to encourage one to stay too long
Stainless steel or maybe timber block traffic bollards with some stainless or colourful bike racks
And some funky light fittings
All involved in the reallocation of vehicular space to pedestrian space.
My conversational Irish weekend took me west of Dingle last April.
Saturday late afternoon had me walking around Dingle when I came across this manhole cover.
It records the raising of the Green Irish Republic flag over the G.P.O. in Easter 1916 by Eamonn Bulfin. Finola on Roaringwater Journal educated that there were actually two flags raised with Gearóid O’Sullivan’s raising the tricolour, remembered in Skibbereen.
I was intrigued as I had not seen one of its type previously, or since – and I do look out for the likes of manhole covers.
Last week, we left our holiday location for a spin over the Conor Pass to Dingle where I was hopeful of discovering more about the manhole cover. It was the first that the Tourist Office knew about the manhole cover. They suggested a visit to the library who were equally unaware.
On the off chance that it was a specially commissioned piece, I did ask at the Green Lane Gallery but they had not spotted what is near their door.
My next step was to be a visit to the Council offices on my next trip west but the internet has provided some answers.
There were manufactured by EJ Co in Birr, Co. Offaly – the former Cavanagh plant. The August 2016 edition of the Local Authority News publication advised that the commemorative covers were designed in conjunction with Siobhan Bulfin.
Twitter revealed that Kerry County Council installed one in Listowel.
I do think that such covers are a great way to record and commemorate, as well as display art – I do hope that there will be more such commemorations to be spotted under our feet.
This may look like many other postboxes – V.R. insignia, made by H & C Smith in Cork – but it has a very unusual feature – a feature that I have not seen on any other postbox, and I have photographed over 850 boxes – new, old, disused, red, green, or many different manufacturers.
There have been more than a few blogs hereabout on various matters relating to postboxes – alternatives use; additional insignia; Queen Elizabeth; old; older; and, oldest.
This postbox, as manufactured in Cork, is likely to have seen service in Ireland. It currently resides in the Bunratty Folk Park where we spent a very pleasant and pleasurable afternoon on Easter Saturday. I do recommend a visit.
There is a second box in the village section of Bunratty – another red box; Victoria Regina; but a Penfolds postbox, similar to Skibbereen.
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