The first headstone to a Crown Forces soldier who died in the Easter Rising that I can recall meeting, was met where Patrick McGrath also lies.
Major Percival Havelock Acheson died on 29 April, 1916 and the headstone gives possibly more priority to Easter Week that the actual calendar date. The desire to find out more prompted by this headstone was satisfied very quickly by the internet.
Major Acheson did not die in Dublin as I had presumed and mentally filed away as I drove away from Castlehyde Cemetery, away from Fermoy towards Ballyhooly. If I had thought of Thomas Kent, and the plaque on the bridge at Fermoy, I might have done some internet searching there and then and discovered that Head Constable William Rowe, who died at Bawnard, is also a resident at Castlehyde – a reason for a return visit as I did not see that on my first visit.
Major Acheson died by a bullet from his own side, possibly a victim of heightened tension and nervy sentries – shot when failing to respond to challenge at a checkpoint outside Fermoy, near Grange.
The Find-A-Grave website appears to have a photograph of the memorial wall in Glasnevin Cemetery recording all of those who died in Easter Rising, including that of Percival Havelock Acheson – a name to look out for when I get to visit.
Died Easter 1916
This is an expression not exclusive to the Republican side – as I would have thought.
A few months back, work brought me up a few floors and next to what has been a feature in the city skyline for years – a feature that held little attraction to my eye.
Up close, I did like the impact.
I remain unconvinced with regard to the attractiveness of the distant view but it did pique a curiosity with regard to detailing in concrete – a curiosity that was stoked further on our recent trip to Holland.
So no signs today – just some lumps of concrete, for a change
And if you have not figured out the building in Cork, here are the views from the very top
Look at those Knockers
One of the things noted on our recent trip to Amsterdam was that there were two or three ironmonger shops – reasonably central and sharing street frontage with coffee shops and the like, not tucked away in some side street, or as appears to be the case in Cork, restricted to an aisle in Woodies or a builders’ providers.
On a walkabout on our final day, the benefit of having ironmongers was spotted.
In Amsterdam, the choice of door knocker is obviously much greater than here.
You can have a have a right hand with a pleated cuff and a ring on second finger
You can have a .right hand with simple cuff and no ring.
You can even have a left hand with a fancy cuff and a ring on the wedding finger.
To me they are all beautiful and so added to my appreciation of the city.
Off The Rails
Regular visitors hereabouts will be aware of my attraction for ironwork and metalwork, and particularly old cast metalwork – be it envious of a hopper; the attraction of a forge; the detail in a gutter bracket; a wheelguard calling out to be touched; a graveyard memorial; or even just a kerb.
I own up and admit to being a sucker for a nice piece of metal, or stone, or carving.
Leiden – Take a Bow
We had a family weekend break to Amsterdam – absolutely lovely, clean, easy transport, attractive and interesting buildings. There was so much to keep me distracted.
On the Sunday, we visited an old friend in Leiden and got the short version of the guided tour.
Benny McCabe and the Munster Lit have done their bit in Cork. Poe-A-Tree can pop up anywhere. Galway has long been the gold standard in public poetry but that mantle now rests with Leiden.
We only spotted three of the poems painted onto the walls of buildings. They were impressive enough. Wikipedia advises that there are actually 110 – in very many different languages.
I think it would be great if the grant from Cork City Council for painting the external walls of buildings in parts of the city centre could be enhanced for such a venture.
There are so many gable walls that could give back to the city a few chill-out moments, a chance for a tabularasa episode – just a poem to distract.
It has prompted me to start a map of street art, including poetry, that I have encountered and photographed. Hopefully it will get completed within the next few months.
A Father Remembers
I approached this graveyard memorial from the back. It was definitely interesting looking, demanding further inspection. It did not disappoint.
Often the word ‘Erected’ can be seen engraved on headstones. The unique style of this memorial did suggest that Daniel Courtney himself both made and erected the memorial to his wife and son.
The Irish harp and the dates around 1916 added to intrigue.
This was another from my visit to Kilmurry Cemetery in Passage West that went on the TO FIND OUT MORE list – surviving there for only a very short while, compliments of the internet.
The 1901 census confirms that Daniel Courtney was a blacksmith and lived with his wife, Kate, and his 4 year old son, James in 95 Hibernian Buildings in Cork city, an area known as Jewtown. The 1911 Census still has the three in the same house but records that there was a second child, who no longer survived.
To me, that only adds to the power and symbolism of the memorial.
The census records the son as James – so like Thomas Curtin, the name was changed to the Irish version.
The website, History of Na Fianna Éireann, has a photograph of Seamus Courtney who was born in 1897; who became Officer Commanding of Na Fianna in Munster in 1915; who spent three months in Cork Gaol in 1917; who was co-opted by Tómas MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney onto Battalion Council of Irish Volunteers; and, who died at his aunt’s house in Ballymacelligott in 1918.
The Bureau of Military History witness statement of Commandant P.J. Murphy records that the funeral of Seamus Courtney in Passage West involved firing three volleys of shots, the first time since Easter 1916 that firearms were publicly used.
Daniel Courtney died a few years later in 1921, shortly after the truce following the War of Independence.
It is somewhat disappointing to this observer that his name is remembered in stone and not in the medium of metal with which he worked and with which, I presume, he himself remembered his own family with the pike, a symbol of Irish uprising for centuries; the harp of the Irish Volunteers and the sunburst of Fianna Eireann
Pauline Murphy had an article in The Cork Advertiser which provided more information on Seamus Courtney
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.
UPDATE – 2018.10.29
Thanks to Louvain Rees on Twitter, I read a very interesting article on the BBC News website on Murder Stones – headstones where the deceased has been murdered and the headstone contains details.
It makes reference to a book edited by Dr Jan Bondeson which featured a number of Murder Stones.
I sense that this may make an appearance on my bookshelf at some stage…..
Fly The Flag
Driving down Patrick’s Hill this morning, I spotted a Union Jack flying on Brown Thomas building which was a pile of stones of the former Cash’s in 1920.
City Hall had two Union Jack flags – on the new Civic Offices, and on the City Hall rebuilt in 1932 following the Burning of Cork.
Last week, I was chatting with MOC about the measures being put in place for the visit of Charles and Camilla today to Cork.
He mentioned that when Queen Elizabeth visited a few years back, he saw a Union Jack flying over City Hall. He said that it was not flying there for long as less than an hour later he looked and it was not there – he wondered if the memories of Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney tugged at someone’s conscience.
There were no such tuggings this morning – nearly 100 years on, it is now ok to fly the Union Jack.
Finding One’s Space
Our Voices Spoke In Secret –
Until We Found Our Space
Last Sunday, we discovered Ballyallen Wood on the outskirts of Midleton.
The earlier rain had brought out the smells of the forest and had possibly put off a few visitors. A glorious place. We will be back.
Having parked up, the street art on the bridge under the N25 brought a smile. It was appreciated by this passer-by.
Well done to all – Splattervan; Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services; Cork County Council; and, Midleton Arts Festival
Street Art – A New Variety
A warm sunny Monday morning had me walking up Anglesea Street.
I spotted something never seen before with these eyes – paintings standing against the railings of the Model School/Courthouse.
They appeared to be unattended. They did not appear to be for sale – more for taking to a good home. Maybe the artist was travelling and could not take all work. Maybe a studio needed a clearout.
Maybe, the artist, Sophia Felumaz was just having a bit of fun.
My meetings went on quite a bit and I did not return via Anglesea Street so can only hope that they found a home, and not a skip
Maybe ‘a’ scarpered at the last emergency and was unable to be reinstated with’a’, ‘r’ and ‘e’.
Or maybe not…….
Does Laura Ashley ever learn?
The UK Spring Bank Holiday is the last Monday in May. In Ireland, the first Monday in June is the Bank Holiday. I have known this for years. I cannot recall how or why I learned it but it is not difficult to establish. Or so I thought.
I smiled last year on Saturday 27th May when I saw the Bank Holiday marketing in the window of Laura Ashley in Merchant’s Quay Shopping Centre, wondering if the local staff had advised the UK Marketing gurus as to their screw-up and us not having a bank holiday here for another week.
I smiled even further the following Thursday thinking the local staff had taken matters into their own hands; bastardised the posters; and, extended the discount for a second weekend.
Roll on one year and no lesson learned. The 40% discount was back – for the UK Bank Holiday weekend of 24th – 29th May.
It appears though that local staff must have got reprimanded last year for the second discount weekend. This morning there was a ‘Spring and Summer’ promotion, no special Bank Holiday discount on the weekend when we actually have a Bank Holiday.
And to think that Ireland has been a separate state for only 96 years……
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