Cork to seek State funding for Rebel City commemoration events

Cork to seek State funding for Rebel City commemoration events

The ruins of the Munster Arcade, now Penneys store, following the Burning of Cork in 1920, one of the events which the Lord Mayor of Cork is looking to commemmorate in the next phase of the 100-year anniversaries.

CORK is set to take a central position in the next phase of 100-year anniversaries commemorating events from the War of Independence and subsequent Civil War.

Cork City Council is currently preparing a submission to the Commemorations Unit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht seeking significant funding and providing input around the next phase of commemorations that will continue until 2023 and the 100th anniversary of the Irish Free State’s admission to the League of Nations.

Terence MacSwiney’s funeral. Mercier Archives
Terence MacSwiney’s funeral. Mercier Archives

In 2016, much of the commemorative events for the 1916 Easter Rising took place in Dublin. However, as subsequent events spread throughout the country, commemorative events will take place nationwide. In Cork, the deaths of two Lords Mayor, Tomás MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney, the Burning of Cork city, the Kilmichael Ambush and the Crossbarry engagement were some of the most significant events.

The funeral of Tomás MacCurtain.
The funeral of Tomás MacCurtain.

Current Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, said he would be seeking the support of councillors for a submission to the Government on the importance of recognising the contribution of Cork city and the wider region to many of the important events of this time. “The Easter ceremonies held two years ago were marked appropriately and correctly in Dublin, given the events were centred on the capital,” he said. “However, subsequent to the Rising, there were significant historical events taking place around the country, in particular in Cork.”

“The 1918 General Election saw the election of Liam de Róiste, inset right, for Cork. Then in 1920, you had the deaths of Lords Mayor Tomás MacCurtain and then Terence MacSwiney.”

A unit of Cork fire brigade pictured in Patrick Street following the burning of Cork city centre by crown forces in 1920.
A unit of Cork fire brigade pictured in Patrick Street following the burning of Cork city centre by crown forces in 1920.

“The end of 1920 also saw the Burning of Cork, one of the most significant single events during the War of Independence,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “It is important these and other events are commemorated appropriately and they merit significant funding in the same way that 1916 was commemorated in Dublin.”

The Commemorations Unit in the Department is carrying out a consultation process to stimulate a public conversation around how the significant and sensitive historical events might be appropriately remembered. The Lord Mayor underlined the importance of commemorating these events in a sensitive way. Speaking last September, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Paul Colton, said the commemorations are ‘anticipated fearfully and with a certain dread’ by some members of his community. “The coming centenary years call for careful thought and even more careful and sensitive commemoration.” He suggested that reconciliation should be the focus.

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