Clonakilty Historical Walks

Clonakilty Historical Walks

Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage​,​ ​is once again providing​ guided historical walks ​of​ Clonakilty ​t​own for visitors, (and locals!), each Wednesday evening for July and August.
​This is the third summer the group has organised the popular free walks, which attracted between 30 - 40 people each evening over the last two years.
Local historians who are members of Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage group lead the tours concentrating on the town centre area.​
Interested people should meet at 7pm at the Michael Collins statue which is the starting point. No pre-booking required, and the guided walks are completely free of charge​, and suitable for most people as all the route is on the flat​.​ The walks last approx. an hour and a quarter.​

Clonakilty 1798 battle remembered

Clonakilty 1798 battle remembered

PHOTO: Among the organisers and participants who attended the annual Battle of the Big Cross commemoration on Monday evening were front from left: Cionnaith Ó Súílleabháin, (flag-bearer); Ger O’ Driscoll, (trumpet player); Tim Feen, (Cathaoirleach Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage who organised the event); Mayor of Clonakilty, John Loughnan, (who laid the wreath); Mary and Neil O’ Loughlin, (relatives of Tadhg an Asna); Diarmuid Kingston, (who gave an account of the battle and it's context); Rachael Cronin and Traolach Ó Donnabháin, (flag-bearer).

Back: Dúchas members Cllr. Paul Hayes, MCC; Jerry O’ Leary; Noreen Minihan; Phil O’ Regan; Michael O’ Mahony; Marian O’ Leary; Clíodhna O’ Leary; Fachtna McCarthy; Eileen O’ Regan and Conor O’ Leary. (Photo: Anthony Brennan, Dúchas).

Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage remembered the 219th anniversary of the 1798 Battle of the Big Cross at Asna Square on Monday evening last (19th June). The non-political historical event commemorates the only rising in the whole of Munster during the historic year of 1798. The tricolour and Clonakilty 1798 bicentenary flags were held at each side of the monument as Cathaoirleach Tim Feen welcomed all and Mayor John Loughnan laid the wreath and addressed the gathering. 

Diarmuid Kingston gave a detailed account of the years leading up to 1798 in West Cork, the battle itself and the aftermath for the people of the area. Included at the gathering were Niall and Mary McLoughlin who attend annually from England. Mary is a descendant of the O’ Donovan Asna’s of whom Tadhg of course was leader of the United Irishmen on the day of the battle on 19th June 1798. 

The ceremony concluded with Ger O’ Driscoll playing "Amhrán na bhFiann" on trumpet. As well as locals there were also visitors from Scotland in attendance, and Jerry O’ Leary brought along his 110 years old “All for Ireland League” Darrara branch banner.

1798 "Battle of the Big Cross" to be remembered in Clonakilty

1798 "Battle of the Big Cross" to be remembered in Clonakilty

Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage, a local, non-political historical organisation in Clonakilty will remember "The Battle of the Big Cross" next Monday evening, 19th June at 8pm at Asna Square.


Large crowd hear about C. O. Stanley of Lisselane Estate

A large crowd, including many people who have had associations with Lisselan Estate over the last 70 - 80 years, attended the Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage lecture on “C. O. Stanley of Lisselan Estate” at the Clonakilty Parish Centre last week. For most of an hour, Dúchas member and local historian Fachtna McCarthy enthralled the audience with the life story of Mr. Stanley (born Charles Orr Stanley in April 1899).

Fachtna traced his interesting and fascinating life from childhood growing up in Cappoquin, Waterford where his family had a hardware store, to his death in 1989 and burial at Kilmalooda Church of Ireland cemetery a couple of miles from Lisselan Estate, which he had purchased in 1930.

He emigrated to England at a young age, served towards the end of WW1, and then developed his business interests and was very influential particularly during World War 2. He had a fascination with radio and the developing invention called television, and for over thirty years he was head of PYE - at the time one of Britain's foremost electronic companies. Mr. Stanley led a campaign to set up independent television in Britain, thus breaking the monopoly enjoyed by the B.B.C. and he also championed the establishment of local radio. He was awarded both CBE and an OBE during the Second World War and an honorary doctorate from Trinity College. 

In Ireland, he was the head of Sunbeam Wolsey, Cork's largest employer for many years and also established, among many other businesses, Unidare, one of Ireland's largest industries in the 1960s. He was named “Businessman of the Year” 1960 in Britain after his successful challenge to break the monopoly enjoyed by telephone manufacturers. And while he was engaged in business at such a level in England, he spent as much time as he could at Lisselan.

Fachtna stated that Seán Lemass was one of the regular visitors to Lisselan as he was trying to industrialise and modernise Ireland in the late 1950's and '60's. 

It wasn't always smooth sailing however and the family lost control of PYE in the late 1960's and he got into financial difficulties. The developing Japanese electronics industry and importing of their cheaper appliances to Britain took their toll on PYE in a short time. He decided to put half of the 900 acres of the estate up for sale but this was dogged in controversy when the then Catholic Bishop of Cork, Dr. Con Lucey made a controversial public statement on the matter at a Confirmation Sermon in Timoleague. 

At Lisselan Estate, he was highly respected by his workers, their families and the wider community. He provided transport for children living on the estate to schools and also supported them financially to get into third level colleges and universities. 
He was married three times, had a life-long interest in rowing and was a strong swimmer, often swimming for miles off Rosscarbery and Clonakilty.

He was also generous to charities and trusts he set up are still administered by his grandsons.

In the interesting question and answer section after Fachtna's lecture, a number of former workers relayed their happy experiences of working on the estate. They and others before them had spent long numbers of years working there and one man stated that at one stage there were 27 men employed full-time on Lisselan Estate.  
CO Stanley died in 1989 and was buried in Kilmalooda Cemetery and had been pre-deceased by his son John. Following his passing, the Lisselan Estate was put up for sale, and 28 years later is again on the market by the present owners.

Membership 2017


Membership subscription is now being accepted for 2017 and can be paid to John Hayes or Factna McCarthy, Cisteoirí /Treasurers, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage

Membership form can be downloaded here.

New members are always welcome.

Membership Fee: €10

Students: €5

Families: €25

Railway lecture

There wasn’t a seat on the train metaphorically speaking at the recent Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage illustrated lecture on the West Cork Railway system which was delivered by Maurice McCarthy at the Parish Centre. 

In his hour-long talk using 150 slides (operated by Gerard Butler), Maurice took the enchanted audience on a trip from Albert Quay Station, along the main line to Bantry and all the lines off it, stopping at every station. Given that the system closed down in 1961, the slides were from various decades before that.  

The trains began running in 1849, when the first section, from Ballinhassig to Bandon, was opened.  By 1893, it ran from Albert Quay in Cork City to Skibbereen, with extensions to Kinsale, Clonakilty, Courtmacsherry, Bantry and Baltimore. 

The Clonakilty line included a short siding to Shannonvale Mill, which used a wagon along the track pulled by a horse called Paddy. 

There were some wonderful photos of city crowds arriving at Courtmacsherry for the Sunday excursions and wagons of beet at Timoleague loaded ready to head to Cork and onto Mallow. 

During the lecture, Maurice interspersed the serious history talk with funny stories of events and individuals and there was also some audience participation when people saw relatives on the screen in front of them. Also in the audience were people who had close associations with the railway system who brought along some memorabilia. 

Cathaoirleach of Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage, Tim Feen and Marian O’ Leary who organised the lecture thanked Maurice for an excellent lecture.