Stories of the Revolution 1916-1923 by local schools

Posted on: 29th June, 2017

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

An important and very valuable archive of local stories, many of them previously unrecorded, has been compiled as a result of a schools’ history project organised by Skibbereen Heritage Centre as part of Cork County Council’s Centenary programme.

As part of the ‘Stories of the Revolution’ project, children from 12 primary schools were asked to collect stories relating to the 1916-1923 period from their own area. The project was based on the highly successful Irish Folklore Commission which gathered so much important local history and folklore from schoolchildren in 1937.

The aim of the project was to raise awareness of the 1916-23 years among primary school students. Pupils were encouraged to gather stories from this period from their own families and their local communities.

Some 235 individual students contributed to the project, many of whom recorded a number of stories. The outcome was an outstanding success – greatly exceeding the organisers’ expectations. From the quality and quantity of the stories submitted it is obvious that the young students engaged fully with the project and enjoyed it thoroughly. The importance and value of the collected stories cannot be over-stated. Many of these stories have been written down for the first time, and so have been saved for posterity.

A presentation for all participating students was held at Skibbereen Community School on Tuesday, June 6, with over 200 girls and boys attending. Each pupil was presented with a certificate of participation and each school was also presented with a certificate.

Skibbereen and Bandon Credit Union, which backed the project fully, sponsored two prizes of €400 each – one for the Best Individual Project and one for the Best Overall School.

Terri Kearney, manager of Skibbereen Heritage Centre and co-ordinator of the project, thanked all those who submitted stories and thanked the students for their outstanding endeavours.

Conor Nelligan, Cork County Council Heritage Officer, praised the students for the quality of their projects. Mr Nelligan said that Cork County Council was proud to support this schools’ project as part of its centenary programme.

Gavin Kiely, Business Development and Lending Manager at Muintir Skibbereen and Bandon Credit Union, also addressed the students and said how much he enjoyed reading their stories.

Katie Scannell, a pupil of St Joseph’s Girls NS, Skibbereen, was the overall winner. Katie’s project appealed greatly to the judges and her entry really epitomised what the project was all about.

The winner of the Best Overall School was Leap NS. The pupils here went to a great deal of trouble, individually and collectively, and the whole school and community seemed to embrace the project – the result being a really outstanding submission.

The Black and Tans

One of the many stories collected by Leap NS referred to a ‘Safe House’ in the area.

“During these years came another rule. Every family had to have a list of names of the people in the house, which they had to keep inside the front door. If the Black and Tans found another person in the house, whose name was not on the list, they would have been shot.

“A man named Con was on the run. He stayed at ‘a safe house’ in Carrigfadda for the night. The family didn’t put his name on the list. The man slept in one of the son’s beds. The woman of the house heard a lorry, she called Con and he escaped through a small back window of the house. When the Black and Tans came they questioned the son who had been sleeping in the same bed as Con. The Black and Tans knew because the bed had been too warm for just one body. The son said he had been sleeping with his sister. The Black and Tans laughed at the thought of a middle aged man sleeping with his sister. Fortunately he got away with it.”

Another story from Leap showed how the Black and Tans were regarded by the people of the village: “The local people didn’t like the Black and Tans. They would quickly go into their homes if they were in the village shopping, they would go home quickly. The Black and Tans would go into the pub and demand whiskey. They wouldn’t pay for it. They’d roll hand grenades around the floor of the pub to frighten people.”

All the stories collected have been digitised and each school was given a digital copy of its students’ work. A database of entries will be created over time and will be available on Skibbereen Heritage Centre’s website.

The students’ work will be deposited at Cork Archives where it will be preserved for posterity. It is envisaged that this archive will be added to over time with submissions from other local schools and will be referenced into the future as the 1937 Schools’ Folklore Commission stories are today.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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