Dave Mac’s Cork History Matters


Latest Episodes from Dave Mac’s Cork History Matters


16th of Jan 2023
John Creedon on An Irish Folklore Treasury and his interest in placenames, history, language and lore
John Creedon talks to Dave Macardle about his book An Irish Folklore Treasury and explains the roots of his love of place names, history, language and lore. The book is a people’s history of Ireland and introduces a fascinating collection of stories from the Schools’ Collection. This treasure trove of old stories, ways and wisdom, which could have been lost for ever, was collected by schoolchildren as part of a nationwide project set up in the 1930s to preserve Irish folklore. Published here for the first time, this ‘best of’ selection includes chapters on ghost stories, agriculture, forgotten trades, schooling and pastimes. The result is an incredible arc of folk history that tells us about ourselves and how we lived long ago. Click to listen and drink deep…

27th of Dec 2022
Author Jim O’Neill on The Nine Years War Part 2 – From The Battle of Kinsale 1601 to The Flight of the Earls 1607
The Nine Years War was one of the most traumatic and bloody conflicts in the history of Ireland. Encroachment on the liberties of the Irish lords by the English crown caused Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone, to build an unprecedented confederation of Irish lords leading a new Irish military armed with pike and shot. Backed by Philip II of Spain, Tyrone and his allies outclassed the forces of the English Crown, achieving a string of stunning victories and bringing the power of Elizabeth I in Ireland to the brink of collapse. The opening shots were fired in Ulster, but from 1593 to 1599 war engulfed all of Ireland. The conflict consumed the lives and reputations of Elizabeth’s court favourites as they struggled to cope with the new Irish way of war. Sophisticated strategy and modern tactics made the Irish war appear unwinnable to many in England, but Lord Mountjoy’s arrival as deputy in 1600 changed everything. Mountjoy reformed the demoralized English army and rolled back the advances achieved by Tyrone. Mountjoy’s success was crowned by his shattering defeat of Tyrone and his Spanish allies at Kinsale in 1601, which ultimately led to the earl’s submission in 1603, though not before famine, misery and atrocity took their toll on the people of Ireland. Includes O’Sullivan Bere’s battles in Glengarrif wood, under siege at Dunboy Castle and long tragic walk north to O’Rourke country in the late winter of 1603. Part 2 commences at the onset of the battle of Kinsale Christmas Eve 1601 James O’Neill is an archaeologist and an alumnus of the QUB History department. He completed a two year post-doctorate fellowship in the School of History, University College Cork, before returning to Belfast where he now works as a heritage consultant, specializing in battlefield/conflict archaeology

27th of Dec 2022
Author Jim O’Neill on The Nine Years War Part 1 – Up To The Battle of Kinsale 1601
The Nine Years War was one of the most traumatic and bloody conflicts in the history of Ireland. Encroachment on the liberties of the Irish lords by the English crown caused Hugh O’Neill, earl of Tyrone, to build an unprecedented confederation of Irish lords leading a new Irish military armed with pike and shot. Backed by Philip II of Spain, Tyrone and his allies outclassed the forces of the English Crown, achieving a string of stunning victories and bringing the power of Elizabeth I in Ireland to the brink of collapse. The opening shots were fired in Ulster, but from 1593 to 1599 war engulfed all of Ireland. The conflict consumed the lives and reputations of Elizabeth’s court favourites as they struggled to cope with the new Irish way of war. Sophisticated strategy and modern tactics made the Irish war appear unwinnable to many in England, but Lord Mountjoy’s arrival as deputy in 1600 changed everything. Mountjoy reformed the demoralized English army and rolled back the advances achieved by Tyrone. Mountjoy’s success was crowned by his shattering defeat of Tyrone and his Spanish allies at Kinsale in 1601, which ultimately led to the earl’s submission in 1603, though not before famine, misery and atrocity took their toll on the people of Ireland. Includes O’Sullivan Bere’s battles in Glengarrif wood, under siege at Dunboy Castle and long tragic walk north to O’Rourke country in the late winter of 1603. Part 1 leads up to the onset of the battle of Kinsale Christmas Eve 1601 James O’Neill is an archaeologist and an alumnus of the QUB History department. He completed a two year post-doctorate fellowship in the School of History, University College Cork, before returning to Belfast where he now works as a heritage consultant, specializing in battlefield/conflict archaeology.

16th of Dec 2022
Faeries, Felons and Fine Gentlemen: A History of the Glen, Cork 1700-1980
Gerard Martin O’Brien traces a history of what is now the Glen River Park from its origins as a site of milling, and industry through to the 1980s, when it was donated to the people of Cork by Sir Basil Goulding. Whole generations of people used this space as an unofficial amenity area long before it became a park and the book reveals it’s now forgotten story. Here he is in conversation on the matter with Dave Macardle

12th of Dec 2022
Cork History Matters- Elvera Butler Downtown Kampus 1977 – 1981
Elvera Butler on ‘Downtown Kampus at The Arcadia 1977-81’ In this Cork History Matters podcast chat Elvera Butler tells Dave Macardle the story of one of Cork’s most important musical institutions, the Downtown Kampus at The Arcadia. As Colm O’Callaghan of the brilliant Blackpool Sentinel music history blog put it “The Downtown Kampus rightly enjoys a mythical standing in the history of contemporary music in Cork, as much for the quality and spirit of the music it hosted as for what it represented in wider socio-cultural terms.” An essential proving ground for a young U2 – who took their sound and road crew from those who worked at the venue – to varied names like John Otway, The Beat, The Specials, Nun Attax, XTC, Sleepy Hollow, The Only Ones, The Blades, UB40, The Undertones, The Cure, The Damned, Doctor Feelgood, The Virgin Prunes and hundreds of others all played this hugely influential and inspirational. It was the petri dish for Cork’s alternative music culture that lead to all that was to come throughout the 80s, into the 90s and beyond. Run by Thurles native Elvera Butler and partner Andy Foster, The Arcadia was one of the few places in Cork city that would host punk bands. Butler had been the entertainments officer at University College Cork, and so the venue became known as the ‘Downtown Kampus’. The punk scene that developed in the late at the Arc was an important turning point for emerging Cork punk music; until then live music in the city had consisted mostly of Blues and pub rock bands. According to Mean Features guitarist Liam Heffernan, “the [emerging post-punk] scene was amazing….there was nothing else really in late Seventies and early Eighties Cork. Heavy industry was whacked. Elvera Butler brought some fantastic music to Cork. That woke us all up.”

28th of Nov 2022
Colum Kenny author of A Bitter War discusses the Irish Civil War 1922-23
Author Colum Kenny discusses his new book ‘A Bitter Winter,’ a succinct but graphicly detailed dive into the turbulent years of the Irish civil war through the eyes of its key activists on both sides – Michael Collins, Harry Boland, Mary McSwiney and Richard Mulcahy. Reflecting on the lasting bitterness engendered by civil war, Kenny relates it to current tensions surrounding the future of Northern Ireland. Colum aims to foster an informed discussion about the foundation of the Irish state, with the civil war grasped as relevant today rather than politely skirted. The so-far limited coverage of the civil war dodges the bullet, despite its obvious relevance given Sinn Féin’s current trajectory and that party’s insistence on a border poll. Cork, like many other places throughout Ireland, suffered during the conflict that dragged on into the Spring of 1923. Kenny says, “We should be talking about such events now, because they are still relevant to politics on this island”. Colum’s book touches on the life of Seán Hales, the Co. Cork leader in the war with England who was shot and killed on his way to the Dáil. Seán Hales was pro-Treaty and fought on the opposite side of the war to his anti-treaty brother, though they’d been raised together on their Cork farm. Arrested and imprisoned during the 1916 rebellion, after his death the Cork Examiner described him as ‘the man who kept the [IRA] men together in South and West Cork, and was in many ambushes […] He was one of Michael Collins’ closest friends.’

11th of Nov 2022
UCC historian and author Gabriel Doherty in conversation with Dave Macardle discussing his role in the brand-new Cork University Press publication: ‘The Art and Ideology of Terence MacSwiney: Caught in the living flame.’
Lord Mayor of Cork and Commandant of the Cork no 1 Brigade of the IRA, Terence MacSwiney is most famous as the central figure in one of the great hunger strikes in world history, which culminated in his death in October 1920, aged 41, in Brixton prison, London, after a fast of 74 days. For many years prior to his demise, however, he had been an active participant in the intense cultural and political debates that characterised Irish life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In these exchanges MacSwiney employed a variety of literary forms to express his support for the political separation of Ireland from Britain and the promotion of indigenous culture. These writings, regrettably, were overshadowed by the manner of his death, and for the most part have been unavailable to the public ever since. The volume seeks to re-awaken interest in this aspect of MacSwiney’s contribution to Irish life by making these texts available in a single volume for the first time. They cover the span of his adult life, from 1900 onwards: firstly as a published poet; subsequently as a dramatist, and finally as a prose writer. While his work as a member of Dáil Éireann, meant that he had much less time to devote to his writings in the last eighteen months of his life, the last texts included here date from shortly before the arrest and imprisonment that provoked his hunger strike. Authors are Gabriel Doherty, Fiona Brennan and Neil Buttimer.

14th of Oct 2022
Cork History Matters – Anne Twomey of Shandon Area History Group on the book and documentary ‘Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times’
First a book by the Shandon Area History Group and now documentary produced by Frameworks Films – screened as part of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Indie Cork 2022 – ‘Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times’ tells the story of five women – Nora and Sheila Wallace and Mary, Annie and Muriel MacSwiney. These women played a vital role in the formation of the Irish state and yet the detail of what they did and how they managed to do these tasks whilst still playing their other roles as wives, mothers, teachers and shopkeepers has received little attention. The documentary first tells the story of how the Wallace sisters ran a newsagents shop on Augustine Street in Cork city centre, which effectively became the unofficial headquarters of the No 1 Brigade of the Cork Volunteers after their own headquarters on Sheares St was closed after the Rising. The second family to feature in the documentary are the MacSwiney family. Mary and Annie MacSwiney were the sisters of Terence MacSwiney, former Lord Mayor of Cork, whose death by hunger strike whilst imprisoned in Brixton Prison made international headlines and Muriel MacSwiney, their sister-in-law, was his wife. For more see http://www.shandonareahistorygroupcork.com/ and https://frameworksfilms.com/

14th of Oct 2022
Anne Twomey Shandon Area History Group – A brief discussion of Shandon and other notable historical aspects of Cork City
Anne Twomey of Shandon Area History Group tells Dave about the formation of the group, pays tribute to the woman who sparked her interest in history and indulges Dave’s curiosity about a range of aspects of Cork City’s history, joining him for a gentle discursive ramble through parts of Cork city – primarily around the Shandon area of Cork’s north side – all a prelude to their longer chat – a separate pod post – about the book and documentary ‘Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times,’ which tells the story of five women – Nora and Sheila Wallace and Mary, Annie and Muriel MacSwiney – who played an important role in the revolutionary period in Cork. For more see http://www.shandonareahistorygroupcork.com/

14th of Sep 2022
Cork History Matters – Battle for Cork with Gerry White and John Borgonovo
In this Cork History Matters podcast Dave chats to historians John Borgonovo & Gerry White. John from UCC and military historian Gerry are both authors of ‘The Battle for Cork’ and ‘The Burning of Cork’ respectively and both were involved in assisting the presenting of The Battle for Cork, through the Lens of William D. Hogan, a new exhibition newly opened at St Peters Cork. The Battle for Cork, fought between the National Army and Anti-Treaty IRA in August 1922, one of the most significant military operations in the Irish Civil War, it saw the free state army drive the anti-treaty IRA out of Cork following an amphibious landing at Passage West and a fierce series of gun battles through Rochestown and Garyduff woods. Photographer William David Hogan, born in Quartertown, Mallow, was a commercial and press photographer who had a studio in Henry Street in Dublin. During the Civil War he became what today would be known as an ‘embedded’ photographer with the National Army and he accompanied that force during the Battle for Cork. The photographs he took during that time were subsequently arranged by National Army Chaplain, Fr. Denis J. Wilson. Today they are known as the Hogan-Wilson Collection and are held in the National Library of Ireland. To visit the exhibit visit: https://stpeterscork.ie/whats-on/?e=11139213&rand=75027

19th of Aug 2022
Cork History Matters – Michael Collins Grand-Nephew Aidan O’Sullivan talks of ‘The Big Fellow’
Grandnephew of Michael Collins in conversation with Dave on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Béal na Bláth ambush in West Cork that robbed Ireland of one the most charismatic, intelligent and impressive figures of the age. He died aged just 31. ‘The Big Fellow’, as he was known, from Lisavaird near Clonakilty in West Cork was an Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence. Having fought in the Easter Rising in 1916, Collins rose through the political ranks and was elected as a TD for South Cork and appointed Minister for Finance in the first Dáil. He was a major figure in the War of Independence, a key negotiator of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State and commander-in-chief of the National Army until his untimely death during the Irish Civil War. On Tuesday, August 22 1922 Collins departed the Imperial Hotel at 6.15 am via Pembroke Street where the main entrance to the Hotel was at that time. Travelling with Emmet Dalton in a yellow Leyland Thomas Straight Eight touring car, along with a small military convoy, they headed to Macroom, Crookstown, Bandon, Clonakilty and Skibbereen. The convoy was ambushed by anti-treaty forces at Béal na Bláth just before sunset, at 7.30 pm where Collins was fatally wounded. He was initially transferred to the armoured car and then the touring car for the sombre return journey. Collins’ body was brought back to the Imperial Hotel where he was examined by a military doctor and formally pronounced dead. He was tragically just 31 years old at the time of his death. Fittingly Cork’s Grande Dame, The Imperial Hotel, has announced plans to mark the 100-year anniversary of the death of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. One of Cork’s most famous sons, Collins was a regular guest and poignantly spent the last two nights of his life at the city centre hotel, in room 115, which had been used as a military headquarters at the time. They will be joined on the date of the anniversary by relatives of Michael Collins, who will officially open the new ‘Michael Collins Suite’ and unveil a newly commissioned portrait of the revolutionary leader. About 30 of Collins’s relatives will have spent the night previous as guests of the hotel before joining for a private family breakfast on ahead of the portrait unveiling at 10am Monday 22nd August.

7th of Jul 2022
Cork History Matters – Dr Paul McCarthy on 300 Years of Royal Cork Yacht Club Ahead of Volvo Cork Week 2022
Hear many stories culled from the archives of the world’s oldest yacht club, Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC), dating back to at least 1720, as told by Dr Paul, including how the club came to be and how it developed over the years from Kinsale to Haulbowline to Cobh and finally Crosshaven. Other stories that tie into and connect with RCYC include Austrian Emperors of Mexico, American 1st World War destroyers and the kindly German U-Boat commanders that destroyed them, as well as many other vignettes that illustrate the wealth of history and prestige connected with the club. Volvo Cork Week returns to the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven from the 10th to 15th of July. Highlights include World Class Racing, a classic yacht regatta, and a Family Fun Day on Sunday 10th July in the club and village, from twelve to five. There’s something for all with a fun fair, boat trips, coastal walks, games, coastal market, and children’s workshop with marine scientist Finn Van De Aar. See Cork Week dot ie. Volvo Cork Week, proudly supported by Cork’s RedFM.

19th of May 2022
Cork History Matters-Donal Gallagher on Brother Rory Irelands Greatest Bluesman
Ireland’s first great rock icon was Cork’s Rory Gallagher…this is the first part of his story, as told to Dave MacArdle by proud brother and long-time manager Donal, taking him from Ballyshannon in Donegal to Derry to MacCurtain street in Cork, to school in the North Mon to the first guitar from Crowley’s right up to the formation of the soon-to-be world-conquering legendary three piece Taste.

14th of May 2022
Cork History Matters – Tom Spalding on The Cork International Exhibition of 1902 to 1903
The Cork International Exhibition of 1902 was an enormous feat of organisation that hosted some 1.8 million visitors and attracted enormous international attention on Cork. It was decided that a similar exhibition would be held in 1903, it was too a triumph and was visited by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Held on what is now Fitzgerald park – named after the Lord Mayor who first proposed and then spearheaded the massive undertaking – it’s a story that will delight & surprise in equal measure. From nationalists to unionists to bellydancers to the Japanese Imperial Navy, it’s got the lot.

4th of Mar 2022
Cork History Matters – The Tale of The West Cork Fisherman & DJ Andrew Weatherall’s Tattoos with Gerard Sheehy
The Tale of The West Cork Fisherman & DJ Andrew Weatherall’s Tattoos ‘Fail We May, Sail We Must’ Dave chats to Gerard Sheehy from Baltimore in the latest edition of Cork History Matters. You also have the option to watch the full podcast conversation in our video section here.   You can listen to more episodes of Dave Mac’s Cork History Matters on our website here: https://d21uc2jkdtk9j5.cloudfront.net/shows/dave-macs-cork-history-matters/

15th of Feb 2022
Cork History Matters – 1922 From Handover to Civil War
Gabriel Doherty of UCC History department discusses Cork & Ireland in 1922. From the British handover to Michael Collins at Dublin Castle in January to the civil war that broke out 6 months later. Includes in-depth discussion of how these events of 100 years ago continue to have ramifications for us today.

17th of Jan 2022
Cork History Matters – Mountain Dew Festival Macroom
In this Cork History Matters podcast Dave Mac delves deep into the story of Ireland’s first outdoor music festival in Macroom in the late 70s in the company of Cork author & publisher Roz Crowley whose book Macroom Mountain Dew, available at Waterstones, Nano Nagle Place on Douglas Street and online. The Mountain Dew festival first featured Marianne Faithful in a dome borrowed from the Rose of Tralee committee and then by Cork’s very own local hero, the international rock superstar that was Rory Gallagher. Other acts to feature include Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, The Chieftains, Paul Brady, Horslips, Paul Young, The Dubliners, and many more. Gripped by festival fever, each year the town staged a programme of community events including pig races, glassy alley competitions, talent shows, slow bicycle races, historical lectures, brass and pipe band recitals, barbecues and football matches. It was a festival for Ireland, and for the people of Macroom. You can listen to more episodes of Cork History Matters here

28th of Sep 2021
Cork History Matters – Truce, Treaty, Free State & Civil War
The latest in a series of conversations with UCC historian Gabriel Doherty who takes Dave through the dramatic events of the Truce in summer 1921, the Treaty in late 21, the foundation of the Free State in early 22 and the outbreak of Civil War in the summer of 1922…includes the intrigues of Collins & Dev, the amphibious invasion of Cork by Free State forces and the murder of Collins at Beal Na Blath.

5th of May 2021
Cork History Matters – The Dramatic First 6 Months Of 1921
Dave Macardle continues his series of conversations with UCC historian Gabriel Doherty who takes him through the dramatic events of the first 6 months of 1921 in Ireland’s War of Independence. From Tom Barry’s dramatic escape at Crossbarry to the beginnings of the truce negotiations and lots more besides.

15th of Feb 2021
Cork History Matters – The story behind Skellig Night (Shrove Tuesday) & Bonna night (St. John’s Eve)
In this latest Cork History Matters Podcast Dave Macardle is in conversation with local historian Dunmanway man Kieran Connolly – author of ‘Sam Maguire: The Man and The Cup’ – who tells of the old and rather strange traditions associated with ‘Skellig Night’ that occurred on Shrove Tuesday or the eve of Lent. He also talks of the traditions of St. John’s Eve (June 23rd) or ‘Bonna Night’ as its still known in Cork. Image: James Beale, Skellig Night on South Mall Cork 1845, 1845. Collection Crawford Art Gallery, Cork


Delving deep into Cork's history.

Dave Mac hosts a series of podcasts on the history of Cork as we mark the centenary of the Burning of Cork in 1920. Dave will be joined by guests for each episode to delve into the story behind different events and people in Cork's past.


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