I thought the opening words of the title would get your attention! This year’s Heritage Week is almost upon us. Starting on Saturday 22 August and running to Sunday 30 August, Heritage Week 2015 has our industrial heritage as its theme. I’ve expanded this slightly to include Midleton’s commercial history as well as its industrial history. It should be noted that I’m including Ballinacorra in this – because we simply cannot talk about the industrial and commericial heritage of Midleton without reference to the port at Ballinacorra. I hope people will take the time to attend something during the week or, at least, visit a heritage site.
In co-operation with Midleton Public Library and MyPlace the following events have been organized in Midleton:
Sunday 23 August: Walking Tour – Discover Midleton’s Commercial and Industrial Heritage. Meet at Midleton Library, starting at 2.30 pm. Guide: Tony Harpur.
Wednesday 26 August: ‘A good market for flesh….and fish.’ The commercial and industrial history of Midleton andBallinacorra. 1608-1948. Public lecture in Midleton Public Library. Time: 2.00 pm. Speaker: Tony Harpur.
Thursday 27 August: A Heritage Week Extra!‘From Mainistir na Corann to Midleton. 1177-1670.‘ Public lecture at MyPlace Midleton. Time: 8.00 pm sharp. Speaker: Tony Harpur.
Sunday 30 August: Walking Tour – Discover Midleton’s Commercial and Industrial Heritage. Meet at Midleton Library, starting at 2.30 pm. Guide: Tony Harpur.
The parking on Main Street, Midleton hasn’t changed much in over a hundred years!
Other events in the East Cork area worth visiting:
Saturday 22 August: Discover Cloyne Cathedral. The cathedral is open from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm. Tours: 11.30 am and 2.30 pm..Free event.
Saturday 22 August and Sunday 23 August: Mrs Kevin’s Cat! A family living history event – join the search for Mrs Kevin’s lost cat in Fota House. Time: 12.00 noon to 14.00 pm.
Sunday 23 August: Youghal Medieval Festival. Family event. Venue: St Mary’s College gardens. Time: 12.00 noon to 6.00 pm.
Wednesday 26 August: Why can’t I find my ancestors? Genealogy event in Cork County Library HQ, Carrigrohane Road, Cork. Time: 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm. Note: one to one genealogy sessions are also available that week in the same venue. Times: Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. & (NB) Wednesday 9.30 pm to 12.00.*
Sunday 30 August: History Hunt in Cloyne Cathedral. Family event. Time: 2.30 pm to 5.00 pm.
Built to the designs of George Wilkinson in 1840-41 and opened in August of 1841, the Midleton Workhouse was considered too big by the local Poor Law Guardians – it was designed to take 800 inmates. Little did they know that during the Great Famine of 1845-1850 the workhouse had to be supplemented by an auxiliary workhouse during the worst years! The former workhouse became a hospital in the 1920s and today serves as Midleton Community Hospital.
Carrigtwohill invades Midleton!
Actually, the Carrigtwohill and District Historical Society will present a public lecture by Sean Horgan on the history of Midleton workhouse. This lecture will take place on Friday 22nd May (yes, tomorrow, so be sure to vote in the two referenda before you come along). The venue is the former Fire Station (Firehouse to the Yanks!) which has been superbly converted into a new community facility under the name MyPlace. The lecture starts at 7.30 pm and the society’s usual entry fee of 5 Euros per person applies. Do come along!
The principal range of Midleton Workhouse is still preserved as Midleton Community Hospital.
MyPlace is a new community facility set up by a group of local citizens to provide, first and foremost, a comfortable (i.e. dry!) and sociable gathering place (with supervision!) for young people (teenagers) in Midleton. The organisation has leased the former Fire Station on Mill Road from the local authority. The structure has been converted (and upgraded) to be a two-part facilty – the youth cafe/hangout/club and a community facility. The building (which was of no architectural merit) is a modern structure that had been lying idle since the new Fire Station was built. Pat Horgan was the architect who transformed an eyesore into a superb bright and warm facility with triple glazing and passive heating into a youth centre, community hall (where the fire tenders were housed – the windows are huge!) and smaller rooms for various activities, as well as a kitchen and dining room with that rarity in Midleton – a sheltered riverside terrace (it’s a suntrap too!)! I viewed it last weekend when it was opened for a public preview and I was VERY impressed. The large windows are the most unusual feature – Irish community halls generally look like factories or bunkers whereas this has large and inviting windows. At present it is unfurnished but will be fully equipped for its official opening in September. Well done to everyone involved!
The former Fire Station with the large doors for the fire tenders prior to work starting on converting it to MyPlace.
Sean Horgan teaches in Mallow, but is a native of Midleton and his MA was on the subject of the Midleton workhouse and the famine. Copies of Sean’s book on the topic will be on sale following the lecture with the proceeds going to benefit Midleton Community Hospital – which is housed in the former workhouse! There will be a visit to the former workhouse and to the Famine Graveyard following the lecture if the weather permits.
The architect’s sketch for the proposed conversion of the former fire station into a new community facility. The finished design dispensed with the wooden siding in favour of floor to ceiling windows. A MUCH better idea!
The Carrigtwohill and District Historical Society was established in 2013 and has been doing very well indeed. It hosted a spectacular World War I event last Autumn that drew a lot of people from Midleton.
I think that it is extremely imaginative of the Carrigtwohill and District Historical Society to present this lecture in Midleton – especially since they are not threading on anyone’s toes. You see, for all its history, Midleton doesn’t have an historical society. Shocking but true! Despite the fact that there are societies in Aghada, Cloyne (the senior local history society), Castlemartyr (a new one!), Little Island and Carrigtwohill, Midleton, the largest population centre in the middle of this area, has no historical society. I hope this presentation by the CARRIGTWOHILL & DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY will prove embarrassing enough to stimulate some action on this issue!