Main Street, Midleton, around 1900.
Heritage Week 2016 has now ended but it started a day late as usual in Midleton. On Sunday 21st August some fifteen to eighteen people joined my early 20th century Midleton walking tour of the town. They were brave souls to ignore the Met Eireann weather warning and venture forth. (Youghal’s Medieval Festival was postponed for a week!) In fact we only had a few showers of misty rain, some breezes and a grey threatening sky overhead, but we were actually fine! Given that I spoke about some of the bad weather in the period 1896 to 1918, the dull day was appropriate.
On Thursday evening, 25th August, Cal McCarthy spoke in Midleton Library about Spike Island in Cork Harbour as a prison in the 19th century . He was supported by the director of the Spike Island heritage site, Tom O’Neill, who encouraged us all to visit before the season closed at the end of October. We had an audience of about twenty for that event.
Saturday 27th saw my lecture in the same venue on ‘Living in Midleton a Hundred Years Ago’. Given that was a lovely day outside, and the last Saturday before the schools reopened, we had a final audience of about twenty, which was a very welcome number.
Some twelve people (and Mollie the Jack Russell!) joined the second walking tour on Sunday 28th August in glorious end of summer sunshine and heat. It was a bit difficult to talk about the great storm of 1903 in Midleton in that sort of weather!
I hope everybody learned something new and got a better understanding of Midleton’s (and Spike Island’s) history during the week!
The annual Cork Lifelong Learning Festival has expanded beyond the city in 2016. One of the venues this year is Midleton!
As part of the Festival, on Saturday 16th April, a free historical walking tour will be conducted by yours truly, meeting at the Courthouse at 12.00 noon.
The tour will go from the Courthouse to Distillery Walk, with brief side trips up Chapel Lane and Connolly Street. This tour aims to introduce people to the history of Midleton through its buildings. The tour will last an hour. So, if you are participating in the festival’s events, do come along and join us! Open to young and old alike! This year’s festival runs from Monday 11th April to Sunday 17th April. And yes, the tour is free! And you can join us at any stage!
Let’s hope the weather gods are kind on that day!
Now converted into apartments, Allin’s Mill, or Midleton Mill, may stand on the site of the old monastic mill. it was established to supply grain to Cork and England in the 1820s in the wake of the Corn Laws.
About twenty people joined our tour of Midleton’s commercial and industrial heritage today at 2.30 pm. Starting at the Library (the Market House of 1789) we proceeded to Church Lane (site of the old butter market) then up Main Street to Old Bank House (former Munster Bank) and on to the Munster and Leinster Bank (now AIB). On the Clonmult Monument island we discussed the Fair Green, Allin’s mill, Hackett’s distillery and the railway from Cork to Youghal. Down the eastern side of Main Street we assembled in Connolly Street (former Charles St) to discuss the changing businesses in the town from 1824 to 1856 and then in 1881. This was followed by a stroll to the Pugin building (former Midleton Arms Hotel/McDaid’s pub), a look at Brodrick Street (site of Midleton Gasworks and JJ Coffey & Sons, builders), and into the former Coppinger’s brewery. Then at the entrance to Distillery Walk we examined Coppinger’s grain stores and the old distillery, previously Marcus Lynch’s wool factory of 1793). We finished up by discussing the first bank in Midleton (the National Bank of Ireland at the Rock, run by the Coppingers).
Despite the best efforts of Met Eireann to scare everyone off with horrible weather warnings, it turned out to be a lovely day for a walk – the best of the sunshine coming as we walked back down the Main Street.
I’d like to thank everyone who turned up today. You helped to kick off Heritage Week 2015 in Midleton in fine style! The vintage cars motoring to Carrigtwohill were an unexpected bonus!
Other events during the week include:
‘…a good market for flesh…and fish…’ – the Commercial and Industrial history of Midleton and Ballinacurra, 1608-1948. Public local history lecture, Wednesday, 26 August at 2.00pm in Midleton Library.
From Mainistir na Corann to Midleton, 1177-1670. Public local history lecture, Thursday, 27 August at 8.00pm in MyPlace, Midleton.
Discover the Commerical and Industrial Heritage of Midleton. Walking tour, Sunday, 30 August at 2.30pm. Meeting at the Library.