An Taoiseach Mícheál Martin, the first former Lord Mayor of Cork to hold the office of Taoiseach, visited Cork City on Friday 11 September to officially open a new 1920 Centenary exhibition and to pay a courtesy call to the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh at City Hall.

The visit comes as a result of a letter of invitation sent to the Taoiseach by the Lord Mayor in June.

The Taoiseach visited Cork Public Museum to officially open the exhibition “Suffering the Most – The Life and Times of Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney”, which tells the story of the Cork City’s first two Republican Lord Mayors, set against the backdrop of the local and national events of the War of Independence. Here, he also met with Fionnuala Mac Curtain and Cathal Brugha MacSwiney, descendants of the exhibition’s subjects, the two martyred Lord Mayors.

Separately at the Museum, he enjoyed a private viewing of the Jack Lynch Collection and met with former senator and Cork City Councillor Máirín Quill. Ms. Quill and her family gifted the Seamus Murphy-sculpted bust of Éamon de Valera, which stands outside Cork Public Museum, to the people of Cork in 2016, to mark that centenary year.

To mark the occasion, Dan Breen, Museum Curator, presented the Taoiseach with a framed photograph of Éamon de Valera’s secret visit to the Museum in 1946, where de Valera viewed exhibition on 1916 with then Museum curator, Professor Michael J. O’Kelly.

The Taoiseach then paid a courtesy visit to the Lord Mayor at City Hall, and was presented with a copy of “Witness to Murder” a joint publication from the Irish Examiner and Cork City Council on the inquest into the murder of Tomás Mac Curtain, before proceeding to view the “Cork 1920 – The Burning of a City” exhibit in St. Peter’s on North Main Street.

The Taoiseach Mícheál Martin said:

It is my privilege, as a former holder of the Office of Lord Mayor, to be in Cork today to officially launch, as part of the 1920 commemorative programme, the exhibition ‘Suffering the Most – the Life and Times of Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney.

I am pleased to again have the opportunity to meet with the family of the city’s two patriot Lord Mayors. Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, Cork City Council has an ambitious and creative programme planned to mark the events of 100 years ago when, just as now, the city and country was sorely tested, but demonstrated remarkable courage, solidarity and dignity.

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Joe Kavanagh said:

It’s an honour to have the Taoiseach formally restart Cork’s 1920 commemorations that were put on hold by Covid-19. The remainder of this year presents a unique opportunity for the people of Cork City and beyond to respectfully remember the landmark, but often very difficult events that took place in Cork in 1920; events which had such a lasting impact on our country. We are experiencing difficult times now but as a city and county, we have always proven our resilience.

Want to get €5, absolutely free? Sign up to the ‘Smart’ Debit Card – Curve today, and earn a fiver on us! Find out more here.