The Friday View 01/12
December is here, MacCurtain Street is two-way, and festivals are falling like flies...in December.
Good morning and welcome to the Friday View on Tripe + Drisheen.
On MacCurtain Street, with protestors and politicians
Last Saturday, Tánaiste Micheál Martin unveiled a plaque on MacCurtain Street on the footpath opposite The Metropole Hotel to mark the completion of the refurbishment of the street (and the streets around it).
The historic street was closed to traffic - and open to pedestrians, as they say - for the best part of the day up until around 2pm. Pedestrianised streets, even if only for a few hours, are both strange and wonderful. At the start, people are almost hesitant to wander onto the road and break well-formed habits. The crowd was small enough for the official part of the day, the usual mix of council staff, politicians, contractors, a coterie from the NTA, curious locals, and a small band of protestors
At the exact moment Micheál Martin took to the lectern following the Lord Mayor’s opening remarks, a small band of Pro-Palestine protestors raised their voices and in unison chanted slogans for the duration of the Tánaiste’s speech. They were calling for an immediate ceasefire and the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, among other things.
It was hard to hear what the Tánaiste was saying, which was the point of the protest: they wanted their message to be heard loud and clear. At the end, though, the Tánaiste remarked (and I paraphrase here) that in Ireland, we welcome diverse opinions, free speech, and we also welcome immigrants, an important message given the events that had unfolded on the streets of Dublin barely a day before.
The protest likely annoyed people who wanted to hear clearly what the Tánaiste was saying. But, nobody shouted over them or shouted obscenities at them, and the gardaí made no move to disrupt the peaceful protestors. That all those things happened, or didn’t, is vitally important because there are numerous countries around the world where a protest like that would be dangerous and shut down immediately.
The disruption stopped just as the Tánaiste finished his speech, and Anne Graham of the NTA was left to say her spiel unaccompanied. Other than that, it was a fairly (very!) muted occasion. It’s a pity because with the street closed off to traffic, you get a sense of the potential of MacCurtain Street: a massive céilí or a block party, or anything beyond the few stalls that the Council had pulled together that all amounted to…meh. But, here’s hoping that the refurb of MacCurtain Street and the sense of what’s possible leads to more opportunities for opening the street to parties, festivals, or protests.
News in brief:
Disruptors: This week, Cork City Council picked up a €50,000 prize at the European Capital of Innovation Awards (iCapital) in Marseille. The judges placed Cork city third, saying that “the home of the ‘Rebels’, as Corkonians are known, is a place that does not settle for second-best, nor necessarily for the status quo, but instead seeks to disruptively explore what’s possible.” Not to deflect from the Council’s win, but that quote has all the charm of a ChatGPT prompt.
Homeless and renting stats in Cork: According to the latest figures from the Department of Housing, 543 adults were in emergency accommodation in Cork during the final week of October, up 7% in twelve months. That figure does not include people sleeping rough, those in squats or with staying with a friend or family.
Meanwhile, the average cost of rent in Cork city according to Daft, a property rental company, stood at €1,882 in Q3 2023, up from €889 in Q2 2015. The situation in the county is only marginally better: average rent is €1,458, nearly 12% more than twelve months ago.
Not happening: This week, both Indiependence and Ironman announced that they would not be staging their respective events in 2024 in Cork. Ironman was scheduled to return to Youghal, bringing with it thousands of athletes attempting the endurance test. As has been well documented, two competitors died in this year’s event during the swimming race. Almost immediately afterwards, a battle broke out between Ironman and Triathlon Ireland over who sanctioned the swim, given the conditions were far from ideal. In the aftermath, Cork County Council, a sponsor, said it remained committed to supporting the race. The local authority might well be breathing a sigh of relief that the competition is not being staged in 2024
Meanwhile, Indiependence said they were taking 'a little break.' The Mitchelstown music festival started out in 2006, but since then, there has been a massive growth in the number of music festivals across Ireland, and if anything, this seems like a response to oversaturation. That little break could well lead to a much longer one. Spare a thought also for Live at The Marquee. Aiken Promotions which stages the month-long music fest in Cork city still hasn’t announced a single artist for their jamboree despite promising that some of the lineup would be announced last month . Perhaps they know more than they are letting on?
Flying the flag: On Thursday, the City Council raised the Palestinian flag over City Hall. The City Council has history here, and it said as much in its statement: “Cork City Council has flown the Palestinian flag on the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in the past, a gesture that reflects the deep-felt solidarity and links between communities in Cork and in Palestine”.
The entirely predictable online response on Twitter, now known as X, was to pile the hate on. Under Elon Musk, X has thrown moderation out the window, as well as 80% of its staff.
The statement from the City Council, which I imagine very few on X read, went on to outline that it would have been disingenuous of the Council once more not to fly the flag on the UN’s flagship day of solidarity, and it echoed the government’s stance to call for a “sustainable humanitarian ceasefire. It is clear that there can be no military solution to this crisis.”
In that respect, the City Council is saying what the hundreds of protestors who gather on Grand Parade each and every Saturday since the war broke out following Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel and the subsequent destruction of northern Gaza by the IDF.
Eco winners: As the biggest climate conversation takes place in Dubai this week for COP28, closer to home Cork Environmental Forum announced its annual list of winners of individuals and organisations across Cork who are committed to supporting the environment. Included in this year’s list of winners are:
Kinsale secondary school student Lilian Gleave, who is fighting fast fashion through awareness and education
My Goodness for adopting innovative and sustainable production techniques in their vegan food business such as harvesting rain water
Iona Appliances received a commendation in the same category for their work to extend the life of white good products such as fridges and freezers.
Cork Repair Café took home the gong for the Circular Economy Award. The cafe which moves around is premised on helping people fix everything from bikes to baskets.
Andrew St. Ledger was acknoeledged for his work, especially around the protection and restoration of native and ancient trees and for setting up the Woodland League with Ted Cook in 1999. Andrew was this year’s CEF Lifetime Achievement Award (posthumous)
The CEF Awards Ceremony will take place at Nano Nagle Place on Thursday 7 December from 7 pm – 9pm and is supported by Cork City and County Councils.
Tweet of the week:
Given the sad news of the passing of another Irish music legend this week, it seems appropriate to highlight the late, great Shane McGowan plainly stating what everyone in Millstreet in 1996 was thinking. Rest in peace Shane.
Out + About
🎶Cyprus Avenue hosts a massive lineup of local musicians at their Gig for Gaza tonight. The Love Buzz, The Cliffords, The Drive and Shane Johnson from Fish Go Deep are amongst the names on a bumper lineup which runs from 7pm until 2:30am. Other bands, DJs and singer-songwriters on the list include Mirrors, Tara Casey, Jamie Behan, and the UCC DJ Society. 100% of proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières for their efforts in the Gaza Strip. Tickets and information here.
Time, date, place: 7pm, Friday December 1, Cyprus Avenue, Caroline Street, Cork.
🎻Over the past few months, the Spotlight Chamber Orchestra Series has been taking place at the Triskel, putting a focus on local classical musicians. The fourth and final concert of the series takes place on Saturday, and features three string players from Cork: Siún Milne on violin, Ed Creedon on viola, and Aoife Burke on cello, who are joined by the renowned Wicklow pianist Fiachra Garvey. They will play a piano quartet by Irish composer Rhona Clarke, a selection of duos for violin and cello by German composer Jörg Widmann, and Johannes Brahms’ first Piano Quartet. Tickets and information here.
Time, date, place: 1pm, Saturday December 2, Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin Street, Cork.
🎄Christmas is in a few weeks, which means that it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll get your relatives and friends for Christmas. Maureen’s are hosting a Craft Fair, tomorrow at noon, featuring art by Niamh Leonard, prints by Riki Mats, ceramics by Tinderbox Ceramics, illustrations by Loucoffee, along with mulled wine and donuts from Meb’s.
Time, date, place: 12pm-5pm, Saturday December 2, Maureen’s, John Redmond Street, Shandon, Cork.
🎹Rufus Coates & Jess Smith are a Berlin based duo who draw on Irish storytelling traditions, and they write “haunting murder ballads”. Perlee are a dream pop band based in Meath and Berlin, who draw influence from Cocteau Twins, Low and Beach House. They both play behind the counter at Levis’ Corner House tomorrow night. Tickets and information here.
Time, date, place: 8pm, Saturday December 2, Levis’ Corner House, Ballydehob.
🖼If you haven’t found what you need in Maureen’s, Dreoilín Craft Fair takes place at The Roundy on Monday. Running from 3pm-9pm, it features ceramics by Rachel Allen (not the cook) and Róisín Kelly, and also features work by Thady Trá, Johanna Legnar, Nigel Kelly and Lauren de Salvo. There will also be live music on the day, with Perry Wild performing at 4pm, Wike performing at 5pm, and a DJ set by Disco Sú at 6pm.
Time, date, place: 3pm-9pm, Monday December 4, The Roundy, Castle Street, Cork.
🖼The hidden-away Laneway Gallery on Shandon Street featured many artists in its space this year, and many of them are being exhibited at their end-of-year Christmas exhibition, ‘You Get What You Get and You Don’t Get Upset.’ The exhibition features Evgeniya Martirosyan, Emmet Brickley, Billy Lingwood, Niamh Leonard, and others.
Time, date, place: Saturday December 2-Saturday January 13, Laneway Gallery, Shandon Street, Cork.
This week on T+D:
On Monday, we published the news that construction work is drawing closer at the old Ford site in the Marina. That story here.
That’s it for this week’s Friday View. Any tips, news or events you’d like to share with Tripe+Drisheen, you can contact us via at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to speak to people off the record in the first instance, and we will treat your information with confidence and sensitivity. Get in touch. Have a lovely weekend.