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Teacher’s book a ‘monument’ to three years of deep research

December 23rd, 2021 5:10 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Authors Kieran Doyle and Alan O’Rourke with Colm and Linda Doyle and county mayor Gillian Coughlan at the launch. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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A CORK teacher has described his new ground-breaking history book examining the monuments in Cork during the revolutionary period between 1914 and 1923 as a ‘labour of love.’

Kieran Doyle – who teaches English and history at Clonakilty Community College – along with his co-researcher Alan O’Rourke, have written Monuments to our past: Understanding commemoration and the revolutionary period in Cork 1914-23, which was funded by the Cork County Council Commemorations Committee.

‘It’s been three-and-a-half years in the making and it certainly kept both Alan and myself busy during the time,’ Kieran told The Southern Star. ‘The idea behind the book was to look and examine the numerous monuments in the county associated with that period in our history and see the bigger picture.

‘Alan is excellent at mapping so between us we have traced, mapped and photographed 370 memorials we found around Cork for that period and I wrote then about the style, language and symbolism of these monuments,’ he added.

The lack of female and civilian memorials was something that Kieran also noticed.

‘We lived in an era then when the role of women was not respected and while they played a key role in feeding IRA volunteers during the War of Independence and hiding them, these non-combatants don’t get the credit they deserve. Also there is a lack of civilian monuments, even though more civilians died than either IRA volunteers or British soldiers.’

As a native of Cork city, Kieran said that it allowed him to be more objective when looking at the overall picture of these monuments.

The launch of the book took place recently in The Munster Arms in Bandon and was attended by county mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan as well as Kieran’s past pupil, TD Christopher O’Sullivan. Another guest at the book launch was Kieran’s sister, Linda, who earlier this year made history by becoming the first female Provost of Trinity College, something Kieran and the rest of his family are extremely proud of.

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