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Togher History Society - Meet The Team!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Future Projects - Togher History Society - 16th July 2016

On Saturday afternoon 16th July 2016 at 3 O'Clock , the Togher History Society met at the Togher Community Centre to discuss projects to be undertaken in the near future. This was also the first time in two years that several members had been in attendance together. The purpose of the gathering was to assign specific tasks which would appeal to members personal interests and to this end ideas were bandied back and forth. It was immediately apparent that even though the Society maintained a strong presence on social media that the human face to face experience was invaluable.

Meeting point for the Future Projects debate

The History Society opened matters by reaffirming their mandate and mission statement whereby all members are part of a completely independent organization with absolutely no ties or links to any other body and receive no government funding  - the result being that it allowed them to be truly neutral with their only goal being that of preserving and archiving the local history of the Togher district. Whilst the Society has been contacted periodically for information of an historical nature , particularly that of boundary disputes , it will provide historical fact when called on but fully reserves the right to excuse itself from disputes of a Political nature or any other form thereof.

James O'Brien , Mary O'Riordan , Ted O'Riordan 
& Billy O'Brien

Billy O'Brien deemed the meeting to be open and soon the conversation became lively with many tales of a nostalgic air permeating the room. Ideas were swapped back and forth in abundance and plans were drawn up before the end of the meeting to set a deadline for submissions of projects once these had been allocated and agreed upon. This it was felt would set an incentive and spur members on in their quest with a timeline for completion of subjects provisionally set for the end of September regardless of the amount of material gathered.

Dan O'Riordan ( standing right background )

James O'Brien , Ted O'Riordan and Dan O'Riordan were tasked with the sporting portfolio. This would include any and all sports of a current and historic nature , including but not limited to : G.A.A. , Soccer , Road Bowling and Athletics. Additionally Dan O'Riordan would take on the informal interviewing of local residents which he felt would garner much invaluable historical data.

James O'Brien & Ted O'Riordan 
contemplating Togher's sporting past

Mary O'Riordan was assigned the project of researching and documenting the various Community Associations and Residents Groups down through the years. In addition she was also to undertake the identification of the famous Togher Farm photo which hangs proudly in the Credit Union. Allied to this was the extra work of researching the Togher Pipe Band.
Billy O'Brien was given the work of researching all relevant Censuses and Directories which bore a connection to Togher down through the ages.
Eamonn Pearse was given the work of researching local characters and being the Society's eye on the ground.

The team exiting the Community Centre 
after a fantastic meeting

Several members not in attendance on the day and by virtue of their individual talents were tasked as follows :
Pat O'Rourke - History of Pirate Radio in Togher.
Kathleen O'Keeffe/Paul O'Keeffe - matters of local lore and archaeology.
It was also deemed important that members could co-ordinate with each other and share information during their research cycle.

It's not the name that's important 
but the place it holds in ones heart

Before conclusion of events at the Community Centre , plans were set in motion for a Field Research trip for the month of August. It is hoped whichever venue is decided on that it will incorporate the majority of the Society for the first time in 3 years. Full blog post of the future trip will be published online and members projects will find their own way into articles to be drawn up by the various teams in collaboration with each other.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

18th Field Research Trip - 25th June 2016

The Togher History Society embarked on their 18th Field Trip to date since their inception 3 years earlier. The Land of the Underground Streams came beckoning once more. And Billy O'Brien and Eamonn Pearse answered the clarion call with relish. One fact that presented itself on this and previous occasions was that Togher never fails to thrill and delight both the casual traveler and the local historian. And Saturday 25th June 2016 proved to be no exception in this regard.

First view of Liberty Stream 
at bottom of Fernwood Close

Stream as it emerges through concrete pipe 
at bottom of Fernwood Close

First port of call was a visit to a section of the Liberty Stream not studied before which flows past Fernwood. The approach to the stream at the bottom of Fernwood Close was completely screened off by trees and foliage but access could be gained to take a closer look at the course of the waterway as it emerged from a concrete pipe on its way to Southern Fruit where it again disappears inside a pipe to emerge triumphant at Togher Cross.

Right of bridge showing pipe and grill

Well worn trackway along embankment

The team journeyed down to the right of the bridge which acts as a route into the Estate and moved on down by a dirt track to physically walk along its shores as far as the old Cork Bandon railway embankment.The sights which greeted the team were peaceful and tranquil. The stream winds its way in an almost serpentine manner as far back as the giant tunnel which ferries the water underneath the site of the original railway bridge now sadly gone.

Eamonn Pearse navigating stream 
with fields of Philippine House to the right

Vista of the haunting beauty of the Liberty Stream

Twisting and winding route in reverse

Here the scale of the embankment manifests itself quite clearly with a plunge pool at the mouth of the culvert being in excess of four feet. The team retraced their steps back to the start of their investigation whilst photographing the beautiful scenery before pausing by a storm grill in situ at the site of the bridge culvert.

First sight of culvert pipe at end of bend

Close up view through culvert pipe 
to opposite side of embankment

Photo depicting height of embankment

Photo showing scale of plunge pool

Return journey along shallow flow

Memorizing scenery at every turn

Final leg of stream through interlocked trees

Storm grill and pipe at journey's end

While in the vicinity , it was decided to have a rear look at the new structures which have now replaced the former Feirm Bawn house. Although named in honour of the now erased iconic building , it was felt that it should have been spared the wrecking ball. That segment of the field trip concluded with a walk through the old orchard grounds of the original farmland which at one time would have extended down as far as the Liberty Stream. This serene location is home to many beautiful trees including a weeping willow which somehow set the tone for the emotions expressed by the group.

Feirm Bawn in its 21st century guise

Original farmland of Feirm Bawn

Next port of call was a quick walk up Lehenaghmore Hill to witness one of several new road signs erected over the past few weeks by the Tidy Towns committee to name-check Togher. Sited just by the former Southern Fruit warehouse , it makes a welcome addition to the street signage and furniture gradually and quite rightfully imposing itself on the area. The group departed but not before something extraordinary was noticed by Eamonn Pearse. To the right of the remaining section of the original Lehenaghmore House boundary wall is what appears to be a remnant of a concrete platform which would have supported a water pump.

Billy O'Brien by new road sign 
outside Southern Fruit on Lehenaghmore Hill

New road sign leading to Togher Cross

Old water pump platform outside entrance 
to Palmbury Estate ( former Lehenaghmore House )

The group next made its way along the main Togher Road to take in a passing glimpse of Ardan Mhuire - a house with a long association with Togher history. Next up was a long overdue stroll along Mannings Lane aka Barrs Lane ( Deanrock Cottages ). Here a photo opportunity presented itself in the form of Harley Wood Estate and the tasteful way in which the developers built the adjacent wall around an old strand of timber rather than the usual practice of felling.

 Ardan Mhuire house near Togher Cross
 just before Greenwood Estate

Harley Wood Estate former Caravan Park

 History is shown respect by developers

Of course the main attraction on this ancient entrance to the old Quarry in Deanrock was the famous St. FinBarrs G.A.A. Club grounds. Unfortunately access to the playing fields was closed off but the team took a photographic record of their brief stay.

 Barrs Public House with signage

 Panoramic view of playing fields

 The Gallant Auld Blues

Entrance gates to playing grounds.

The team next made its way up the former Hangdog Road of old , the now Tramore Road ( Togher ). Along the way , they paused at the Post Office , which originally was sited on the bend of Togher Road where the Dental Clinic is now situated. Reference was made to the beautifully crafted bollards embossed with the Cork coat of arms which peppered the footpaths. A momentary stop at Woodlawn and then onto the site of Togher's newest kid on the block , the Sheridan Park.

 Embossed Cork coat of arms on metal bollards

New site of Post Office on Tramore Road

Woodlawn Estate off Tramore Road

It was decided on a whim to pay an historic call to Scoil Stiofain Naofa which is now an Adult education facility. Despite being inside the Boundaries of Ballyphehane , it held in the recent past an extremely strong connection with Togher , with the bulk of its students emanating from that region. Luck was on the side of the group as they found the rear gate on Tramore Road to be open. A quick walk through the grounds followed with a fortuitous opportunity to gain access to the front hallway entrance of the actual school. However , the corridor was cordoned off which prevented any further investigation of the premises. A return visit is much anticipated in the near future to capture more memories. However , the group were excited to discover that the old Gym Building was open and stepped back in time to take a few images for posterity. Thus ended that particular field trip , which for the first time incorporated an area outside of Togher's borders.

 Entrance off Connolly Park to Secondary School

 Infamous " Gas Chamber " at front of School

 Serene entrance to School Gym Hall

 Interior showing marked exercise surface

 Exit showing Janitors old office and shower room

 Side view of classrooms now looking dated

View of new designation of Secondary School

Sunday, June 12, 2016

17th Field Research Trip - 4th June 2016 - Sarsfield Road , Scout Hall , Athletics Club & Togher Cross

The Togher History Society met up in Elm Park , Togher at 3 p.m. on Saturday 4th June 2016 for their 17th Field Research trip to date. Eamonn Pearse and Billy O'Brien were on hand and on the ground on a scorching hot day to once more thread the ancient corridors of the Land of the Finest Drop. Proceedings kicked off with a leisurely stroll along one of the channels which run through several Estates in the region and which ultimately drain into the Glasheen River further north. It is thought that this was an attempt by the Sarsfields in the 19th Century to siphon off water from the surrounding bogland. The straight parallel lines of their route betray an artificial construction. Today they are crossed at various points by access traffic bridges made up of short concrete pipes and infilled with block and cement.

Channel route off Sarsfield Road through Elm Park

Entry access bridge into Elm Park Estate

First port of call was a visit to one of the new signs announcing to Resident and Tourist alike the location of Togher. Tastefully cited as befits its legacy across from Sarsfield House and the modern neighbourhood of White Oaks on the main Sarsfield Road , the metallic free standing announcement which was commissioned by the local Tidy Towns committee headed up by Ken McCarthy and designed by Ace Signs stands proudly on the left hand side as entered from the nearby Flyover. Sporting a black background with Amber font , the greeting in both English and Irish gives out an emotional message - Welcome To Togher!

New signage on Sarsfield Road between 
White Oaks and Elmvale Estates

Billy O'Brien posing proudly 
behind new sign on Sarsfield Road

The team next journeyed through Richmond , briefly stopping by The Headlands before continuing on to Elmvale Court and Elmvale Close and pausing outside the National Schools. Here fond memories were recalled of the old " Green Box " which was originally built as a club house for rent in the playgrounds between the two schools before the extensions were erected in 1983. Pat Houlihan , a Togher Ex-Pat was just one of the many who used the premises for his Streetwise self defense classes in the early 1980s.

Billy O'Brien outside The Headlands of Togher

 Elmvale Court , Togher

Elmvale Close , Togher

 Eamonn Pearse strolling alongside 
former scrubland adjacent to National Schools

 Frontage of Togher Girls National School 
with coloured concrete forecourt

Alternate wide angle view of former scrubland 
now leveled and concreted over

From there to just across the road , the Team discovered the gates to the old Girls National School built in 1961 to be open. On previous visits these were always found to be closed. So like the proverbial thieves in the night , they stole inside for a quick nostalgic visit. The Girls School , which now functions as a meeting place for various youth groups was closed as was the old Prefabs which at one time in the early 1970s served as Junior Class for boys. The now almost 50 years old timber huts which were erected in 1968 to combat the lack of classrooms for the ever increasing numbers of students back then are now cladded with cement to prolong their lives and are joined together at their left end to form a corral. They are now home to St. Finbarrs A.C. Aside from the new garden plots which cover the rear of the grounds , the old concrete shelter which served as a resting point for children in the playground of yesteryear was now found to be converted into a storage shed. Just above this was the former location of another single prefab which was the Junior Infants classroom of Billy O'Brien back in 1971. Sadly this is now long gone. Before departing , the team made one last stop which excited both no end. The famous DeLorean car as featured in the Back To The Future movies was present albeit as a wooden replica. This vehicle/flower box was constructed by members of Foróige and is a must see exhibit!

Old Girls National School built 1961

Billy O'Brien in between Old Girls School 
and Boys Prefabs now home to Togher A.C.

Site of former single Prefab classroom

View of old water tower and concrete shelter

Life size replica of DeLorean car 
from Back To The Future in the grounds 
of old Girls National School , Togher Road

Signage depicting local groups on site

Next on the agenda was a short photostop at the second of Togher's Turkish Barbers - the other being located by Togher Cross. Nestled in between Griffin's Piano shop and the Liberty Stream , this brightly lit newest addition to the region is sure to be a winner. From there the group made its way over Togher Overpass bridge pausing to take in the view of the Sports Pavilion in Coffey's Field and onto Togher Scout Hall. Here the team once again found the gates to be open but no apparent sign of life. The ghosts of the past were very accommodating that day! A retro sign on the iron gate was greeted with laughter. 40 Shillings was the penalty for leaving it unclosed. Not wishing to pay the hefty fine , the team did not outstay their welcome and quickly moved on. It is hoped to visit the Walter McGrath Museum in the near future.

New Turkish Barbershop next to Griffins Pianos

The Deanrock Pub to the left of Togher Overpass

Togher Sports Pavilion , Coffey's Field to right of overpass

 Coffey's Field sports ground with high safety netting

View of South Ring Road from Togher Overpass

View to the left where Bingo Rocks!

A pocket draining experience for the unwary!

 Cork Scout Museum placue in all its glory

Side view of Togher Scout Hall and grounds

A return visit to 2 of Togher Road's oldest residences across from the equally antiquarian Deanrock Terrace , now sadly depleted of some of her more iconic establishments including Morgan's Grocery and Coal Shop. Aside from Leaca Ban and her famous connection with Ronayne Shipping , the team paused outside Cairneneid House. This apparently is home to the Moran School of Motoring.

Leaca Ban - home of the Ronayne Family

Caireneid - Scottish Rocks coupled with a Greek Epic!

The next item on the agenda was a much anticipated visit to Ilen Court and the unearthing of a former custom built hopscotch play area built in the 1990s. This was excavated by a local on behalf of the History Society. Proof that not all of the past goes away , it just needs rediscovering! A hop , skip and a jump brought the Team to Pouladuff Road and a photo opportunity next to an iconic symbol of Togher's past as a Market Garden and Small Farm region in the past in the shape of The Laurels.

Hopscotch play area unearthed by local resident Ilen Court

Site of former farmstead The Laurels on Pouladuff Road

The group then moved back to the Community Centre for a look at two iconic placues. One was the newly erected 1916 Commemorative stand and the other was the newly restored placue to one of Togher's finest Historians - the late Tom O'Keeffe of Westside Estate. Also on view was the new entrance to the Centre complete with wheelchair access. Fine works and welcome additions one and all.

 1916 Commemorative Placue Community Centre

 Newly restored Tom O'Keeffe Commemorative Placue

Newly erected entrance/wheelchair access ramp

One final item of interest before bringing proceedings to a close was the storm grill situated above Togher Cross bridge. Access to the inside is achieved by lifting the small iron grill. This allowed flash photography to be employed to shine a light on what lay beneath. Here it was evident that in order to re-channel the Liberty Stream to follow a new course directly under the main road ( to facilitate widening of the main road back in 1986 ) , a new concrete culvert had be constructed. The original arched bridge was now blocked off. However , consideration was also given as to how water flowed over to the channel situated alongside the African Missions lane beyond the Lodge. There may perhaps be an unseen offshoot underground culvert to divert storm water.

Robinscourt , where once flowed the Liberty Stream

 Liberty Stream at Togher Cross Bridge

 Old Lanes Cottage at Togher Cross

Eamonn Pearse photographing interior of 
underground course of Liberty Stream at Togher Cross

 Interior showing new course of Liberty Stream

Interior showing blocking off of original bridge arch

Along the course of the groups travels , there was strong evidence of the hard work undertaken by the Tidy Towns committee and their volunteers. Ingenious use of window boxes and rusty bicycles enhanced the area no end. The Society would like to take the opportunity of complimenting them on their sheer hard work which has not gone unnoticed.

Timber flower boxes outside former Garage

Beautiful flower keg near Greenwood Estate

 Bicycles with flower baskets near Flats Togher Road