Explore Cork in Books from The River-side: Cork City Libraries’ Publications

To tie into the themed display ‘Explore Cork in Books’ in this on-going series …from The River-side I’ve chosen publications by Cork City Libraries and selected a few items from their published works.

A selection of books on bookshelves for the theme Explore Cork.
Explore Cork book display on Q floor, UCC Library. 

Cork City Libraries Publications

Cork City Libraries have published books on:

  • local interest
  • Cork history
  • Cork library history
  • Cork literature
  • children’s and teen literature
  • Cork architecture
  • Cork music
  • Cork dance

Some books published by Cork City Libraries are funded from the Department of Community and Rural Development while other books are published as projects for Creative Ireland, World Book Fest, or to mark significant local events such as Cork 2005 European Capital of Culture. Some of the creative writing publications are the results of creative writing workshops with direct provision residents in the Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre or with the Write Together Centre. Publishing these various works fits with Cork City Libraries’ Mission Statement:

To place libraries at the heart of communities, welcoming and supporting everyone in their enjoyment of reading, and in their pursuit of learning, knowledge and culture.

Cork City Council Libraries 2020-2024: Placing Learning, Creativity, and Inclusion at the heart of Communities

Accessing Cork City Libraries’ Publications

Most of the books are available to download in PDF format, and they also may be available on Borrowbox. Copies of the book are available for purchase in Cork City Libraries’ branches or in various bookshops. Special Collections in UCC Library holds many of the items in its Munster Printing Collection.

Munster Printing Collection

The Munster Printing Collection focuses on items about the province of Munster or printed in the province of Munster, chiefly in the counties of Cork, Kerry and Waterford, from the late 17th century to the present day. A large part of the collection was donated in 1948 by Rev. Patrick Power, the then Professor of Archaeology in UCC. Items in the Munster Printing Collection include reference items for genealogical and topographical research, provincial & county history books, directories, bills, broadsides, pamphlets and of course books.

The Fleischmanns: A Remarkable Cork Family

In 2010 Cork City Council celebrated the centenary of the birth of Aloys Fleischmann (1910-1964), the noted Irish composer, conductor and scholar, as well as Professor of Music at UCC from the age of 24. Fleischmann collaborated with Joan Denise Moriarty to develop ballet in Ireland and he was a fervent advocate for Gaelic culture. His research on Irish traditional music is valued to this day. The Fleischmanns: a remarkable Cork family: a companion to the Fleischmann centenary celebration comprises:

  • a foreword by Cllr. Dara Murphy, then Lord Mayor of Cork
  • an introduction by Patrick Zuk
  • a section on Dachau, the town the Fleischmanns came from as seen by its painters
  • a section on Aloys Fleischmann Senior by Ruith Fleischmannn
  • a section on Aloys Fleischmann Junior by Séamas de Barra
  • various images from the Fleischmann Archive. These images include music scores, photographs, postcards, concert programmes, letters, book covers and title pages.

Joan Denise Moriarty: Ireland’s First Lady of Dance

In 2012 Cork City Council celebrated the centenary of the birth of Joan Denise Moriarty (c.1912-1992). Joan Denise Moriarty was a ballet dancer and champion traditional Irish step-dancer. She widened awareness about ballet in Cork and Ireland through two professional ballet companies (1959-1964 and 1974-1989) and at events such as Cork Ballet Week in the Opera House, accompanied by the Cork Symphony Orchestra. Moriarty collaborated with various Cork musicians including Aloys Fleischmann and Seán Ó Riada. Moriarty choreographed 115 ballets and her ballets were shown on international stages. Joan Denise Moriarty: Ireland’s first lady of dance comprises:

  • a foreword by Cllr. Terry Shannon, then Lord Mayor of Cork
  • an introduction by Liam Ronayne, then Cork City Librarian
  • a tribute to Joan Denise Moriarty by Domy Reiter-Soffer
  • different sections on dance in Moriarty’s life, the history of Cork Ballet Company, Moriarty’s choreographic language, music for the ballet and Moriarty’s legacy
  • a section on further reading and a section Joan Denise Moriarty’s life in brief
  • various images of Cork Opera House programmes, photographs of dancers and ballet on stage, and personal notes.

Cork Words: Anthologies of Contemporary Cork Writing

Both volumes of Cork Words are edited by Patricia Looney, Senior Executive Librarian at Cork City Libraries. In Cork Words 2020 edition the then City Librarian Liam Ronayne notes in the foreword that the volume is the first in what is intended to be a series of limited print editions showcasing contemporary Cork writers. He remarks that Cork has four significant literary festivals: Cork International Poetry Festival, Cork World Book Festival, Cork International Short Story Festival and the Winter Warmer Festival which attract different audiences and writers. This is in addition to the various supports for creative writing and writers including workshops in Cork City Libraries, Munster Literature Centre and ‘Fiction at the Friary.’ The first anthology Cork words: an anthology of contemporary Cork writing comprises prose and poems from writers such as Alannah Hopkin, Danielle McLaughlin, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Billy Ramsell and John Fitzgerald.

In the Cork Words 2021 edition, the current Cork City Librarian David O’Brien notes that almost 50 writers contributed to the volume and he acknowledges the adversity the city faced over the previous year and how the written word provides inspiration when we need it the most. In 2020 Culture Night was delivered online as were Cork’s four significant literary festivals. O’Brien acknowledges the support of Creative Ireland funding the creation of the volume. The second anthology Cork words 2: an anthology of contemporary Cork writing comprises prose and poetry from the Cork Non-Fiction Writers Group, Danny Denton, Greg Delanty, Victoria Kennefick and Thomas McCarthy.

Cork History

There are three images. On the left is an image of David Marcus overlaid on the outside of the former synagogue in Cork and a map of the Jewish area in the city. In the middle is the Victoria medal that Michael O'Leary won and in the centre of the medal is a photo of O'Leary. On the right is Lionel Cohen riding a motorbike in a field
Left: The lost soul of the world: the Cork Jewish community and the fiction of David Marcus (2008); Centre: The immortal deed of Michael O’Leary (2015); Right: Memoir of an Irish Jew (2021)

David Marcus (1924-2009) was born into a Jewish family on the Mardyke in Cork City. He founded two journals: Irish Writing and Poetry Ireland as well as co-founding the publishing company Poolbeg Press. Marcus contributed to The Irish Times and became literary editor of The Irish Press mentoring many emerging writers. In 2008 Cork City Council granted him a Civic Reception which prompted Cork City Libraries to publish The lost soul of the world: the Cork Jewish community and the fiction of David Marcus. The work includes an essay about Marcus by his uncle Gerald Y Goldberg (1912-2003) and a bibliography of Marcus’ work.

Cónal Creedon discovered the story of Michael O’Leary in the May 1979 issue of the comic Victor. On 1 February 1915, during World War I, Michael O’Leary killed eight German soldiers, captured two more, whilst saving his comrades from a dire situation at Cuinchy in France. Cónal notes that his family came from the Iveleary ‘Land of the O’Learys’ area but that Michael O’Leary was unknown to him. The immortal deed of Michael O’Leary is Creedon’s contribution to the Decade of Centenaries and in the work he writes a history of the first Irishman to receive the Victoria Cross medal for bravery during the Great War and of the O’Learys.

Lionel Cohen (1922-2000) was born into a Jewish family in Maylor Street in Cork. Cohen served in the Irish Army, the British Merchant Navy, the Israeli Army and in the fledgling Israeli Merchant Navy before returning to Cork in 1952. Lionel had written the memoir but it remained unpublished at the time of his death. His daughter Yvonne brought the unpublished memoir to publication. Memoir of an Irish Jew is Lionel’s rich personal description of the Jewish community in Cork.

Further Interest

This entry was posted in Special Collections and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.