Update on removal of Information Panels etc. from Ballincollig

Update 14th June 2012:

I have just heard that a meeting will go ahead with the Cork County Manager. Ballincollig will be represented at this meeting by various Ballincollig groups who are hoping to keep the Gunpowder Mills artefacts in the town.

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Below is an article, dated 6th April 2012, which appeared in “THE CORK NEWS” newspaper. Catryn Power and Jenny Webb of Ballincollig contributed to it while an un-named spokesperson for Cork County Council defended the actions of the Cork County Council.

The Cork News article on Ballincollig Visitors Centre

Below is an article written by Ballincollig Heritage Association (BHA) with regard to the removal of the display panels etc. from Ballincollig:

Ballincollig Heritage Association article in Ballincollig Today April 5th 2012

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18 Responses to Update on removal of Information Panels etc. from Ballincollig

  1. Pat Flynn says:

    Well, I would not quite agree with the Council outline as presented…..
    ”that suitable locations had been sought in Ballincollig to display the items”.

    As I said in a earlier comment – “I am not surprised that this has happened to the artifacts from the visitor center. Having contacted the local Fine Gale rep in late 2010 to secure assistance with relocation of the artifacts to the more central location in the village – I was promised lots in early discussions, but in fact he never got back to me. I had sought to create some employment locally and bring more visitors to the town but the Council and the political elites showed no interest.”

    That is what happens when a town has poor representation.

    • ballincollig says:

      I agree with your comments. I have not heard of the Cork County Council looking for any suitable locations for the Visitors’ Centre display panels etc. Letting out the former Visitors’ Centre to a Film Group inevitably led to the removal of these display panels and other items which were part of the centre when it was open years ago. The display building has been taken away from the people of Ballincollig and it is not surprising that the artefacts have to go too. The building should have remained for the purpose for which it was built or another location sought by the Co. Council. The display could have been expanded in BALLINCOLLIG to include Military artefacts, information on Ballincollig Castle etc.

      The County Council is storing the items from the Visitors’ Centre so surely it is not be too late to get them back to Ballincollig. Ballincollig has very poor representation. Ballincollig is not able to look after its own interests due to this problem.

      Regards,
      Margaret Jordan

      • Pat Flynn says:

        All that said the Council should treat Ballincollig fairly until the town can secure better representation. Taking artifacts away to install them remotely at Spike Island does not seem to be the answer. A stone attracts visitors to Blarney. Will the removal the items from Ballincollig attract droves to Spike island? Surely not as they will have a lesser meaning in such a setting. Would the Spike Island story work in Ballincollig? I do not think so. The Council should consider a U turn on their thinking and support same?

  2. Jenny Webb says:

    This is a useful discussion but as they say talk is free! If people want to mount a campaign to keep the artefacts and interpretative panels in Ballincolig, they have to join together, find the relevant people in the council to talk to and then look for an alternative place for the information/artefacts to be displayed. Ballincollig Heritage Association has led many campaigns in the past to preserve the town’s heritage but without the backing of a large body of concerned citizens, such campaigns have not been successful. In the end, it may be that quiet diplomacy with those with the maximum clout in the council wins the day. I can assure you BHA is working on it.

  3. ballincollig says:

    I agree that talk is not enough. I think Ballincollig has much to offer including its Medieveal castle, military history spanning over 200 years and its gunpowder manufactory history. Combining all of these and having a centre in which to present all of this heritage is something I would like to see. The former and now defunct Visitors’ Centre could have been expanded to include all of these in a very pleasant canal side setting. The loss of this Visitors’ Centre was another death knell for the presentation of Ballincollig’s history. It was inevitable that the artefacts like presentation panels would eventually have to be removed from the building which housed the Visitor’s Centre. I think we should be looking at the big picture and not just one aspect of our heritage. Ballincollig needs to present itself to the world as a place worth visiting, its people need to know about their heritage. I know that much work has been going on in the background by Jenny Webb, Catryn Power and others in improving our knowledge with signage, talks and other activities. Now we need the people of Ballincollig to show support for preserving its heritage. We need the Cork County Council to acknowledge our right to hang onto our artefacts. What will happen to the Mill which was brought back to working condition? Will it be left to rot? In other countries, this alone would be highly valued. The promotion of science could be combined with the history of gunpowder manufacture.

    Margaret Jordan

  4. catryn says:

    Since the closure of the Visitor Centre, Cork County Council has never shown an interest in promoting it as it was originally intended, a heritage centre for the Gunpowder Mills, paid with public funds. Frank Donaldson’s Plan for the Mills/Regional Park promulgated a plan, which the Historic Monument’s Advisory Committee of Cork County Council funded. The Council harps back to the the time when the Centre lost money when running the Centre. The Council was not the correct body to run such a tourist Centre at the time, in spite of some very good people trying against many odds to make the Centre viable. There were other issues too. Leasing it to some group or individual with business acumen would have been the answer. It is still a viable enterprise and could possibly be shared with the Film Company, depending on their agreement with the Council.
    During my term as Cork County Archaeologist from 2000 to 2012, I never received a reply from my numerous queries regarding the Visitor Centre, to the Management of CCC. It seems that within the Council, certain sectors of management have an idea and runs with it, without seeking the proper expert advice, within the same building. Management does not want to be seen as wrong. Even at this late stage, the issues with the Centre in Ballincollig could be revisited. THE MANAGEMENT OF CORK COUNTY COUNCIL SHOULD NOW ADMIT THAT THEY ARE WRONG IN THEIR DECISIONS WITH REGARD TO THE VISITOR CENTRE. IT SHOULD MEET WITH THE PEOPLE OF BALLINCOLLIG TO DISCUSS.

  5. ballincollig says:

    Communicatrion from Noel Linehan with permission to post here:

    “I always believe in leaving all records data and articles associated with an area in the area. Surely one would imagine in a town as large as Ballincollig a sustainable centre like a museum would be a viable option. If there is a building already available and a number of willing activicts a programme of events covering heritage, nature, history and display all articles such as medals, coins, war souveniers, any stone finds around the area–these could be given on loan for an event for a day or a weekend event. Years ago I put on a famine play in the Pike Theatre, it was the story of THE BROKEN HEARTED FARMER DAN O HARA and the eviction of his family from their small farm in Cliften and the awful and tragic journey in the famine ship. I hope in this year of the UN INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE CO-OPERATIVE that common sense will prevail and the historic articles from Ballincollig will find their way back to their native place again.

    NOEL LINEHAN
    COMMUNITY/HERITAGE ACTIVIST, CHURCHTOWN NORTH”

  6. Anne says:

    I’m sure the majority of people in the area are not aware of this matter. I just became aware of what is happening via my Facebook page. Its laughable that aspects of Ballincollig’s history will be on display on Spike Island – it does not make any sense!! I am not originally from Ballincollig but have lived here for 20 years and could never understand why the Gunpowder Mills, Regional Park, Castle, etc are not utilised more. They have huge tourism value. I remember one of my son’s doing a project years ago in school on the Castle. We were amazed at the history of Ballincollig while researching the Castle.

    These records, data, etc, belong to the people of Ballincollig and should be staying in the area. Such a pity there has never been a loyal representation. Is there anyway of getting locals involved in this, or bringing in support from all the schools in the area?

    • ballincollig says:

      Anne, thank you for commenting. I am trying to let people know what is going on by posting on this blog. The more people that know and the more people who comment the better. We need to stand up for Ballincollig and its heritage. As you said, there is huge tourism value in it too.

      Margaret Jordan

      • Pat Flynn says:

        Ballincollig Forum members and leadership could add some comments to these discussion strings. Their opinion/s would be great at this stage. They represent the 17000 plus local people in the various areas of Ballincollig. If they are reading and monitoring can they please stand up. As the song says – PLEASE STAND UP.

        What about the Business Association – surely they likewise can see the benefits of the Gunpowder Heritage presenting a focus for driving visitor numbers and aiding with the provision of some employment. Again if you are reading or monitoring these strings join in the chorus – PLEASE STAND UP.

        Yeah, and Tourism Ireland who are looking for new products to attract the multitudes – Ballincollig could help and gain from the experience. Now repeat the chorus three times.

        Have a good Easter Monday.

  7. Rita Flynn says:

    I agree with Anne’s comment that the records, data (and all the audiovisual information, artifacts etc) belong to the people of Ballincollig and should be staying here. Ideally housed in the centre by the gunpowder mills; that was the original idea behind the heritage centre.
    It’s laughable that Co co co in the article above says the centre “was losing money and it never attracted sufficient numbers to make it viable” when the council itself never did anything to promote it or advertise it…
    Hopefully it’s not too late if we all join together in wanting to bring it back to life.

  8. Ballincollig says:

    You should watch this 2008 YouTube Video by An Scannanlan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1LhxWbwOpZo#!

    Regards,
    Margaret Jordan

    • catryn says:

      IT IS GOOD TO WATCH THAT YOUTUBE EXTRACT BY AN SCANNANLAN, BUT ALSO SAD. I INITIATED THAT FILM, WHICH IN FACT IS MUCH LONGER THAN QUOTED. THOSE INVOLVED IN THE FILM AND MYSELF HAD SUCH HIGH HOPES AT THE TIME AND HAD PROMISES FROM THE POLITICIANS, BUT THE VISITOR CENTRE HAS STILL NOT REOPENED. THE VISITOR CENTRE WAS DESIGNED BY INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED ARCHITECT TOM DE PAOR AND A COLLEAGUE, SPECIFICALLY FOR THE GUNPOWDER DISPLAYS AND THEIR STORY. THE BUILDING RECEIVED AN ARCHITECTUAL AWARD AND IS VISITED BY MANY INTERESTED IN ARCHITECTURE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.
      THE ONLY PLACE FOR THE DISPLAYS AND ARTEFACTS IS THAT VISITOR CENTRE. CORK COUNTY COUNCIL SHOULD RETURN THE ITEMS FROM SPIKE ISLAND TO BALLINCOLLIG IMMEDIATELY. THE PEOPLE OF BALLINCOLLIG DO NOT WANT THE ITEMS ETC ON SPIKE. A PUBLIC MEETING SHOULD BE HELD BY THE COMMUNITY TO DECIDE ON THEIR FUTURE. THIS SHOULD BE ORGANISED BY THE COUNTY COUNCIL. THEY HAVE NOT CARRIED OUT THEIR DUTY WITH PUBLIC PROPERTY AND THE COSTS INCURRED.

  9. Jenny Webb says:

    Ballincollig Heritage Association is holding a commitee meeting this Thursday at Coalsite Choilm at 8pm. The first item on the agenda is the gunpowder artefacts/panels. I and a colleague were given a tour of Mitchell Fort on Spike last week and were given the choice of interpretative spaces. If we don’t agree, everything will remain in storage for the foreseable future.If we do agree we were assured that in the event that funding for a town museum becomes available all will revert to Ballincollig. Yes, it is Hobson’s Choice!
    The stark reality is that the former visitors’ centre is on long term lease to the Cork Film Commission which probably asked for the place to be cleared. Any reader who wants to contribute to this discussion is welcome to come to Thursday’s committee meeting.
    It should be stated that there are also lots of positive thingshappening for Ballincollig Heritage at tye moment. Walking trails from the town to the regional park have been passed by the National Trails Office and the Trails Group is seeking funds for interpretative boards in the town and park as well as heritage audio tours. It may be that further down the line, the impetus for a town museum will be far stronger.

  10. Janice matthews says:

    I have just come across all these emails about the tragic loss of Ballincollig Heritage Centre while researching army records, please can someone inform me what happened at the meeting? Has an agreement to reinstate the artefacts been made?

    • ballincollig says:

      Hi Janice,

      The Muskerry Local History Society has been in contact with the Cork County Council and we are awaiting further developments. We hope that the items from the Gunpowder Mills Visitors’ Centre will be retained in Ballincollig but nothing is clear yet. The former Visitors Centre is not an option as a location for the artefacts, as there is commercial company occupying the premises.

      I will post more when I have more news. Thanks for your interest.

      Regards,
      Margaret Jordan

  11. ballincollig says:

    I have just heard that a meeting will go ahead with the Cork County Manager. Ballincollig will be represented at this meeting by various Ballincollig groups who are hoping to keep the Gunpowder Mills artefacts in the town.

    Margaret Jordan

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