Ford played a big role in uniting communities

The father of former Lord Mayor of Cork, Tom O'Driscoll, was also among the Ford workforce at the Marina.

“My parents were living in the US and when I was an infant, my mother wanted to come back to Cork,” he says.

“Ford was a great employer and united many of the close knit Cork communities. It provided a good, regular wage.”

Tom’s father, Thomas O’Driscoll, got a job there and Tom Jnr recalled: “There were four of us children and the prospects at Ford were good.

“My father often took overtime and it provided us with a welcome boost of a holiday by the seaside.”

Read more: Establishment of Ford created new era in Cork 100 years ago

The O’Driscolls often travelled to Crosshaven on holiday where they saw reminders of the car plant.

“The Ford boxes were a feature of many of the bungalows along the coast,” says Tom.

“They were big timber boxes that the parts came in. People used them for garden sheds or for an outhouse! I also remember my parents going to the Christmas social.”

The Evening Echo sold well outside the plant on the Marina.

“The Echo boy was a permanent fixture at the gate at 4.30pm when the main shift finished,” says Tom. “All the workers bought the paper on their way home.”

Just how important a role Ford played in Leeside life can be gleaned from the fact that by 1930, it employed 7,000 in Cork and was the second largest employer in the Free State after the railways.

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