City of Cork, County Cork, Ireland


Written by

Angela Meehan

AnneMarie Twomey
Elizabeth Anne Donovan,
City of Cork, County of Cork, Ireland


JJ Meehan
The Meehan Family

This blog would not have been possible without the help of Elizabeth Anne Donovan.  I’ve added to her input with data from Cork (city) “ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cork the city was founded about a thousand years ago by St Finbarr it was originally a trading merchant city the population is around 123,000 they are the second largest city in the republic very much a university city with a student population in access of 25,000 Cork University and Cork Institute of Technology taking the bulk the area of the city is 3,731 hectares Cork is the largest county in the Provence of Munster the sports played here are Gaelic Football and Hurling.

Cork has a reputation for rebelliousness dating back to the town’s support of the English Petender Perkin Warbeck in 1491 following the Wars of the Roses. As a result, County Cork has earned the nickname of “the Rebel County”, while Corkonians often refer to the city as the “real capital of Ireland”, and themselves as the “Rebels”.

The city is built on the River Lee which divides into two channels at the western end of the city. The city centre is located on the island created by the channels. At the eastern end of the city centre they converge; and the Lee flows around Lough Mahon to Cork Harbour, the world’s second largest natural harbour after Sydney Harbour in Australia. The city is a major Irish seaport; there are quays and docks along the banks of the Lee on the city’s east side.


 c-01  cork_ireland


Cork was originally a monastic settlement founded by Saint Finbarr in the sixth century. Cork achieved an urban character at some point between 915 and 922 when Norseman (Viking) settlers founded a trading port.[6] It has been proposed that, like Dublin, Cork was an important trading centre in the global Scandinavian trade network.


The city was once fully walled, and some wall sections and gates remain today. For much of the Middle Ages, Cork city was an outpost of Old English culture in the midst of a predominantly hostile Gaelic countryside and cut off from the English government in the Pale around Dublin. Neighbouring Gaelic and Hiberno-Norman lords extorted “Black Rent” from the citizens in order to keep them from attacking the city. The main overlords of south western Ireland were the Fitzgerald Earl of Desmond dynasty, with the lordships of the MacCarthy and Barry families abutting directly onto Cork city. The Cork municipal government was dominated by about 12-15 merchant families, whose wealth came from overseas trade with continental Europe – in particular the export of wool and hides and the import of salt, iron and wine. Of these families, only the Ronayne family were of Gaelic Irish origin. The medieval population of Cork was about 2000 people. It suffered a severe blow in 1349 when almost half the townspeople died of bubonic plague when the Black Death arrived in the town. In 1491 Cork played a part in the English Wars of the Roses when Perkin Warbeck a pretender to the English throne, landed in the city and tried to recruit support for a plot to overthrow Henry VII of England. The mayor of Cork and several important citizens went with Warbeck to England but when the rebellion collapsed they were all captured and executed. Cork’s nickname of the ‘rebel city’ originates in these events

.Cork church FW

A description of Cork written in 1577 speaks of the city as, “the fourth city of Ireland” that is, “so encumbered with evil neighbours, the Irish outlaws, that they are fayne to watch their gates hourly…they trust not the country adjoining [and only marry within the town] so that the whole city is linked to each other in affinity”



Music, theatre, dance, film and poetry all play a prominent role in Cork city life. The Cork School of Music and the Crawford College of Art and Design provide a constant throughput of new blood, as do the active theatre components of many courses at University College Cork (UCC). Highlights include: Corcadorca Theatre Company, of which Cillian Murphy was a troupe member prior to Hollywood fame; Cork Film Festival, a major supporter of the art of the short film;[citation needed] The Institute for Choreography and Dance, a national contemporary dance resource; the Triskel Arts Centre; Cork Jazz Festival; the Cork Academy of Dramatic Art (CADA).

The Glucksman Gallery at UCC.  The Everyman Palace Theatre and the Granary Theatre both play host to large amounts of dramatic plays throughout the year. Cork is home to the RTÉ Vanbrugh String Quartet, and to many musical acts, including John Spillane, The Frank And Walters, Sultans Of Ping, Simple Kid and the late Rory Gallagher. Singer songwriter Cathal Coughlan and Sean O’Hagan of The High Llamas also both hail from Cork. The opera singers Cara O’Sullivan, Mary Hegarty, Brendan Collins, and Sam McElroy are also Cork born. The short story writers Frank O’Connor and Sean O’Faoláin hailed from Cork. Contemporary writers of national and international status include Thomas McCarthy, Gerry Murphy (poet), and novelist and poet William Wall. There is a thriving literary community centring on The Munster Literature Centre and the Triskel Arts Centre.

Cork has been gaining cultural diversity for many years as a result of immigration, from Western Europe (particularly France and Spain) in the mid to late nineties, and more recently from Eastern European countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary etc. and in small amount from various African and Asian nations.[citation needed] This is reflected in the recent growth of multi-cultural restaurants and shops, including specialist shops for East-European or Middle-Eastern food, Chinese and Thai restaurants, French patisseries, Indian buffets, and Middle Eastern kebab houses. Cork saw significant Jewish immigration from Lithuania and Russia in the late 19th century. Jewish citizens such as Gerald Goldberg (several times Lord Mayor), David Marcus (novelist) and Louis Marcus (documentary maker) played important roles in 20th century Cork. Today, the Jewish community is relatively small in population, although the city still has a Jewish quarter and local synagogue. Cork also features various Christian churches, as well as a mosque. Some Catholic masses around the city are said in Polish, Filipino, Lithuanian, Romanian and other languages, in addition to the traditional Latin and local Irish[citation needed] and English languages.

Recent additions to the arts infrastructure include modern additions to Cork Opera House and the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery. The new Lewis Glucksman Gallery opened in the Autumn of 2004 at UCC, was nominated for the prestigious Stirling Prize in the United Kingdom, and the building of a new €60 million School of Music was completed in September 2007. Construction of the €50 million Brookfield UCC Medical School complex was completed in 2005.[citation needed]

Cork was the European Capital of Culture for 2005.

There is a rivalry between Cork and Dublin, similar to the rivalry between London and Manchester, or Madrid and Barcelona. Corkonians generally view themselves as different to the rest of Ireland, and refer to themselves as “The Rebels”; the county is known as the Rebel County. This distinctly Corkonian view has in recent years manifested itself in humorous references to the region as The People’s Republic of Cork. Citizens of the Real Capital can be seen adorning themselves with t-shirts and other items which celebrate The People’s Republic of Cork, printed in various languages, including English, Irish, Polish, Spanish and Italian. The Cork bicolour is flown at public and civic buildings, including the main courthouse, bus station, railway station and major department stores; it is flown along with the Irish tricolour, or alone.

Places of interest

I thought it might help to be able to visualize the layout of Cork.  The following was written by a friend, Christine, and covers the northside of Cork

cork ne

To give you an idea of Cork….picture in your head a valley with hills at each side…. the valley is a place called Blackpool. On the left is Dublin Hill, the Glen, Ballyvolane, Dillons Cross, St. Luke’s, Mayfield, Silversprings, Mahon where there is a Shopping Centre and then Blackrock. On the other side of Blackpool where the writer/contributor grew up is Farranree, Gurranabraher (this is taken from an Irish word that means grove of the monks(priests)..Knocknaheeny which is at the top…most of these places are named in Irish…but are spelt this way in English to make it easier to pronounce Knocknaheeny (spelled Cnoc na hAoine in Irish meaning Hill of Friday)

cork nw

If you have your back to Blackpool your heading in to the country area. You have a main Cork road called Mallow Road. Just off this road you have a few villages; .on the right you have Blarney(Blarney Castle) and White Church. On the left you have Kileens, Waterloo & Grenagh. (spelt grianach in Irish)..It is about 7miles from blarney & 12 miles from Blackpool and about 14miles from Cork City. If your facing towards City Centre from Blackpool you have Thomas Davis street which leads to Gearld Griffin Street. To the north you have the Cathedral which is a big land mark on the north side on Shandon Street where there is another big land mark called Shandon Towers. People come from all over the world to climb Shandon Tower and play the bells which can be heard all over the north side of the city.  On each side of the tower there are four big clocks which never tell the same time, which resulted in them getting the friendly nick name “THE FOUR LIARS”. There is a lovely restaurant across the street from it called “The Four Liars” On the very top of the Shandon Tower is huge fish known as the “Salmon of Knowledge” – a weather vain.

cork center

North Gate Bridge is on Shandon Street and takes you to North Main Street & in to City Centre, Patrick Street known to the people who live in Cork as “Pana to the old Cork.”


s-04 s-07
s-06 s-05


Bishop Lucey Park

Bishop Lucey Park was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Cork Alderman Dan Wallace, TD, on 6 December 1985. The park, which is bounded by the Grand Parade, Tuckey Street, the South Main Street and Christ Church Lane, was named in honour of Bishop Cornelius Lucey who was the Roman Catholic bishop of Cork for over 30 years. The opening of the park was one of the events marking Cork 800, a celebration of 800 years of Cork’s status as a chartered city with powers of local government since the granting of the charter by John, Lord of Ireland, in approximately 1185.

bp For more information on Bishop Lucey Park please visit the Angela Meehan’s blog on the beautiful park at!D0E6BD382AAE6FC5!332.entry.

Cork features architecturally notable buildings originating from the Medieval to Modern periods. The only notable remnant of the Medieval era is the Red Abbey.

There are two cathedrals in the city; St Mary’s Cathedral and St Finbarr’s Cathedral. St Mary’s Cathedral, quite often referred to as the North Cathedral is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the city and was built in 1808. St Finbarr’s Cathedral serves the Protestant faith and is the more famous of the two. It is built on the foundations of an earlier cathedral. Work began in 1862 and ended in 1879 under the direction of architect William Burges.

St. Patrick’s Street


St. Patrick’s Street the main street of the city which was remodeled in the mid 2000s, is known for the architecture of the buildings along its pedestrian-friendly route and is the main shopping thoroughfare. The reason for its curved shape is that it originally was a channel of the River Lee that was built over on arches. The adjacent Grand Parade is a tree-lined avenue, home to offices, shops and financial institutions. The old financial centre is the South Mall, with several banks whose interior derive from the 19th century, such as the Allied Irish Bank’s which was once an exchange.

The centre of Cork city is built on marshy islands in the tidal estuary of the river Lee. Channels of the river originally separated these islands, and some of these channels were spanned in the eighteenth century to form the principal streets of Cork city centre. Among these is Saint Patrick’s Street. The position and general shape of the street is clearly visible in the very first plan of Cork city, dating from circa 1545.

Many of the city’s buildings are in the Georgian style, although there are a number of examples of modern landmark structures, such as County Hall tower, which was, at one time the tallest building in the Republic of Ireland until being superseded by another Cork City building: The Elysian. Across the river from County Hall is Ireland’s longest building; built in Victorian times, Our Lady’s Psychiatric Hospital has now been renovated and converted into a residential housing complex called Atkins Hall, after its architect William Atkins.

Cork’s most famous building is the church tower of Shandon, which dominates the North side of the city. It is widely regarded as the symbol of the city. The North and East sides are faced in red sandstone, and the West and South sides are clad in the predominant stone of the region, white limestone. At the top sits a weather vane in the shape of an eleven-foot salmon.

City Hall, another notable building of limestone, replaced the previous one which was destroyed by the Black and Tans during the War of Independence in an event known as the “Burning of Cork“. The cost of this new building was provided by the UK Government in the 1930s as a gesture of reconciliation.

Other notable places include Elizabeth Fort, the Cork Opera House, and Fitzgerald’s Park to the west of the city. Other popular tourist attractions include the grounds of University College Cork, through which the River Lee flows, and the English Market. This covered market traces its origins back to 1610, and the present building dates from 1786.

 The Grand Parade

The Grand Parade is built over a channel of the Lee, like so many of the other streets in the centre of Cork city. The channel, which later became the Grand Parade, is shown in the earliest maps of Cork. In the late 18th century Cork Corporation built culverts to carry the water for some of the channels of the Lee and built the streets over them. The channel had been completely filled in by the late 1780s.


The Grand Parade is the widest street in Cork. Its Irish name, Sráid an Chapaill Bhuí, the Street of the Yellow Horse, refers to the time when a statue of King George;II on horseback stood near where the National Monument now stands. The statue was painted a golden yellow colour in 1781. It was knocked from its pedestal 1862 by persons unknown and Cork Corporation removed the entire structure later in 1862.

For more information please visit the Angela Meehan’s blog on The Grand Parade at!D0E6BD382AAE6FC5!360.entry .

Fitzgerald’s Park

FITZ PARK TWO_thumb[8]

The Park is named after Edward Fitzgerald who was lord Mayor of Cork 1901-1903 and Chairman of Exhibition Committee. Generations of Cork people have strolled through the park, relaxed and enjoyed its calm tranquil atmosphere among the trees, shrubs and sculptures. To one side is the River Lee with swans, beyond lie the verdant gardens of Sunday’s Well, sloping down to the river bank, with here and there a smal slip peeping out, evoking memories of days when residents regularly went punting on the river.   For more on Fitzgerald’s Park, please visit Angela Meehan’s Blog at!D0E6BD382AAE6FC5!429.entry.

Up until April 2009, there were also two breweries in the city. The Beamish and Crawford on South Main Street closed in April 2009 and transferred production to the Murphy’s brewery in Lady’s Well. This brewery also produces Heineken for the Irish market.

Beamish and Crawford

Beamish and Crawford brewery


The Beamish and Crawford brewery was founded in 1792 by William Beamish and William Crawford. They purchased an existing brewery (from Edward Allen) on a site in Cramer’s lane that had been used for brewing since at least 1650 (and possibly as early as 1500). Beamish and Crawford’s “Cork Porter Brewery” prospered, and by 1805 it had become the largest brewery in Ireland and the third largest in the as a whole. In 1805 its output was 100,000 barrels per annum – up from 12,000 barrels in 1792.It remained the largest brewery in Ireland until overtaken by Guinness in 1833.  For more information please visit the blog on

Ziggy’s Rock and Blues Bar

James Browne opened these premises on the august in a,Partnership he then decided to take this adventure on by himself so take a look if you are in the area call in and admirer and maybe have a great pint or what ever takes your fancy enjoy the tour of a bloke with a family taking a chance and using his brains and is trying to make a business successful! The cutting of the ribbon into the bar on the first night of opening the Lady doing the honour is Philomena mother of the greatest Rock Star Phil Lynott Irish Band !  For more information please visit the Angela Meehan’s  blog on Ziggy’s Bar Rock and Blues Bar at!D0E6BD382AAE6FC5!318.entry.



The retail trade in Cork city is developing quickly with a mix of both modern, state of the art shopping centres and family owned local shops. Department stores cater for all budgets, with expensive boutiques for one end of the market and high street stores also available. Shopping centres can be found in many of Cork’s suburbs, including Blackpool, Ballincollig, Douglas, Ballyvolane, Wilton and Mahon. Others are available in the city centre, with plans and excavation work on-going for the development of three more large malls (The Cornmarket Centre on Cornmarket Street); The Opera Lane proposal off St. Patrick’s Street/Academy Street and the Grand Parade scheme planned for the site of the former Capitol Cineplex, the first multiplex outside of Dublin in Ireland), expanding the capacity of the city centre, to rival that of the suburbs. Cork’s main shopping street is St. Patrick’s Street and is the most expensive street in the country per sq. metre after Dublin’s Grafton Street. Other shopping areas in the city centre include Oliver Plunkett St. and Grand Parade. Cork is also home to some of the country’s leading department stores with the foundations of shops such as Dunnes Stores and the former Roches Stores being laid in the city. Almost 9km outside the city centre is Mahon Point Shopping Centre, which is the largest shopping center in Munster.

Industry & Commerce

Pfizer Inc. and Swiss company Novartis being big employers in the region. The most famous product of the Cork pharmaceutical industry is Viagra. Cork is also the European headquarters of Apple Inc. where their high end computers are manufactured and their European call centre, R&D and AppleCare is hosted. In total, they currently employ over 1,800 staff. EMC Corporation is another large IT employer with over 1,600 staff in their 52,000 sq metre (560,000 sq. ft.) engineering, manufacturing, and technical services facility.

It is also home to the Heineken Brewery which also brews Murphy’s Irish Stout and the nearby Beamish and Crawford brewery (recently taken over by Heineken) which have been in the city for generations. And for many years, Cork was the home to Ford Motor Company, which manufactured cars in the docklands area before the plant was closed. Henry Ford’s grandfather was from West Cork, which was one of the main reason for opening up the manufacturing facility in Cork. But technology has replaced the old manufacturing businesses of the 1970s and 1980s, with people now working in the many I.T. centres of the city.

Cork’s deep harbour allows ships of any size to enter, bringing trade and easy import/export of products. Cork Airport also allows easy access to continental Europe and Kent Station in the city centre provides good rail links for domestic trade. More recently, the online retailer, has set up in Cork Airport Business Park.

In 2008, developers announced a 1bn euro plan to create an Atlantic Quarter in Cork’s docklands area to rival that of the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin making it one of the biggest and most ambitious plans undertaken in the history of the state.

AnneMarie Twomey from the City of Cork shared the following:

The Castle of Blarney

HistoryBlarney Castle, as viewed by the visitor today, is the third to have been erected on this site. The first building in the tenth century was a wooden structure. Around 1210 A.D. this was replaced by a stone structure which had the entrance some twenty feet above the ground on the north face. This building was demolished for foundations. In 1446 the third castle was built by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster of which the keep still remains standing.

The lower walls are fifteen feet, built with an angle tower by the McCarthys of Muskerry. It was subsequently occupied at one time by Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, who is said to have supplied four thousand men from Munster to supplement the forces of Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Legend has it that the latter king gave half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy in gratitude. This, now known as the Blarney Stone, was incorporated in the battlements where it can now be kissed.


The Earl of Leicester was commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to take possession of the castle. Whenever he endeavoured to negotiate the matter McCarthy always suggested a banquet or some other form of delay, so that when the queen asked for progress reports a long missive was sent, at the end of which the castle remained untaken. The queen was said to be so irritated that she remarked that the earl’s reports were all ‘Blarney’. The castle was eventually invested by Cromwell’s General, Lord Broghill, who, planting a gun on Card Hill opposite and above the lake below the present mansion or new castle, succeeded in breaking the tower walls. However, when his men entered the keep, he found two old retainers, the main garrison had fled by the underground caves situated below the battlements known as the Badgers Caves. There are three passages, one to Cork, one to the lake and one seemingly to Kerry. At any rate, all had gone together with the reputed gold plate.



Blarney St is the longest street in cork and it leads out to Blarney.. out there, there is a lot of history with blarney stone etc etc… and also just off Blarney St. there is the Women’s  Gaol (jail) .

Cork City Gaol


Cork City Gaol Cork City Gaol is located in an area called Sundays Well. The Gaol was constructed in 1824. In the beginning it served as a prison for both males and females of all aged. Later it became the city’s women’s prison. During the nineteenth century conditions within the prison were wretched. Prisoners slept on straw, were fed with a meagre nation of bread and gruel and whipped for breaking prison rules. Most prisoners ended up in the City Gaol for ended up in the City Gaol for offences, which we would now not consider serious. In most cases their major crime was rampant in the city during the nineteenth century. The cell became home to young boys caught stealing and mothers nursing babies as well as the committed criminals. There are also stories of the city’s poor committing crimes in order to be put in the prison, where at least they would be fed. In 1922 the gaol was used to house republican prisoners during the Civil War. These were the last people imprisoned here. Cork Gaol closed soon after. In 1927 Radio Eireann set up a broadcasting station,6ck, in the former gaol. Today the ‘Radio Museum Experience’ includes remarkable equipment from the R.T.E. Museum Collection. It is located in the original studio and gives us an excellent insight into the early days of Irish and international radio broadcasting.

The Cork Butter Market opened in 1770 and continued trading for 150 years. It brought great wealth to Cork. The gates of the market opened at 6.00 am every week day morning. From then on all the nearby streets were busy with horse-drawn carts bringing butter to the market or carting it away to the local factories and waiting steamers on the quays.  The salted butter was brought to the market in wooden caskets called “firkins”. All butter firkins were made of oak, sycamore or good hardwood. The very best casks in the country were Cork-made ones, and these were compulsory for butter going to tropical parts of the world. Butter was brought by horse drawn cart from West Cork and Kerry along routes known as butter-roads

After the closure of the Butter Exchange the building housed a hat factory.After being destroyed by fire it lay derelic for a period of time.  Today the circular building has been restored as an arts and performance centre. It is now known as the Firkin Crane Building.

History of the Rebel County!

Angela Meehan has started a blog on the City of Cork that goes back the 1901 with the Digitization of Irish 1901 and 1911 census records.  You can access it by clicking on History of the Rebel County!.

You can see all of our blogs on our WEB Site for IRELAND at 

If you are interested in helping me with blogs on Ireland please contact me at

The following is an Irish Blessing:


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8 Responses to City of Cork, County Cork, Ireland

  1. elizabeth anne says:

    omg this is brilliant of course the music poetry songs art etc in cork is truely original too unique people you will find here we like to lead not follow !!!!!!!!!!

  2. ann marie says:

    well done on the blog very interesting, someone did their homewrk 🙂

  3. Charlene says:

    Very interesting to read and great photographs.

  4. Angela says:


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