Regency Architecture and Streets of Cork, Ireland’s second largest city was originally founded in the 7th century as the monastery of St. Finbarr on a small island on the River Lee where St. Finbarr’s Cathedral now stands. King Henry 11 arrived in Ireland in 1172, with power changing between Irish and English. Walls were built round the city in 1284 and were eventually pulled down in 1690 after many years of war and destruction. Most of the remaining medieval buildings have been destroyed and the fire during the Civil War of 1921 caused further damage.
The churches and many other buildings in central Cork date from the early 18th century while the 19th century produced some distinguished architecture when the Richard brothers arrived from London and built bridges, jails, a courthouse and many of the lovely town houses with Regency bow fronts.
The Cork Public Museum is set in a grand Georgian Mansion and sited within Fitzpatrick Park. You can learn how Cork was once the centre of the Butter Exchange in the 19th Century by visiting the Butter Museum on O’Connell Square. Visitors are also welcome at the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Ballincollig Regional Park about 5 miles from town.
Queenstown reverted to its Gaelic name of Cobh in 1922. Lying at the mouth of the River Lee, it is the gateway to Cork. Cobh has a long maritime history as the departure point of thousands of immigrants to America and was the last port of call for the Titanic before her disastrous voyage across the Atlantic. The region’s maritime history is clearly documented in the Cobh Heritage Centre. The ‘neo-gothic’ Cathedral of Saint Colman dominates the skyline of this charming little port.
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Photo: Cobh Town (Queenstown) (RG) – 23