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Cork (city)
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Cork (city)

Cork City
Area: 37.3 km²
County: County Cork
Population: 123,062 (2002)
Province: Munster

Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) is the second city of the Republic of Ireland. Also the principal city of County Cork, it is situated in the province of Munster, slightly inland from the southern coast proper. The River Lee flows through the city, with the main part of the city centre on an island just before the Lee flows into Lough Mahon and thence to Cork Harbour, one of the world's largest natural harbours. The city is a major Irish seaport - with quays and docks sited along the broad waterway of the Lee on the city's East.

Table of contents
1 About the city
2 History
3 Places of interest
4 Railway heritage
5 Culture
6 Education
7 See also
8 External links

About the city

The city's name is derived from the Irish corcaigh, meaning "marshy place", referring to its situation on the River Lee. Cork has a reputation for independence running from the times of Viking invasions to the Irish Civil War, which has given it the nickname of "Rebel Cork". It is a common joke to refer to Cork as the "true capital of Ireland". (Dublin was, for many years, an English stronghold). More recently, t-shirts proclaiming the Peoples Republic of Cork have been popular.


Cork is a historic city, with the city charter being granted over 800 years ago, in 1172. Cork has its beginnings in a much earlier monastic settlement, founded by St. Finbar. Over the centuries, much of the city was rebuilt, time and again, after numerous fires and attacks by Vikings or Norsemen. The city was at one time fully walled, and several sections and gates remain. During the Irish Civil War, Cork was for a time held by republican forces.

Places of interest

There are at least two cathedrals in the city, St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Finbar's Cathedral.

The modern Cork Opera House is one of the few such venues in Ireland.

Cork city in general boasts some fabulous architecture, capable of rivalling that of Dublin or Belfast. The main street, Patrick Street, was remodelled in the years up to 2004. As the main shopping street, it boasts striking buildings along its broad avenue (much of which is given to pedestrian use). Grand Parade, another part of the route, is a tree-lined avenue, home to many offices and financial institutions. Many of its buildings are in the Georgian style, although the modern County Hall tower is one of the tallest buildings in Ireland.

Fitzgerald's Park, to the west of the city, is worth a visit – as are the grounds of UCC, through which the River Lee flows.

Railway heritage

Cork city was one of the most rail orientated cities in Ireland. It has boasted a total of perhaps 8 stations at various times. The main route, still much the same today, is that from Dublin. Originally terminating on the city's outskirts at Blackpool, the Glanmire tunnel now connects it to the city centre terminus (nowadays actually a through station) of Kent Station. The town of Cóbh, on Great Island, east of the city, is also connected - though the route originally had its own terminus perpendicular to the current station. This also connected to the East Cork seaside town of Youghal, until the 1980s.

Other rail route terminating or traversing Cork city were the Cork, Blackrock and Passage railway, lines to Macroom and Blarney, as well as the famous West Cork Railway connecting Bantry, Skibbereen, Clonakilty and many other West Cork towns. West Cork trains terminated at Albert Quay, across the river from Kent Station (though an on-street rail 'system' connected the two for rolling stock and cargo movement).

The city also boasted its own tram system until the beginning of the 1930s.

All that remains of the once-extensive public transport system is the line to Dublin (also serving Mallow, County Kerry and Limerick) and that to Cóbh. The only rail projects currently under consideration are an enhanced suburban service along the current lines, and a connection towards Youghal (probably only as far as Midleton).


Cork's cultural life is surprisingly vibrant, considering its small population. Music, theatre, dance and film all play a prominent role in city life. The Cork School of Music and the Crawford College of Art & Design; provide a constant throughput of new blood, as do the active theatre component of many courses at University College Cork (UCC). Worth checking out are: Corcadorca Theatre Company, where Killian Murphy [slated to play the villain in the next Batman film] got his start; Cork Film Festival, a major supporter of the art of the short film; The Institute for Choreography and Dance, a national contemporary dance resource; the Triskel Arts Centre; Cork Jazz Festival; etc. etc.

Recent additions to the arts infrastructure include splendid modern additions to Cork Opera House and the Crawford Art Gallery. The fantastic new Lewis Glucksmann Gallery is scheduled to open in the Autumn of 2004 at UCC, and building is about to commence on the new eur60million School of Music building.

Cork will be European Capital of Culture in 2005.


Cork is also an important educational center in Ireland. University College Cork (UCC), one of Ireland's seven universities, offers a wide variety of courses including art, engineering, law, medicine and science. The university was named "Irish University of the Year 2003-2004" by the Sunday Times. Cork Institute of Technology offers a variety of third level course, and is one of the few places in Ireland were nautical studies are available. In addition there are colleges of art, design and music at the institiute.

See also

Cities in the Republic of Ireland
Dublin | Cork | Limerick | Galway | Waterford | Kilkenny
Cities in Northern Ireland
Belfast | Londonderry | Armagh | Newry | Lisburn

External links