The city of Cork is known as “the rebel city” for its opposure to British rule during the War of the Roses and again during the Irish Civil War. For this it has further claimed the unofficial title of “the real capital” of Ireland.
Settled by Viking invaders during the 10th century as a trading port, Cork has suffered over the centuries by its proximity to England; the Black Death, carried over from England, wiped out half of the city’s population in 1349; the War of the Roses, which in Cork began with the recruitment of the mayor and his citizens, ended with their capture and execution at the hands of the English; English troops further brutalized the (Catholic) population in Cork during the Irish Rebellion of 1641; Cromwell’s army invaded in 1649, preceding the Williamite War in Ireland in 1689; then during the 1920s, a rogue paramilitary group assembled by the RIC called the Black and Tans cut through the city, murdering indiscriminately those they suspected of being IRA sympathisers (including the Mayor of Cork, Thomas Mac Curtain, who was executed in front of his family).
Despite its medieval historical background (Cork was once a walled city), little remains of the period. Red Abbey, a 14th century Augustinian monastery, in its entirety consists of the bell tower of the abbey church. Many of the city’s buildings are otherwise in a Georgian style. Two restored cathedrals feature in Cork: the Cathedral of St. Mary (Roman Catholic) and St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland). But the most famous of Cork’s religious buildings by far is the Church of St. Anne in the Shandon district, overlooking the River Lee. The tower clock is known as “The Four Faced Liar” as the faces on each side are slightly off. Visitors on the first floor of the church are themselves free to ring its eight bells.
Unmissable Attractions Cork City
1. Crawford Municipal Art Gallery (Opening Times: Monday – Saturday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. except for Thursday when the gallery opens from 10.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m.)
2. The English Market (Opening Times: Monday – Saturday from 9.30 a.m. – 17.30 p.m.)
3. St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral (Opening Times: Monday – Friday from 9.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Saturday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.) Prices: Adults €5.00 / Children and students €3.00
4. St. Anne’s Church (Opening Times: Opening Times vary from season – season, but generally the church is open Monday – Saturday from 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m.)
5. Cork Butter Museum (Opening Times: Monday – Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. in summer / Monday – Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. in winter) Prices: Adults €4.00 / Senior citizens and students €3.00 / School Students €1.50 / Children under 12 go free