Wordless Wednesday : Handle With Care

Old gunpowder barrell at Spike Island

Old gunpowder barrell at Spike Island

Wordless Wednesday : Going Back In Time


Quaint country cottage

Quaint country cottage

Bell Ringing at St Finbarrs Cathedral

 Looking through the mists of time

Looking through the mists of time

St Finbarr’s Cathedral is a great attraction in Cork city, and. like Shandon, can be see from many parts of  the city, and it’s history goes back a long way.

In the year 606 St Finbarr founded a monastery on the site of the present Cathedral,  There is a lot of history within the site, and the present cathedral was established in1862, and many old artifacts were discovered when the older building was being demolished.

There is also a magnificent set of bells in the cathedral that have been fully restored and can be played by visitors, if you have the muscles to pull the heavy ropes to make music!

Signs from Above : Cork History

On my walk around Cork City, I came across some plaques commemorating famous people who lived in various old houses around the city.   Here is the first one, as you can see, Mary Aikenhead, who was the founder of the Religious Sisters of Charity and lived a very interesting life.    She was born in 1787 to wealthy parents, her father was a member of the Church of Ireland, and her mother was a Catholic, and they lived in Daunt’s Square, which is right in the heart of the city, where our main street, Patrick Street, meets the Grand Parade.   For the first six or seven years of her life, Mary was fostered out to a Catholic family, we don’t know why, and the plaque I found is on a house that she lived in when she was 11 years old until she was about 15 (maybe because she went to the local secondary school, the Presentation Convent).

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The next interesting character I came across was Denny Lane, who lived for a while and died in a house in the South Mall, which is now mainly the business district of the city centre, where a lot of lawyers, accountants, banks, insurance companies have their offices.     Denny Lane‘s father owned a distillery outside the city, and Denny himself is described as  ‘a highly respected citizen of Cork’  and was a director and chairman of many old Cork companies.

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The house on the South Mall, where Denny Lane lived

The house on the South Mall, where Denny Lane lived

The next interesting character I found was Richard Rolt Brash, an architect.   This plaque was over the building known as The Assembly Rooms  (The Assems),  well known to the youth of Cork inthe 50s and 60s, (and probably earlier) as it housed one of the first cinemas in Cork, and before that it was a meeting room and function room.    Richard Rolt Brash also designed the Grand Hotel in Fermoy, and coincidentally, the house where Denny Lane died, which is right across the road from the Assembly Rooms.    These buildings still look beautiful, and stand out amongst the plain steel and glass of modern times.

Designer of the Assembly Rooms and other Cork buildings

Designer of the Assembly Rooms and other Cork buildings

The grand entrance of the Assembly Rooms

The grand entrance of the Assembly Rooms

The Assembly Rooms, Cork

The Assembly Rooms, Cork

My final character for today is Richard Dowden, a former Lord Mayor of Cork, who was described as a botanist, philanthropist, and probably he is most notable for the fact that he was co-founder. with Father Mathew, of the Temperance Movement  in Ireland….back in the days when the Irish were known for their excessive drinking!  There is a statue to Father Mathew where St Patrick’s Bridge meets St Patrick’s Street,  known to everyone from Cork, or who as ever been to Cork – as ‘de Statue’!    And right beside it is another Cork landmark since the 1800s – the Mangan clock – almost as famous as the Clery’s clock as a meeting place.   I wonder how many first dates took place under these clocks?

Plaque near the Paul Street shopping centre

Plaque near the Paul Street shopping centre

Back view of 'de Statue' and Mangans Clock, 2 Cork landmarks

Back view of ‘de Statue’ and Mangans Clock, 2 Cork landmarks

Shandon Bells

When the Shandon Bells ring out over the city, they can be heard for miles around, and it is a great tourist attraction in one of the oldest parts of the city, with narrow cobblestone streets all around.    Whenever I had friends visiting, especially people who visited Cork for the first time, Shandon was always one of the first places we would visit, along with Blarney Castle.    Besides ringing the bells, we could also climb on the battlements and have a fantastic view of the city.   I am not sure if  ‘Health and Safety’ allow people to go on the battlements nowadays.

The tower is built with two types of stone – red sandstone from the original Shandon castle which stood nearby, and limestone taken from the derelict Franciscan Abbey which stood on the North Mall. As you approach Shandon, from all directions, you will see both coloured stone of red and white and people say that this is the reason why the Cork  sporting colours are red and white.

St Anne’s Graveyard, by the church, is the resting place of the Mahony family (who were the founders of Blarney Woollen Mills) and one of the family was also known as Father Prout.  He was a local priest in the area, wrote the song ‘The Bells of Shandon‘ around the 1830s, this song can still be heard occasionally on traditional Irish programmes.


Shandon aka the Four Faced Liar

You will see from the above, that both clocks show different times, one of the reasons that the Clock is called the Four Faced Liar!

Another view of Shandon

Another view of Shandon


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