1902 Encyclopedia > Cork (city), Ireland

Cork (city), Ireland




CORK, a city and port, is a county in itself, 138 miles south-west of Dublin direct and 165 by rail, and 11 miles north-west of the port of Queenstown, in 51° 53' 39"'3 N. lat and 8° 20' W. long. Until lately it ranked as the second city in Ireland, but of late Belfast has far surpassed it in population, wealth, and commerce. The original site of the city seems to have been located in the vicinity of the cathedral, which was founded by St Fin-Barre about 622. In the 9th century this place was frequently pillaged by the Northmen or Danes. According to the Annals of the Four Masters, a fleet burned Cork in 821; in 846 the Danes appear to have been in possession of the city, for a hosting was made to demolish their fortress ; and in 1012 a great fleet of foreigners burned Cork. The Danes then appear to have founded the new city on the banks of the Biver Lee for the purpose of trade. The city was anciently surrounded with a wall, and we find in the city council book an order for its reparation so late as the year 1748. In the beginning of the 18th century the ground on which the principal part of the present city is built consisted of numerous islands intersected by canals or connected by drawbridges, through which small vessels could pass at high tide. The river now consists of the north and south branches. Both are lined with fine quays of cut limestone, the north spanned by four and the south by as many more bridges. The principal streets are St Patrick Street, Grand Parade, South Mall, and Great George Street. There are 517 streets, roads, lanes, and public passages in the borough, measuring 54^ miles. St Patrick's Bridge is an elegant structure, commenced in 1859.

Plan of Cork.
1 School of Design and Museum, i 4. Court House i 7. Barracks.
2. Custom House. 5. Queen's College. 8. Cora Exchange.
3. Theatre. I 6. Cathedral. ! 9. Blind Asylum.

Churches.—There are eight Protestant parish churches, including the cathedral. St Luke's has lately been sepa-rated from St Ann de Shandon. There are three Boman Catholic parish churches, and the church of St Patrick. The Franciscan, Dominican, Augustinian, Carmelite, and St Vincent de Paul orders have also their respective churches ; there are besides three convents and two monas-teries. The principal church is the new Protestant cathedral, the foundation stone of which was laid, 12th January 1865. It succeeds a rather mean building, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1735 on the site of a very ancient cathedral which suffered during the siege of Cork in September 1689-90. This building is in the Early French style, and when completed will cost near £100,000. The tower and spires now being erected are the gift of two merchant princes of Cork—Mr William Crawford and Mr Francis Wise—and will cost £30,000. The entire cathedral is due to the indefatigable exertions and munificence of Dr John Gregg, bishop of Cork, Cloyne, and Boss. The other Protestant churches are extremely poor externally, except St Nicholas and St Luke's; the latter is a neat structure on the high ground north-east of the city. The Roman Catholic cathedral is being restored to suit the fine Gothic steeple which adjoins it. The other Roman Catholic churches, St Mary, St Peter and Paul, St Patrick, Holy Trinity, and St Vincent de Paul are magnificent structures, and rank amongst the finest modern ecclesiastical edifices in Ireland. There are also the Presbyterian, a Baptist, an Independent, and two Wesleyan Methodist places of worship, as well as a Friends' meeting house.
Public Buildings.—The court-house is an elegant Grecian structure with a Corinthian portico about 30 feet in height. The Corn Exchange, Savings Bank, Provincial Bank, and Bank of Ireland are handsome buildings of cut limestone. The custom-house is built at the juncture of the two branches of the Biver Lee, and commands the river. The Commercial Buildings, Chamber of Commerce, and Hiber-nian, National, and Munster Banks all possess some _____ tectural merit.
Educational, Scientific, and Charitable Institutions.— The Queen's College, built on the site of an old feudal castle, is a fine structure, in the Tudor-Gothic style. It was opened 1849, and now possesses a library of about 22,000 volumes, a good museum, and a laboratory furnished with all the apparatus necessary for the advancement of modern scientific inquiry. The Model School has a daily-attendance of about 381 pupils; Christian Brothers, 1870 pupils ; Sisters of Charity, 750 pupils; Presentation Nuns, 1650 pupils ; Sisters of Mercy, 600 pupils; Presentation Brothers, 1200 pupils. There are also the several parochial and industrial schools which are well attended. Under the auspices of the National Board is the Cork Agricultural School, about two miles from the city, for the purpose of educating pupils exclusively in agricultural science.
The Cork Library, which was founded 1790, contains a valuable collection of books in every department of literature. The Royal Cork Institution, established by a royal charter in 1807, in addition to an extensive library of works chiefly scientific and historical, and a rare collection of Oriental MSS., possesses a valuable collection of minerals classified for examination. The fine collection of casts from the antique presented by the Pope to King George IV., which are now the property of the institution, are used by the pupils of the Cork School of Art. There are numerous literary and scientific societies, and the Cork Cuvierian and Archaeological Society, which publishes a monthly report of its proceedings. There also are young men's societies presided over by the clergy of the different religious denominations.
The North and South Infirmary and Fever Hospital are supported by public grants, and hospitals have been estab-lished and. supported by private benevolence for almost every form of human suffering. The Cork District Lunatic Asylum occupies a fine position on the brow of a hill in the western suburb. It contains a daily average of 730 patients ; the recoveries are computed at about 43-3 per cent. The Cork Union Workhouse contains a daily average of 2000 inmates, about one-half of whom are daily under hospital treatment. The buildings, out-offices, &c, occupy about 18 acres of land ; the annual income from taxation is £40,000.
The city water-works were erected under local Acts of 1852-56 at a cost of £100,000. They supply the city with 5,000,000 gallons of water daily, also 625 hydrants and 166 public fountains ; the extent of main pipes is 59 miles, of service pipes, about 66. Since the passing of the Intramural Burial Act the corporation of Cork has established a new cemetery (St Fin-Barre's) about a mile west of the city, at a cost of £12,000. It is already adorned with some handsome and costly monuments. St Joseph's cemetery, founded by Father Matthew in 1830 on the site of the old Botanic Gardens of the Cork Institution, is also beautifully planted and much used.
Trade.—The Cork Butter Exchange may be considered as the centre of the most important branch of manufacture not only in the county but in the entire province of Muuster. Stafford in his letters mentions the exportation of corn and butter from Cork in 1633 to Spain. The pre-sent market dates from 1769, from which time there exists an unbroken series of accounts. The largest number of firkins of butter on record that passed through the market was that of the year ending 14th April 1876. The number amounted to 431,796 firkins, representing a marketable value of nearly £1,700,000. The season 1859-60 ap-proached it very closely (431,462), which was accounted for by the gold fever then at its height in Australia, Cork being the only market capable of meeting the demand, supplying a kind of butter suited to bear a long voyage ; its prepara-tion is a spécialité, the system of classification by brand-ing being carried out under the inspection of an expert. Each firkin contains on an average 74 lb. Wheat and corn are extensively imported into Cork, the facilities for discharging vessels of great burden being lately increased by deepening the channels of the river and erecting jetties along the Marina. For the year ending 31st December 1875 there were 620,240 quarters of wheat and 289,275 quarters of corn discharged in the port of Cork (a quarter is about 480 lb). There are three distilleries and four breweries in the city, which manufacture largely for home consumption and exportation. The tanning trade is also extensively carried on. An extensive flax-mill has been lately established, and a manufactory for chemical manure, which produces about 10,000 tons annually. A large traffic is also carried on in the exportation of cattle (for which special steamers are sometimes run twice aweek), eggs, feathers, and fish, particularly salmon, for which the Biver Lee is celebrated. The registered tonnage of vessels at the portin 1876 was 34,801. The number and tonnage of vessels entering the port, employed in the cross channel and coast-ing trade, reached 2644 vessels and 667,316 tons ; in the British colonial trade, 62 vessels of 27,641 tons ; in the foreign trade, 637 vessels, tonnage 161,739. The custom duties of the port average about £288,641.
Municipality.—The city, which is represented in Parlia-ment by two members, is presided over by a mayor, a high sheriff, fourteen aldermen, and forty-one town councillors. It has from time to time received several charters ; the oldest, a copy of which only remains, is preserved in the Library oi the British Museum (Harl., No. 441). The principal charter is that of James I. The council books of the corporation from 1610 to 1800 have just been published. Cork holds a conspicuous place in the annals of Ireland, as will be seen by reference to the calendar of state papers, lately published under the master of the rolls. On 28th September 1689-90, the city surrendered to the earl of Marlborough after five days' siege, when the duke of Grafton was mortally wounded. The Irish were in possession of the city and Elizabeth Fort adjoining, which capitulated after being attacked with the muskets of a few soldiers, who fired into it from the steeple of the cathedral of Cork, which was directly opposite. The principal subsequent events of any moment will be found recorded in the council books above mentioned.
Population.—The decrease in the population of the
county has not extended to the city in the same proportion.
In 1851 the inhabitants of the municipal borough, within
an area of 2266 acres, numbered 85,745 ; in 1861, 80,121,
and in 1871, 78,642 (males, 36,847 ; females, 41,795),
showing a decrease within twenty years of about 8J per
cent., that of the county being 20 per cent. The Parlia-
mentary borough, which has an area extending to 46,086
acres, contained 102,526 inhabitants in 1871. Of the
population in the municipal borough 66,716 were Catholics
and 11,926 Protestants. The proportion of Protestants,
of whom 9196 were Presbyterians and 1028 Episcopalians,
is equal to 15 j per cent, of the whole population, con*
siderably higher than in the county. (E.C.)








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