Kieran’s Historical Tours of Fitzgerald’s Park and Old Line


As part of Cork’s Culture Night on Friday 19 September, Cllr Kieran McCarthy will conduct a walking tour of Fitzgerald’s Park and its environs (new tour, 5pm, free, meet at Park stage, approx 1 hour). The park’s entrance pillars on the Mardyke, the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion, the museum, the fountain in the middle of the central pond dedicated to Fr Mathew and timber posts eroding in the river were once part of one of Cork’s greatest historical events, the Cork International Exhibitions of 1902 and 1903. Just like the magical spell of Fitzgerald’s Park, the exhibitions were spaces of power. Revered, imagined and real spaces were created. They were marketing strategies where the past, present and future merged, Aesthetics of architecture, colour, decoration and lighting were all added to the sense of spectacle and in a tone of moral and educational improvement. The entire event was the mastermind of Cork Lord Mayor Edward Fitzgerald, after whom the park got its name.


Interested in finding out more on the Old Cork-Blackrock and Passage Railway Line and its connection to Cork Harbour? Cllr Kieran McCarthy will conduct a tour of the city side of the old line on Saturday evening, 20 September starting at 6.30pm at the entrance on The Marina side adjacent the Main Drainage station of the Amenity Walk. The tour is free (approx 1 1/2 hours, as part of Cork Harbour Open Day) and is open to all. South east Cork City is full of historical gems; the walk not only talks about the history of the line but also the history of the villages and harbour that surround the old line itself.


The Cork Blackrock and Passage Railway, which opened in 1850, was among the first of the Irish suburban railway projects. The original terminus, designed by Sir John Benson was based on Victoria Road but moved in 1873 to Hibernian Road. The entire length of track between Cork and Passage was in place by April 1850 and within two months, the line was opened for passenger traffic. In May 1847, low embankments, which were constructed to carry the railway over Monarea Marshes (Albert Road-Marina area), was finished. In Blackrock, large amounts of material were removed and cut at Dundanion to create part of the track there. Due to the fact that the construction was taking place during the Great Famine, there was no shortage of labour. A total of 450 men were taken on for the erection of the embankments at the Cork end of the line. Another eighty were employed in digging the cutting beyond Blackrock. These and other stories feature on Kieran’s tour.