Summer is well and truly upon us. So the first set of walking tours are set out below. Don’t forget that Heritage Week begins on Saturday 20 August. Put it in the diary if you have a passion for all things Cork history.
Monday 25 July 2016 – Blackrock Historical Walking Tour with Kieran, From Blackrock Castle, learn about nineteenth century life and a fishing village, castles, convents and industries, meet in courtyard of Blackrock Castle, 7pm (free, duration: two hours, finishes St Michael’s Church of Ireland).
The earliest and official evidence for settlement in Blackrock dates to c.1564 when the Galway family created what was to become known as Dundanion Castle. Over 20 years later, Blackrock Castle was built circa 1582 by the citizens of Cork with artillery to resist pirates and other invaders. In the early 1700s, the prominent Tuckey family, of which Tuckey Street in the city centre is named, became part of the new social elite in Cork after the Williamite wars and built part of what became known in time at the Ursuline Convent. The building of the Navigation Wall or Dock in the 1760s turned focus to reclamation projects in the area and the eventual creation of public amenity land such as the Marina Walk during the time of the Great Famine. The early 1800s coincided with an enormous investment into creating new late Georgian mansions by many other key Cork families, such as the Chattertons, the Frends, the McMullers, Deanes and the Nash families, amongst others. Soon Blackrock was to have its own bathing houses, schools, hurling club, suburban railway line, and Protestant and Catholic Church. The pier that was developed at the heart of the space led to a number of other developments such as fisherman cottages and a fishing industry. This community is reflected in the 1911 census with 64 fisherman listed in Blackrock.
Wednesday 27 July 2016 – Sunday’s Well Walking Tour with Kieran, From Wise’s Hill to the heart of Sunday’s Well learn about the development of an eighteenth century suburb, historic churches, gaol, and the early origins of the Mardyke, meet at Old Wise’s Distillery House, North Mall, 7pm (free, duration: two hours, finishes at Shaky Bridge).
This tour begins at the elegant house at the junction of the North Mall and Wise’s Hill, which was the residence of the distiller Francis Wise. It is a beautiful detached five-bay three-storey former house, built c. 1800, now in use as a university building. The building retains interesting features and materials, such as the timber sliding sash windows, wrought-iron lamp bracket arch, and interior fittings. The North Mall distillery was established on Reilly’s Marsh around 1779, and by 1802 the Wise brothers were running the firm. Whiskey production was another significant industry in Cork from the late eighteenth century.
Across the river channel, the complex of buildings known as the Lee Maltings, now the home of the Tyndall National Institute, forms one of the most significant surviving industrial sites in Cork city dating back to the eighteenth century. They were the largest water-powered flour and corn milling installation to become established on the north channel of the River Lee, and was also the last flour mills within the city to rely solely on water for milling.
Thursday 28 July 2016 – Ballinlough Historical Walking Tour with Kieran, From the heart of Ballinlough along, learn about nineteenth century market gardens, schools, industries, and Cork’s suburban standing stone, meet outside Beaumont BNS, Beaumont 7pm (free, duration: two hours, finishes at Ballinlough Community Centre).
With 360 acres, Ballinlough is the second largest of the seven townlands forming the Mahon Peninsula. If you think of its geographic location on a limestone ridge over-looking the river and harbour and the name Baile an Locha – settlement of the lake – that is where the name could come from, a settlement overlooking the nearby Douglas estuary. There is a lot of early history in Ballinlough from the standing stone in Ardmahon Estate to the Knight’s Templar church and graveyard site to the former big houses of the area, the last remnants of the market gardens. Then there is the sporting heritage such as Flower Lodge and Cork Constitution.
Friday 29 July 2016 – Blackpool Historical Walking Tour with Kieran, From Fair Hill to the heart of Blackpool, learn about nineteenth century shambles, schools, convents and industries, meet at the North Mon gates, Gerald Griffin Avenue, 7pm (free, duration: two hours, finishes on St Mary’s Road).
The walking tour weaves its way from the North Mon into Blackpool, Shandon and Gurranbraher highlighting nineteenth century life in this corner of Cork from education to housing to politics, to religion, to industry and to social life itself. Blackpool was the scene of industry in Cork in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for industries such as tanning through big names such as Dunn’s Tannery and distilling through families such as the Hewitts. The leather industry at one vibrant in Blackpool with no fewer than 46 tanyards at work there in 1837 giving employment to over 700 hands and tanning on average 110,000 hides annually.
853a. Sunday’s Well, c.1900 (source: Souvenir of Cork & Killarney: with 19 illustrations, complete with letterpress, see Cork City Library).
853b. The Marina, Cork, c.1900 (source: Souvenir of Cork & Killarney: with 19 illustrations, complete with letterpress, see Cork City Library).