Cork lies on the banks of the River Lee in the south of the country. The patron Saint of Cork, Saint Finbar (c.550-c.620) founded a monastery on the south bank of the River Lee approximately 1,400 years ago where St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral now stands. A settlement grew up around this monastery and was added to (and ransacked by) Viking invaders during the ninth and tenth centuries. The town grew and the English Norman King Henry II, who had been requested by Pope Adrian IV to collect papal dues not paid, gave Cork city status in 1185. Like Venice, the city is built upon water, and the city centre is built on an island in the River Lee, just upstream of Cork Harbour and many of the city’s streets were once waterways which were lined with warehouses. ‘Statio Bene Fide Carinis’ – “A safe Harbour for ships” is the motto of the city that is found on the coat of arms.
There are two cathedrals in the city; St. Mary’s Cathedral and Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. St Mary’s Cathedral, often referred to as the North Cathedral, is the Catholic cathedral of the city and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral serves the Protestant faith and is possibly the more famous of the two.
St. Mary’s Cathedral and Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral.
St. Finbarr’s Cathedral – This is just a few minutes away from Elizabeth fort and much easier to find. A fine 19th century Gothic building. Visible from the back is a golden angel with a trumpet high upon a tower.
The Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne is situated in the historic centre of the city and is located on the site of a former church built in the 1730s. Much of the cathedral was destroyed in a fire in 1820 and subsequently rebuilt.
St. Patrick’s Street, the main street of the city, is known for the architecture of the buildings along its pedestrian-friendly route and is the main shopping thoroughfare.
Cork’s most famous building is the church tower of Shandon, which dominates the North side of the city. It is widely regarded as the symbol of the city.
Cork City Hall, another notable building of limestone, replaced the previous one which was destroyed by the Black and Tans during the War of Independence.
Other notable places include Elizabeth Fort, the Cork Opera House, Christ Church on South Main Street and St Mary’s Dominican Church on Popes Quay.
Cork Butter Museum tells the story of Ireland’s most important food export.
Cork City Goal is a restored goal complete with furnished cells.
Blackrock Castle lies 1 mile downstream from the city centre. The castle was built in 1582 by Lord Mountjoy as a harbour fortification.
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