Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cork
Cork (Corcaigh, "Marshy Place") is Ireland's largest city after Dublin and Belfast, with an international airport. It lies on the south coast, apparently inland but in fact linked with the sea by way of Cork Harbor and the narrow channel called Passage West. The central area of Cork is in effect an island enclosed between the two arms of the River Lee, the North and South Channels. The river, spanned by several bridges within the city, flows into Lough Mahon as Cork Harbor is also called.
Cork is the intellectual center of southern Ireland, with many cultural institutions, including the Cork Literary and Scientific Society, founded in 1820. It has a college of the National University of Ireland and two cathedrals, Roman Catholic and Protestant.
Cork is also a considerable port, mainly shipping agricultural produce. Its industries include foodstuffs, textiles, footwear and chemicals.
Cork's history began with the founding of a monastery by St Finbarr (seventh century) on a small alluvial island in the River Lee, where St Finbarr's Cathedral now stands. The monastery and the settlement which grew up around it flourished in spite of several Danish raids, and later were incorporated in the fortified base which the Danes developed here. After the arrival of the English King Henry II in Ireland in 1172 the town was several times captured, recovered and retaken, with the English and the Irish alternating as its masters. In 1284 it was surrounded by a new circuit of walls; in 1378 it was burned down by the Irish; in 1495 it was taken by Perkin Warbeck, the Yorkist Pretender to the English throne; and in 1642 it was captured by Irish insurgents, who were driven out of the city in 1644 and again in 1649. In 1690 the city walls were pulled down.
During the Civil War, in 1920, two mayors of Cork were killed and large areas of the city were damaged by fire.
As a result of this history of war and destruction Cork has preserved hardly any old buildings. It has, however, some fine 18th century buildings, and the central area between the two arms of the river is given its architectural character by the churches and other buildings of the early 19th century The house fronts are frequently color-washed, and the quays along the river, with their limestone walls, are lined with trees.