Cork, Our City, Our Town

Posted by admin on December 12, 2019

Christmas on the Grand Parade, Cork, December 2019

A Word from Kieran:

     This year 2019 marks the 20th year of “Our City, Our Town”, my column in the Cork Independent newspaper that explores, recovers and celebrates Cork’s rich past, its histories and memories. This website has developed out of my own affection for Cork (a port city, European maritime region and Atlantic-facing territory  in southern Ireland). The website highlights my explorations of Cork’s landscapes and its memories through highlighting my historical walking tours, talks, educational programs, writings (check out the Our City Our Town newspaper index) and photography on Cork City and its wider region in particular in the River Lee Valley and Cork Harbour and also the continuing move towards marketing Cork City and region as a tourist – cultural destination.

   My second website, supports my local government councillor work in Cork and has information on Cork City Council news and concerns, community events and seeks to showcase the great work being pursued by community groups in the south east part of Cork City. In previous years Cork has been named in the top 10 cities in the world to visit by Yahoo. Cork has been placed third as one of the places to visit in the world by the influential Lonely Planet tour guide company. It was just behind such prestigious company as Abu Dhabi UAE, and Charleston USA and ahead of Istanbul, Lecce, Kyoto and Singapore.

    Cork is unique among other Irish cities in that it alone has experienced all phases of Irish urban development, from c.600AD to the present day. The settlement at Cork began as a monastic centre in the seventh century, founded by St FinBarre. It served as a Viking port before the Anglo-Normans arrived and created a prosperous walled town; it grew through the influx of English colonists during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and suffered the political problems inherent in Irish society at that time; it was altered significantly through Georgian and Victorian times when reclamation of its marshes became a priority, along with the construction of spacious streets and grand town houses; its quays, docks and warehouses exhibit the impact of the industrial revolution; and in the last one hundred years, Corkonians have witnessed both the growth of extensive suburbs and the rejuvenation of the inner city.

     Cork as a city has been and is being reinvented so much through the fulfilment of ideas of varied citizens, all striving to carve a niche for themselves in the life of the city. Perhaps, the most important influence on the city’s development was and is the River Lee, which has witnessed the city’s growth from a monastic centre to a cosmopolitan twenty-first-century city.

   Originally, Cork comprised a series of marshy islands, which the Irish for the city, Corcaigh, or marshes, reflects. Just west of the city centre the Lee splits into two channels, each flowing around the city before meeting again in Cork harbour. This means the city centre is an island, bounded by a north channel and a south channel. The urban centre was built on the lowest crossing-point of the river, where it meets the sea. This situation has given the city a rich maritime history and a strong identification as a port town.

    Alongside the city’s physical development is the story of its people. In character they are astute, confident, and often rebellious – a trait passed down through generations and remembered in Cork songs and oral tradition. Corkonians make Cork unique. Many commentators have noted the sociable nature of the inhabitants, as Robert Gibbings, poet and writer, put it in 1944: ‘… people that you have never met in your life stop you in the street for a conversation’. The city’s panoply of life – people, buildings, quays, bridges, river – echoes the history and cultural development of the acclaimed ‘southern capital of Ireland’. A walk through Cork’s St Patrick’s Street, affectionately known as ‘Pana’, confirms the warmth of its people, the rich accent, the hustle and bustle of a great city and for me a city with a great heart.

Come and visit! Enjoy, Kieran McCarthy

P.S. the majority of the colour pictures on this website were taken by myself

More pictures or former home page pictures in the section Kieran’s Favourite Photographs of Cork; and on my councillor blog,

Christmas on the Grand Parade, 1 December 2019

Autumn on The Marina, Cork, 9 November 2019

Autumn at Japanese Gardens, Ballinlough, October 2019


Love Cork, St Peter's Church, October 2019

Autumnal Sunshine at Cork's Marina, 18 September 2019


Autumnal light falls on the entrance to SS Peter's and Paul's Church, Cork, September 2019

Fitzgerald's Park, Cork, 1 August 2019

SeaFest on Cork's South Docks,  7-9 June 2019

Red Abbey, Cork, June 2019

Spring blossoms at St Finbarr's Hospital, Douglas Road, Cork, April 2019
Old Railway Line Walk, Blackrock, Cork, April 2019


Sunset at St Patrick's Church, Lower Road, Cork, March 2019
Japanese Gardens, Ballinlough, Cork, 30 January 2019


Fitzgerald's Park, Cork, 8 January 2019 by Cllr KMC
Christmas on the Grand Parade, Cork - Berwick Fountain looking to Oliver Plunkett Street, December 2018

Dragon of Shandon Parade, Cork, 31 October 2018
Heritage panels, Cork Coal Festival, 18 August 2018
Pouring iron ore onto Tamzie Ringler's River Lee's mould at the National Sculpture Factory, 19 July 2018
Sunset at Crosshaven, County Cork, early July 2018
Ocean to City Race, Cork Harbour Festival,  June 2018
Currabinny Woods, Cork Harbour, 13 May 2018
Snow day atop St Patrick's Hill, Cork City, 2 March 2018

Snow on the Grand Parade, 1 March 2018

Cork Docklands Developments, March 2018

St Patrick's Street, Cork, Spring 2018
North Channel of River Lee, 7 January 2018

Rowing in the North Channel and Rowing, April 2017