Resources For Researchers

Some helpful resources to get a prospective history researcher started:

Published Local Histories:

The City Library on the Grand Parade (021 427 7110), the County Library on Model Farm Road (021 454 6499) and City and Cork County Council Branch Libraries have immense collections of Cork books, which explore many historic aspects of the County, from buildings to people. References can be readily accessed or help attained to access them. In addition, check your own school library for any relevant sources.

The books listed below are a starting point to researching general themes on the development of Cork. In addition, County branch and City branch libraries will be able to point to the location of your area’s local historian:

  • Ballincollig, Village Shopping Centre, 021 487 3024
  • Ballyvourney, Vocational School, 026 450 58
  • Bandon, South Man Street, 023 44830
  • Bantry, Bridge Street, 027 50460
  • Blarney, The Square, 021 428 2115
  • Carrigaline, Main Street, 021 437 1888
  • Castletownbere, Bank Place, 027 702 33
  • Charleville, Main Street, 063 897 69
  • Clonakilty, Kent Street, 023 342 75
  • Cobh, Casement Street, 021 4811130
  • Dunmanway, The Square, 023 554 11
  • Fermoy, Connolly Street, 025 313 18
  • Kanturk, Main Street, 029 51384
  • Kinsale, Methodist Hall, 021 477 4266
  • Macroom, The Square, 026 424 83
  • Malllow, Town Hall, 022 21821
  • Midleton, Main Street, 021 461 3929
  • Millstreet, Council Offices, 029 219 20
  • Mitchelstown, Georges Street, 025 243 25
  • Newmarket, 029 610 90
  • Passage West, 021 486 3727
  • Schull, 21 Upper Main Street, 028 28290
  • Sherkin Island, Community Centre, 028 20336
  • Skibbereen, North Street, 028 22400
  • Youghal, Church Street, 024 93459
Atlantic Pond, Cork, present day (picture Kieran McCarthy)
Atlantic Pond, Cork, present day (picture Kieran McCarthy)


Examples for consultation include Irish Examiner, Evening Echo, The Corkman, Imogilly People and Cork Independent. All are readily available to consult in the City Library on the Grand Parade and the County Library on Model Farm Road. Useful stories/ information, relevant to your research, may be indexed on the computer and card catalogues in the libraries. Check out the online www.irishnewsarchive,com


A rich database of maps of Cork is available in the City and County Libraries, from 1545 A.D. to the present day. These can be used quite effectively when detailing the changing nature of an area over time especially using first edition and present day Ordnance Survey maps.

Street Directories:

Directories, which can be accessed in any Cork library, give details of residences and their residents throughout County Cork, especially from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century.


Perhaps the most well known photographic collection available in the city and county libraries includes that of the William Laurence Photographic Collection (early 1900s). There are also other books by the Irish Examiner such as Picture That and Picture That Again as well as Echoes of the Past by the Evening Echo. These publications offer a cross-section of photographs of Cork in the twentieth century.

More specific eras such as Cork in 1900 are illustrated in Kieran McCarthy’s and Michael Linehan’s Book, Cork: A Pictorial Journey (2001) or Colm Lincoln’s Steps and Steeples, Cork at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (1981).

The early decades are also well detailed by Fr. Browne’s and Anthony Barry’s Photograph books on Cork. In addition, check out the members of your local community centre who may have their own personal photographic collections. A digital camera is very useful for taking photos of pictures, you may not be able to scan properly, but remember to ask permission to take the photo and to use it afterwards.

Fr Matthew Statue, St Patrick's Street, c.1900 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen)
Fr Matthew Statue, St Patrick’s Street, c.1900 (source: Cork City Through Time by Kieran McCarthy and Dan Breen)

Built Environment:

Cork City and County has a rich number of archaeological and historic structures that are still standing, from the Stone Age to the twentieth century. Fieldwork should be encouraged. Indeed, you may not have to venture too far to find a structure worth exploring. Look in your local area. The Record of Monuments and Protected Structures as well as the archaeological inventories of County Cork are available to read at County branch libraries. The inventories have a very helpful bibliography, which will point you to other relevant references on your chosen structure.

Also check out the website of


The Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park (021 427 0679; email, as well as other City museums such as the Cork Butter Museum Ltd. (021 430 0600) and County museums, can give insights into the material culture of Cork with rich displays on the prehistoric Cork area, Medieval Cork, and twentieth century social changes. County Museums include Cobh Museum (021 481 4240), Leahy’s Open Farm and Museum, Dungourney, Midleton (021 466 8461) Ceim Hill Museum in Union Hall, Millstreet Museum, West Cork Model Railway Village in Clonakilty ( 023 332 24) and Kinsale Regional Museum (021 477 7929).

Heritage Centres:

There are many heritage centres in Cork. Examples include Irish Distillers in Midleton, Co. Cork (021 461 3594), Cobh Heritage Centre (021 481 3591), West Cork Heritage Centre in Bandon, Skibbereen Heritage Centre (028 40900), the Women’s Gaol Heritage Centre in Shanakiel (021 430 5022), the Lifetime Lab at the old Cork Waterworks on the Lee Road, Cork City (021 494 1500), Blarney Castle (021 438 5252), Barryscourt Castle (021 4882218), Fota House and Gardens (021 481 5543) and Cork Vision Centre, North Main Street, Cork (021 427 9925) and Elizabeth Fort. Heritage Centres provide ample but valuable and easily “digestible” material for the general public.

St Peter’s Church:

Located in the heart of Cork’s historic centre, and within walking distance of the city’s artistic, commercial and diverse tourist attractions, the old St Peter’s Church offers visitors an opportunity to appreciate a fine example of conservation in action, and to explore Cork’s evolution from past, through present, and onwards to future development;

Love Cork at St Peter's Church, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Love Cork at St Peter’s Church, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)

Oral Histories:

Oral Histories form an important part in preserving the integrity of a community and hence should be encouraged. Speaking to older generations and the local historian in an area can reveal many hidden facets. Ask local people questions about places you have come across in your research. Listen, make the most of their knowledge and be courteous and thank them for their time at the end of the interview.

Oral evidence makes incidents and aspects of the past real / believable for students and give us access to memories and information, which are almost impossible to obtain elsewhere. The life experiences of the vast majority of people particularly of many social ethnic and cultural groups in Cork are often under-represented and unrecorded in documentary evidence. Helpful oral history sites are located at or contact Cork Northside Folklore Project at (021 430 7282).

I like this website from Ballinasloe Active Retired People’s Network,


As more and more websites appear on Cork, more “insider” information on everything from people to businesses to the city’s history is revealed. A good example of this is Cork County Council’s website at and Cork City Council’s  Library’s Website at

Irish War of Independence in Cork:


Irish Coinage:

Cork City and County Archives:

With a large collection, the institute, located on Gerald Griffin Street, Cork near the North Cathedral, contains the following thematic collections; archives of current and former local authorities business records, personal papers, select landed estate papers and records of trade Unions, clubs, societies and religious groups.

North Channel of River Lee, December 2019

 Geneaological Research:

Cork local history societies (see



some Reference Books for Cork History:


  1. Beecher, S., 1971, The Story of Cork, Mercier Press, Cork.
  2. Beecher, S., 1992, Day by Day, A Miscellany of Cork History, The Collins Press, Cork.
  3. Cooke, R.T., 1999, My Home by the Lee, Millennium Publications, Cork.
  4. Cork Corporation, 1999, Cork Corporation Yearbook 2002, Cork Corporation, Cork.
  5. Cork Museum, 1981, Cork: Our City, Tower Books, Cork.
  6. Crowley, J. (Ed.), 2005, Atlas of Cork City, University College Press, Cork
  7. McCarthy, K., October 1999-on going, “Our City, Our Town”, Inside Cork.
  8. McCarthy, K., 2001, Pathways Through Time, Typing Times, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.
  9. McCarthy, K. & Lenihan, M., Cork: A Pictorial Journey, Typing Times, Ballincollig.
  10. McCarthy. K. 2003, Discover Cork, O’Brien Press, Dublin.
  11. McCarthy, K., 2005, Voices of Cork – The Knitting Map Speaks, Nonsuch Ireland Ltd., Dublin.
  12. McCarthy, K., Forthcoming, In the Footsteps of St. Finbarre, Tales of the River Lee Valley, Nonsuch Ireland Ltd., Dublin.
  13. MacNamara, T.F., 1981, A Portrait of Cork, Watermans Press Ltd., Cork.
  14. O’Sullivan, W., 1937, The Economic History of Cork City, From the Earliest Times to the Act of Union, Cork University Press, Cork.
  15. Pettit, S.F., 1982, The Streets of Cork, Studio Publications, Cork.
  16. Pettit, S.F., 1987, My City by the Lee, Studio Publications, Cork.
  17. Rynne, C., 1993, The Archaeology of Cork City and Harbour – From the Earliest Times to Industrialisation, The Collins Press, Cork.

Early Christian Cork:

  1. Carey, M., 1984, St. FinBarre’s Cathedral, Eason & Son Ltd., Dublin.
  2. Manning, C., 1995, Early Christian Monasteries, Country House Press, Dublin.
  3. Bradley J. & Halpin A., 1993, “The Topographical Development of Scandinavian and Anglo-Norman Cork”, in O’Flanagan, P. & Buttimer C.G. (Eds.), Cork: History and Society, Geography Publications, Dublin, pages 15-45.
  4. Hurley, M.F., Cleary, R.M. & Shee Twohig, E., (Eds.), 1997a, Excavations by D.C. Twohig at Skiddy’s Castle and Christ Church, Cork 1974-1977, Cork Corporation, Cork.
  5. Hurley M.F., 1998, “Viking Age Towns: Archaeological Evidence from Waterford and Cork”, in Sheehan J., & Monk M.A. (Eds.), Early Medieval Munster, Archaeology, History and Society, Cork University Press, Cork, pages 164-178.
  6. McCarthy, K., 14 October 1999-18 November 1999, “Early Monastic Cork and Viking Age Settlement in Cork”, Our City, Our Town, Inside Cork, pages 16-17.

The Anglo-Normans and the Walled City of Cork (1177-1690 A.D.)

  1. Bradley, J., 1995, Walled Towns of Ireland, Country House Press, Dublin.
  2. Cherry, S. (Ed.), 1992, Digging up Cork, Cork Museum, Cork.
  3. Enfo Sheet on Medieval Cork.
  4. Hurley, M.F., 1995, “Below Sea Level in the City of Cork”, in Clarke, H., (Ed.), Irish Cities, Mercier Press, Dublin, pages 41-54.
  5. Hurley, M.F., Cleary, R.M. & E.Shee Twohig (Eds.), 1997a, Excavations by D.C. Twohig at Skiddy’s Castle and Christ Church, Cork 1974-1977, Cork Corporation, Cork.
  6. Hurley, M.F. & Cleary, R.M. (Eds.), 1997b, Excavations at the North Gate, Cork 1994, Cork Corporation, Cork.
  7. Irwin, L., 1980, “Politics, Religion and Economy: Cork in the 17th Century”, Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol. 84, pages 7-25.
  8. O’ Keefe, T., 2000, Medieval Ireland, Tempus Press, Dublin.
  9. McCarthy, K., 18 November 1999- 20 April 2000, “The Walled City of Cork (Parts 1-20)”, Our City, Our Town, Inside Cork, pages 16-17.
  10. O’Murchadha, D., 1990, “The Siege of Cork in 1690”, Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, Vol. 95, pages 1-19.
  11. Power, D. (Ed.), 1992, Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, East and South Cork, Vol. 2, Government Publications Office, Dublin.
  12. Rynne, C., 1993, The Archaeology of Cork City and Harbour – From the Earliest Times to Industrialisation, The Collins Press, Cork.

The Developing City, 1700 – Beyond 2006

  1. Caulfield, R., 1876, The Council Book of the Corporation of the City of Cork, J. Billing and Sons, Surrey, England.
  2. Cooke, R., 1990, The Mardyke, Cork City’s Country Walk in History, Seamus Curtain Ltd., Cork.
  3. Cronin, M., 1995, “ From the ‘Flat O’ the City to the Top of the Hill: Cork Since 1700 ”, in Clarke, H.B. (Ed.), Irish Cities, Mercier Press, Dublin, pages 54-80.
  4. Fahy, A.M., 1993, “Place and Class in Cork”, in O’Flanagan, P. & Buttimer C.G. (Eds.), Cork: History and Society, Geography Publications, Dublin, pages 793-813.
  5. Harrison, R.S., Cork City Quakers, 1655-1939, Private Publication, Cork.
  6. Hourihan, K., 1993, “The Evolution and Influence of Town Planning in Cork”, in O’Flanagan, P. & Buttimer C.G. (Eds.), Cork: History and Society, Geography Publications, Dublin, pages 941-963.
  7. O’Callaghan, A., 1991, Of Timber, Iron and Stone- A Journey Through Time on the Bridges of Cork, Inversnaid Publications, Cork.
  8. O’Mahony, C., 1997, In the Shadows, Life in Cork, 1750-1930, Tower Books, Cork.
  9. McCarthy, K., 18 November 1999- 12 October 2000, “Expansion and Reclamation, Eighteenth Century Cork, (Parts 1-21)”, Our City, Our Town, Inside Cork, page 16.
  10. McCarthy, K., 19 October 2000- 5 April 2001, “Emergence of the Modern City, Nineteenth Century Cork, (Parts 1-24)”, Our City, Our Town, Inside Cork, page 16.
  11. MacGrath, W., 1981, Tramtracks Through Cork, Tower Books, Cork.
  12. Pettit, S.F., 1977, This City of Cork 1700-1900, Studio Publications, Cork.
  13. Rynne, C., 1998, At the Sign of the Cow, The Cork Butter Market: 1770-1924, The Collins Press, Cork.
  14. St. Ledger, A., 1991, Silver, Silk and Sails, Huguenots in Cork 1685-1850, Cork Civic Trust Ltd., Cork.
  15. Tuckey, F.H., 1837 (reprint 1981), Cork Remembrancer, Tower Books, Cork.

Suburban Histories

  1. Ballinlough Community Association, 1989, Ballinlough Community Association, Twenty-One Years of Community Service, 1968-1989, Ballinlough Community Association, Cork.
  2. Foley, C., 1981, A History of Douglas, B. Swanton Publications, Cork.
  3. MacCarthaigh, D., 1997, The Gurranabraher Story, Cork Office Supplies Ltd., Cork.
  4. MacCarthaigh, D., 1999, Spangle Hill Forever, Cork Office Supplies, Cork.
  5. Hayes, Sr. U., 1983, A Brief History of the Parish of Farranree, Parish Committee Publication, Cork.
  6. Henchion, R., 2001, Bishopstown, Wilton and Glasheen, A Picture of Life in the Three Western Suburbs of Cork from Early Days to Modern Times, Dahadore Publications, Cork.
  7. Henchion, R., 2003, The Land of the Finest Drop, The Story of Life, Love and Labour in the Districts of the Lough, Togher, Pouladuff, Friars Walk and Ballyphehane over a 400 years, Dahadore Publications, Cork.
  8. Mayfield History & Folklore Group, 2001, Bailenamought, Cork-Mayfield, A Sense of Place, Mayfield History & Folklore Group, Cork.
  9. Myers, D., 1993, Ballyphehane, My Own Place, Lithio Press, Midelton, Co. Cork.
  10. O’ Keeffe, T., 2003, Togher: Past and Present, Western Publications, Cork.
  11. O’ Mahony, T., 1970, Glimpses of Blackrock, Private Publication, Cork.
Christ Church Lane, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)
Christ Church Lane, Cork, present day (picture: Kieran McCarthy)