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Cork City

Also known as The Rebel City because of its role in successive struggles for Irish independence, this centre of learning and industry was designated a European Capital of Culture in 2005. Cork City is situated between two channels of the River Lee, and there are enough bridges and waterways in the city to inspire comparisons to Venice.


  • A monastery founded on swampy marshland was the original site of the city, founded by St. Finbarr sometime in the middle of the seventh century
  • A later Viking town was established, with customary walls ringing the heart of the city
  • These fortifications were later destroyed by the army of William of Orange in the 17th century
  • Both Cork County and the city of the same name have an historical reputation for rebel activity, valiantly resisting the control of the Vikings as well as the armies of Cromwell and King William
  • In more recent times the IRA was strongly supported in the area and Michael Collins, one of its most famous leaders, hailed from the Cork vicinity
  • Cork City's port and shipping industry contributed greatly to its prosperity during the 19th century, when products such as butter were popular sea trade items sent to South America and Australia
  • During the War of Independence in 1920, British forces set fire to a portion of Cork City in retaliation for an ambush of one of their patrols by the IRA
  • 2,000 were left jobless and many were left homeless


River Lee, Cork City at Night. Image: Marion Wacker


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