CORK, a sea-port, city, and a county of itself, and the head of a diocese, locally in the county of CORK, of which it is the capital, and in the province of MUNSTER 51 miles (S. W. by W.) from Waterford, and 126 (S. W. by S.) from Dublin; containing 107,007 inhabitants, of which number, S4,000 are in the city and suburbs.
This place, which in extent and importance is the second city in Ireland, and is distinguished for its fine harbour, derived its ancient names Corcach and Corcach-Bascoin, signifying in the Irish language “a marshy place,” from its situation on the navigable river Lee. The earliest authentic account of its origin occurs in Colgan’s life of St. Nessan, to whose preceptor, St. Barr or Finbarr, is attributed the foundation of a cathedral church, to which, as the abode of that saint, such numbers of disciples resorted from all parts, that the desert in which it stood soon became the site of a considerable city. St. Nessan, according to the annals of the four masters, died in 551: if this be correct, he could not be a disciple of St. Finbarr, unless the latter flourished at a period much earlier than that stated by Sir James Ware, namely, about the year 630. The original city was built on a limestone rock, on the margin of the south branch of the river, and appears to have grown up around the cathedral and westward as far as the monastery called Gill Abbey; but what from a very early period has been more especially regarded as the city was erected on the island formed by the Lee, and its origin is ascribed to the Danes, who, after repeatedly plundering the old city and its religious establishments for more than 300 years, settled here in 1020, but did not long retain possession, being eighteen years afterwards defeated with great slaughter, and the whole of their property destroyed by fire. In 1080 the city is said to have been destroyed by lightning; and eight years afterwards the Danes of Dublin, Waterford, and Wicklow united their forces to recover possession of it, but were defeated by a large body of the natives of Oneachach, now forming the district of West Carbery. According to other accounts, Dermot, the son of Foirdhealbhach O’Brien, in the same year, laid waste and plundered the town, and carried away the relics of St. Finbarr.
At the time of the English invasion, the city and the adjacent country were in the undisturbed possession of the Danes, who held them under Dermot Mac Carthy or Mac Carty, prince of Desmond, of which extensive territory this place was the capital. On the landing of Hen. II., in 1172, that chieftain was the first to acknowledge his sovereignty: attending his court on the day after his arrival, he resigned to the English monarch his city of Cork, and did him homage, and paid tribute for the rest of his possessions. The king immediately appointed an English governor, with a garrison, which being soon after obliged, from the small number of his forces, to withdraw, Mac Carty resumed possession; and the inhabitants, in 1174, fitted out 30 barques, and, proceeding to Dungarvan, fell with all their force upon Strongbow’s army under Raymond le Gros, who had been plundering the neighbouring country, and had just shipped his booty for Wexford; they were, however, repulsed, and Gilbert their commander was slain. In 1177, Henry granted the surrounding territory to Milo de Cogan and Robert Fitz-Stephen, with the exception of the city and adjacent cantreds occupied by the Ostmen, which he kept in his own possession. In 1185 the city was besieged by the Irish forces under Mac Carty; Fitz-Stephen, being closely shut up within the walls, sent for assistance to Raymond le Gros, then at Wexford, and that nobleman coming promptly by sea with a reinforcement of 20 knights and 100 archers, the garrison made a sally and routed the Irish at the first onset. In the following year Dermot Mac Carty, while holding a conference with some other Irish chiefs near the city, was slain by a party of English under Theobald Fitz-Walter, the founder of the noble house of Ormonde; but, shortly after, the success which crowned the military efforts of the native Irish left this the only considerable place of strength in Munster in the possession of the English. The city was now surrounded by the troops of Desmond, and a force detached to its relief was totally defeated; but from the secret jealousies that prevailed in the Irish camp, Daniel Mac Carty, one of the principal chieftains, abandoned the siege, and the garrison was saved from destruction. The English, however, being without succour or provisions, cut off from all intercourse with their countrymen, and perpetually harassed by their enemies, were in a short time obliged to capitulate to the Prince of Desmond; but in a few years they recovered possession of the city, and strengthened it by the erection of an additional fort, which kept the men of Desmond in subjection. Shandon Castle is said to have been built by Philip de Barry, nephew of Fitz-Stephen; and in 1199, John Despenser, the first civic magistrate upon record, was made provost of Cork. From this period a great chasm occurs in the history of the place, which does not appear to have experienced any important changes, or to have been distinguished by any remarkable event, till the death here, in 1381, of the lord-deputy, Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March and Ulster, when John Colton, Dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin, was immediately appointed to that office. In 1492, Perkin Warbeck, in his assumed character of Richard duke of York, arrived here from Lisbon, and was kindly received by the citizens; after a short stay, he embarked for France, whence he returned to this city in 1495, and soon after departed for Scotland; he once more visited this place, and having enlisted a small force, set sail for Cornwall. After the disastrous termination of Warbeck’s expedition, the mayor of Cork was hanged for countenancing that impostor; and in 1498, on account of the disloyalty of the citizens, the Earl of Kildare placed a strong garrison here, and compelled the principal inhabitants to swear allegiance to Hen. VII., and give bonds and pledges for their future obedience. In 1541, the mayor was one of four commissioners, appointed in lieu of the Irish brehons or judges, to hear and determine all controversies among the natives of this province. In 1568, the. lady of Sir Warham St. Leger, lord-president of Munster, was, during the absence of her husband, besieged by the insurgents in the city, but was relieved by the lord-deputy, Sir Henry Sidney, with 400 men from England; and in 1575 the lord-deputy again came hither with his forces, and remained six weeks. During this period Queen Elizabeth presented Maurice Roche, mayor of Cork, for his able services against the insurgents, with a silver collar of the order of St. Simplicius, which is still preserved by his descendant, Thos. C. Kearney, Esq., at Garrettstown.
At the commencement of the great Desmond insurrection, the city became the head-quarters of the English forces, and Sir John Perrot arrived with six ships of war for the protection of the port against the threatened assault of the Spaniards. In 1598 Sir Thomas Norris, vice-president of Munster, was obliged to shut himself up here for security against the insurgents sent from Ulster by O’Neill; and in 1601 the lord-deputy assembled at this place the army destined to expel the Spaniards from Kinsale, which was soon after reinforced with 2000 men from England. At this period the city is described by Camden as of an oval figure surrounded by walls, environed and intersected by the river, which is passable only by bridges, and consisting of one straight street continued by a bridge; it is, however, a little trading town of great resort, but so beset by rebellious neighbours as to require as constant watch as if continually besieged.” On the death of Queen Elizabeth, in 1602, the mayor and corporation refused at first to proclaim the accession of James; the citizens took arms, and set guards upon the gates to prevent any soldiers from entering the town, disarmed the Protestants, refused to admit Sir Charles Wilmot, who came with his army to quell the disturbance, and determined to acknowledge no authority but that of the mayor; they then proceeded to organize a plan of defence, and, among other outrages, fired upon Shandon Castle, then the residence of Lady Carew, and upon the bishop’s palace, where were assembled the commissioners to whom the government of the province had been entrusted. The commissioners sent to Halbowling Fort, in the harbour, for a supply of artillery; but the citizens manned some boats to take that fort, and, if possible, to intercept the supply; and though the attempt was frustrated, several men were killed on both sides; and they succeeded, after some difficulty, in demolishing the Queen’s Fort, on the south side of the city. On the 11th of May the lord-lieutenant marched with all his forces into the city, and after condemning some of the leaders to punishment, and leaving a strong garrison, proceeded to Limerick, where similar disturbances had taken place. On this occasion the Queen’s Fort was rebuilt as a citadel, to keep the citizens in subjection; and further, to prevent a recurrence of these outrages, the city and liberties were, in 1608, constituted a distinct and independent county. In 1613, James I., in a letter to Sir Arthur Chichester, proposed that Cork should be divided into two counties; but the scheme was opposed by the Earl of Cork, who had lent the lord-president Villiers £500 towards repairing the forts of Cork and Waterford, by which means they were put into a state of defence. In 1636 the Algerines, who had infested this coast five years previously, reappeared, and, aided by the French, spread terror among the inhabitants. The Earl of Strafford, in a letter dated Sept. 15th of that year, states that “the Turks still annoy this coast; they came of late into Cork harbour, took a boat with eight fishermen, and gave chase to two others that saved themselves among the rocks, the townsmen looking on without the power or means to assist them.” In March, 1642, the city was blockaded by the insurgents under Gen. Barry and Lord Muskerry; but part of the garrison, making a sally, pursued a detachment of them to their camp at Rochfortstown, where, without the loss of a single man, they killed 200 of the enemy, put their whole army to flight, and took all their baggage and carriages. In 1644 two conspiracies to betray the city to the insurgents, at the head of one of which was the mayor, were discovered and suppressed. On the approach of Cromwell, in 1649, the inhabitants embraced the cause of the parliament. In 1688 a large party of Irish horse and foot, under Lieut.-Gen. Mac Carty, entered the city at midnight, disarmed the Protestant inhabitants, plundered the houses of the most wealthy, and committed similar excesses in all the neighbouring villages. James II. arrived here shortly after; and in the autumn of 1689 the Protestant inhabitants were seized and imprisoned by Lord Clare, the governor, and many of them were sent to the neighbouring castles of Blarney and Macroom. In September, 1690, the city was besieged by the army of Wm. III., under the command of the Earl of Marlborough and the Duke of Wirtemberg; and on this occasion, notwithstanding an agreement with the inhabitants to the contrary, the suburbs were burnt by the governor Mac Elligott; the fortresses called the Catt and Shandon Castle were taken without resistance; and from both these, as well as from a battery near the Red Abbey, and from the steeple of the cathedral church, the south fort and the city were assailed. A breach being made by the cannon at Red Abbey, the troops advanced to the assault; on which the garrison, after a siege of five days, surrendered prisoners of war to the number of 4500, of whom many afterwards made their escape, and 160 were blown up in the Breda man of war, then lying in the harbour. In marching to the assault, the Duke of Grafton, who had entered as a volunteer in William’s army, was killed. The royal troops took possession of the city on the 29th of September; and the magistrates, resuming their offices, proclaimed King William and Queen Mary. The annals of the city during the period subsequent to the Revolution, record little deserving of special notice. In 1746, the militia of Cork consisted of 3000 foot and 200 horse, together with a well-appointed company of 100 gentlemen, commanded by Col. H. Cavendish. In 1787 the city was honoured by the presence of the king, then Prince William Henry, commander of the ship Pegasus, which lay at Cove: two years after, a flood, occasioned by a heavy fall of rain, immediately following a storm of snow, which had continued for several days, laid the whole of the streets under water, to the height of five feet, and in some places of seven; several houses were washed away, many injured, and immense damage inflicted on property. The first mail coach arrived in Cork from Dublin in 1789.
About the commencement of the 17th century the city consisted of only one principal street, now called North and South Main-street, and it appears to have undergone but little extension or improvement till the reign of Wm. III., when the corporation began to form new streets and erect public buildings. In 1701 it had only two entrances, the north, leading from Dublin, and the south, from Kinsale; and two bridges, the north and the south, built of wood, and which, by an act of the 1st of Geo. I., cap. 19, the corporation were empowered to rebuild of stone. From the records of the corporation and a plan of the city it appears that, about the middle of the last century, a navigable branch of the river ran down the centre of the South Mall, and that the ground on which the houses forming the south side of that street now stand was an island, beyond which was another small tract called Goose island, now occupied by Charlotte quay; and for many years subsequently another branch ran through Patrick-street, up which vessels sailed at every tide. A map published in 1766 shows that the fields then reached down to the north branch of the river; and the neighbourhood of Ballynamocht, to the east of the Dublin road, was under cultivation. Its rapid advancement may be attributed to the great capabilities of its almost matchless haven, which renders it the emporium of commerce for this part of the country; and the numerous improvements that have since taken place are fully commensurate with its increased importance. It is generally regarded as consisting of the city, the suburbs, and the liberties, all which constitute the county of the city. One mile west of the cathedral the river Lee divides into two branches, insulating a tract about two English miles in length and half a mile in breadth, on which the ancient city was built; and uniting again at its eastern extremity, expands into a noble estuary a mile broad, forming the commencement of the harbour. But that which is now considered as the city includes a district stretching to a considerable distance north and south of these two branches, in which numerous elegant streets have been recently formed, and its limits are progressively extending. The smaller channels which ran through the streets presented at low water a mass of mud, but being some years since arched over by the corporation, the most spacious and elegant streets have been formed above them. Across the two main branches of the river, within the city, are nine stone bridges communicating with the district which, in 1813, was defined for the purpose of local taxation, under the provisions of an act of the 53rd of Geo. III., and is marked out by stones set up in various directions, separating it from the liberties: this district comprises an area of 2379 statute acres, the whole is generally called “the city,” and 10,263 houses, of which 8212 are dwelling-houses, and 2051 are warehouses, stores, and other buildings.
The general appearance of the city, particularly since its recent extensive improvements, is picturesque and cheerful; the principal streets are spacious and well paved; most of the houses are large and well built, chiefly of clay-slate fronted with roofing slate, which gives them a clean though sombre appearance; others are built of the beautiful grey limestone of the neighbourhood, and some are faced with cement; those in the new streets are principally of red brick. The streets are now made and repaired under the directions of the commissioners of wide streets, originally constituted a body corporate by an act of the 5th of Geo. III., cap. 24, with extensive powers conferred by that and subsequent acts; and nearly £6000 is annually expended in paving, cleansing, and improving them. The privilege of licensing vehicles of every description plying for hire within the city is vested in these commissioners, who have framed a code of by-laws and a table of rates for regulating them. The city is lighted with gas by the General United Gas Company of London, who in 1825 contracted with the commissioners of wide streets to supply the city and suburbs with coal gas for 21 years, at £3130. 13. 4. per annum: the works are situated on the south branch of the river, and afford an excellent supply. The inhabitants are provided with water from the river Lee, raised by two large water wheels into a capacious reservoir, and thence distributed by metal pipes through all the lower parts of the city: it is conveyed into each house on payment of £2. 2. per annum, but application is about to be made to parliament for an act to empower the Company to regulate the rate according to the value of the houses, as provided by the English and Scottish acts. The works, situated on the north side of Wellington bridge, one mile above the town, were originally constructed by the corporation; but the undertaking was some years since divided into 100 shares, of which 25 were retained by that body, and the remainder purchased by private individuals: it is intended to construct a reservoir on a higher level, from which the water may be conveyed into every house in the city. Until the general establishment of the constabulary system this city had no regularly constituted police; but a force consisting of one officer and 80 men was introduced, for whose accommodation the guard-houses in Tucky-street and Shandon have been fitted up: there is not yet any public nightly watch, but private watchmen are appointed.
Of the bridges over the Lee several are modern and elegant structures. Patrick’s bridge, the last over the northern branch, and to which vessels sail up, was erected in 1789 from a design by Mr. M. Shannahan, by a company of shareholders, and was a pay bridge, with a portcullis, which was removed by the commissioners of wide streets in 1823: it consists of three elliptic arches surmounted by an open balustrade, built entirely of hewn limestone, and connects the noble line of quays extending on both sides of the river through the principal part of the city. North bridge, over the same branch, was built of stone early in the last century, at the expense of the corporation, on the site of an ancient wooden bridge, which, with another of the same kind at the southern extremity of the main street, formed for ages the only accessible communication between the town and country: it was thoroughly repaired and widened by the corporation in 1831, when two foot-paths of cast iron were formed, and it now opens a ready communication between the North Main-street, the butter markets, and the populous districts of Shandon. Wellington bridge, at the western extremity of the city, near the termination of the Mardyke, and close to the division of the main channel of the Lee, is a noble structure of hewn limestone, erected by Messrs. Pain, from a design by Richard Griffiths, Esq.: it consists of a centre arch of 50 feet and two side arches each of 45 feet span, with solid parapets, the piers of the arches sunk in caissons; and opens a fine communication with the new western road, near George the Fourth’s bridge, which here crosses the south branch of the river. This latter bridge is a plain structure of one arch, built in 1820 entirely of hewn limestone. Midway between it and the Lee mills is a handsome bridge of one arch of 50 feet span, which by a raised causeway leads from the new western road to the county gaol and house of correction. Clarke’s bridge, built by the corporation in 1726, is an ancient structure of red clay-slate, communicating between Great George’s-street and the cathedral. South bridge, built also by the corporation a few years previously, on the site of the ancient wooden bridge, is a neat structure of three segmental arches of hewn limestone, and has been widened at their expense by the addition of two foot-paths. Parliament bridge, a handsome edifice of one lofty arch, with open parapets, built of hewn limestone, connects the South Mall with Sullivan’s quay, to which vessels of considerable burden sail up. Anglesey bridge, erected in 1830 by Sir Thos. Deane, from a design by Mr. Griffiths, is a very handsome structure of hewn limestone, with parapets of cast iron; and consists of two elliptic arches 44 feet in span, with a rise of eleven feet, having between them a waterway of 32 feet crossed by two parallel drawbridges of cast iron, which are raised to admit vessels above it, and are designed to prevent the confusion resulting from the numerous cars and other vehicles which pass over it, by compelling each to keep its proper side. This bridge, which is the last on the southern branch of the river, was built at an expense of more than £9000, defrayed by the commissioners of the new corn market: it is the thoroughfare to Blackrock, Douglas, and Passage, and opens an approach from Warren’s-place and the eastern end of the South Mall, on the north, to the new corn market on the south side of the river.
The scenery around the city is exceedingly beautiful, particularly on the east, where two lines of road, called Upper and Lower Glanmire roads, have been formed along the north bank of the river, one on the elevated ground and the other close to the strand; and a variety of new streets, terraces, crescents, and detached villas, have been erected on the sides and summits of the gentle acclivities, commanding magnificent views of the river Lee, the city, Blackrock, and the beautiful and fertile district bounded by the hills of Carrigaline. The scenery on the south side of the river, from Anglesey bridge to Blackrock and Passage, is pleasingly undulating and diversified; elegant houses, with lawns, gardens, and plantations sloping to the water’s edge, and commanding delightful views over the noble expanse of water to the lofty and verdant hills of Rathcoony, have been built throughout the entire space. The beauty of the scenery, the mildness and salubrity of the climate, the abundance and purity of the water, the fertility of the soil, and the excellence of the markets, have induced many wealthy families from distant parts to settle here, who have erected very elegant villas and cottages in fanciful situations and in every variety of architectural style. Besides those named under the respective heads of Blackrock, Douglas, Glanmire, and other places in the vicinity of the city, the following are worthy of notice; Woodville, the residence of Gen. Sir Thos. Arbuthenott; Tivoli House, of J. Morgan, Esq.; Eastview, of J. Leycester, Esq., a very pretty villa in the cottage style, commanding a splendid view down the river towards Passage, and containing many valuable paintings and other specimens of virtu; Summerhill, of G. Newenham, Esq.; Belleview, of J. W. Topp, Esq.; Shanakill, of D. Leahy, Esq.; Silver Spring, of J. Cummins, Esq.; Hyde Park, of J. S. Murphy, Esq.; Clifton, of N. Murphy, Esq.; Wilton, of C. H. Leslie, Esq.; Hyde Park House, of J. Morrow, Esq.; Temple Ville, of D. Murphy, Esq.; Carolina, of Mrs. Carroll; Trafalgar, of T. Lyons, Esq.; Beach Hill, of M. Salmon, Esq.; Vostersberg, of W. M. Reeves, Esq.; Ballynamote, of J. Chatterton, Esq.; Woodview, of D. Hamblin, Esq.; Doughcloyne House, of D. Sarsfield, Esq.; Lehannah, of T. Curtis, Esq.; Lehannah, of C. Matthews, Esq.; Somerstown, of J. Swiney, Esq.; Doughcloyne, of J. Simpson, Esq.; Chetwind, of J. Forrest, Esq.; Strawberry Hill, of W. R. Westropp, Esq.; Bruin Lodge, of R. Beare, Esq.; Woodhill, of W. Fitzgibbon, Esq.; Glanmire Rock, of W. Adams, Esq.; The Castle, of Ald. Gibbings; Cottage, of Kieffe O’Kieffe, Esq.; Mount Vernon, of E. Ronayne, Esq.; Castle White, of J. Cope, Esq.; Snugborough, of T. Nelson, Esq.; and Ardmanning, of W. D. White, Esq. The entrance from Dublin, by Patrick’s bridge, is remarkably striking and picturesque: the road winds through the beautiful vale of Glanmire and enters that of the Lee opposite the castle of Blackrock, where it joins that from Waterford, Youghal, Midleton, and Cove, and continues westward beneath the plantations of Lota Beg and the lofty and fertile hills of Rathcoony, studded with numerous detached villas commanding the most delightful views of the noble estuary. The approach from Limerick is by a new line of road carried through a fine undulating country; at a short distance from Blackpool it crosses a pleasant valley by a viaduct supported by six lofty arches. The entrance from the west and south is by the new western road parallel with the Mardyke, and midway between the two main branches of the Lee; it crosses George the Fourth’s bridge, and is one of the best improvements in or around the city. The approach from Cove, by way of Passage, is through the village of Douglas, passing numerous elegant villas and cottages, and entering the city by Anglesey bridge.
The principal promenade is the Mardyke, a fine raised walk a mile long, extending through the meadows midway between two branches of the river, and shaded by a double row of lofty flourishing elms, from which are extensive and varied views. The Botanic Garden, for some time a favourite place of resort, was sold in 1826, and has been converted by its proprietor, the Very Rev. Theobald Matthews, Provincial of the Capuchins or Reformed Franciscans, into a cemetery laid out in the style of the Pere la Chaise, at Paris: the graves are distributed over the greater part amid the shrubs, plants, and flowers brought hither at a very great expense by the original proprietors; the ground is intersected by broad gravel walks, and there are several handsome monuments. Among these, one of the most remarkable is that erected over a vault belonging to Messrs. Murphy and O’Connor: it consists of a sarcophagus of Portland stone resting on a base of limestone. On the sarcophagus is the figure of a mourning angel, as large as life, of white Italian marble, wrought in Rome by Mr. John Hogan, a native of Cork. At the bottom of the Grand Parade close to the south branch of the river, is a handsome equestrian statue of Geo. II. On a commanding eminence to the north-east of the city are the barracks for infantry and cavalry, erected in 1806 by the late Abraham Hargrave, Esq., and conveniently adapted to the accommodation of 156 officers and 1994 men, with stabling for 232 horses; the grounds for parade and exercise are spacious, and there is an hospital capable of receiving 120 patients. In the south suburb is also a military hospital for about 130 invalids, affording the advantage of change of air for convalescents, but kept up by Government principally as a point d’appui to the surrounding hills; it was by a ball from a battery on this spot that the Duke of Grafton was killed during the siege in 1695. In the South Mall is an elegant house for the county club, built in 1826 by Messrs. Pain, at an expense of about £4000; the front consists of a rustic basement, from which rise three engaged columns of the composite order supporting an entablature and cornice; on the ground floor are a public dining-room 40 feet long by 20 wide, a private dining-room of smaller dimensions, and several apartments for the secretary and steward; and on the first floor are reading, billiard, and card rooms, above which are bed-chambers. The club consists of about 300 members, each of whom pays £5 on admission and a subscription of £5 per annum; naval and military officers are admitted on payment of the annual subscription only. There are also two other clubhouses, namely, Daly’s, in the Grand Parade, and the Tucky-street club-house, at the corner of that street and the Grand Parade. The theatre, a well-arranged edifice erected in 1759 by S. Barry and H. Woodward, both celebrated actors in their day, is opened annually for a few months; and balls, concerts, races, and regattas occasionally take place.
The Cork county and city Horticultural Society, established under the patronage of the Duchess of Kent, published its first report in January 1835, by which it appears that, during the three first exhibitions, 233 prizes were awarded to successful candidates for the best specimens of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbaceous plants; and according to the 2nd report published Jan. 1836, 274 were awarded: the society is liberally supported by subscription, and promises to be eminently conducive to the horticultural and agricultural improvement of the district. An agricultural society was formed in 1836. The Cork Library Society, in the South Mall, was founded in 1790, and the library contains a valuable collection of more than 10,000 volumes in the various departments of science, art, and general literature; it is managed by a committee who meet every alternate week for the selection of books, the admission of members by ballot, and the transaction of ordinary business. The Cork Royal Institution was founded in 1803 by subscription among private gentlemen of the city and county, for diffusing the knowledge and facilitating the introduction of all improvements in the arts and manufactures, and for teaching by lectures the application of science to the common purposes of life. The obvious usefulness of such an institution recommended it to the favourable consideration of Government, and in 1807 the proprietors obtained a royal charter of incorporation and a parliamentary grant of £2000 per annum. For several years lectures were annually given on Natural Philosophy, Natural History, Chemistry, Mineralogy, Botany, and other useful branches of Science; but in 1830 the grant was withdrawn, and the lectures have been since discontinued. On withholding the grant, Government presented to the proprietary the old custom-house, a fine spacious building in Nelson-place, subject to a rent of £65 per ann., to which the Crown was previously liable. There are at present, belonging to the institution, museums of natural history and mineralogy, a scientific and medical library containing more than 5000 volumes, philosophical and chemical apparatus, and a splendid series of casts from the antique. Several efforts have been made to convert this institution into a collegiate establishment, which the situation of Cork in a populous district remote from the metropolis and surrounded by numerous large towns, and the opportunities of practical study afforded by its Medical and Surgical Charitable Institutions and the existence of a School of Physic and Surgery, render peculiarly desirable, and would compensate for the loss which the inhabitants of the city and surrounding districts have sustained by the withdrawal of the parliamentary grant. The Cork Scientific and Literary Society was founded or revived in 1834, after the dissolution of a former society about ten years previously, and consists of about 90 members and 15 subscribers who pay 10s. per ann.: the former are required to produce in rotation an essay at each meeting of the society, which is read on that evening and discussed at the next meeting, in which discussions the subscribers are permitted to take part: the meetings are held in the lecture-room of the Cork Royal Institution. The meetings of the Cuvierian society, formed in 1835, are held in the same place. The object of this society is the promotion of a friendly intercourse among those who wish to cultivate science, literature, and the fine arts, so as, by personal communication and occasional courses of lectures, to diffuse more generally the advantages of intellectual and scientific pursuits. The Society of Arts was established about the year 1815 for the advancement of painting and sculpture, and was at first liberally encouraged; George IV., when Prince Regent, presented to the society, in 1820, a very valuable collection of casts from the antique; the students were numerous, and were instructed in drawing, and a course of lectures on Anatomy as connected with the art of design was regularly delivered; but the funds becoming in a few years insufficient to defray the expenses, the casts presented by the King were transferred to the Royal Institution. The society, however, still exists, and affords patronage and assistance to youthful genius; Dr. Woodroffe continues to give lectures on the Anatomy of expression, the Philosophy of the human body, and on Phrenology. The Mechanics’ Institute was founded in 1824, and has a library of 1500 volumes, a reading-room, and two schools, one for instruction in the arts and sciences, and one for design; there are 210 members, and lectures on scientific subjects are occasionally delivered. The school of Physic and Surgery was founded by Dr. Woodroffe in 1811, and continues to flourish; lectures on Anatomy, Physiology, the theory and practice of Surgery and Midwifery, Materia-Medica, practice of Physic and Clinical Surgery are delivered during the winter half-year: this School is connected with the South Infirmary and the Hospital of the House of Industry, and, being duly recognised by the Royal College of Surgeons in London, the Apothecaries’ Hall, Dublin, and the Army and Navy Medical Boards, has been of great benefit to medical students of the south of Ireland. Certificates of attendance at Dr. Cesar’s lectures on Anatomy and Materia-Medica, delivered at the Royal Institution, are recognised by the Royal College of Surgeons, London, at Apothecaries’ Hall, by the Army and Navy Boards, the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and many continental universities.
The trade of Cork, previously to the late war with France, consisted chiefly in the exportation of butter and beef for the supply of the British navy, to the West Indies, and to the ports of France, Spain, and the Mediterranean; and of hides and tallow chiefly to England. At that time the surrounding districts were nearly all under pasturage and scarcely produced sufficient corn for the supply of their inhabitants; the lands were grazed by vast herds of cattle, and the quantity of beef cured for exportation was perhaps ten times as great as at present; but from the impetus since given to agriculture, a considerable portion of the land has been brought under tillage, and an extensive trade in corn and flour consequently established. This was one of the first places in which the interests of trade and commerce were taken under the protection of the merchants themselves, who established a committee consisting of fourteen merchants who export butter, seven butter merchants who collect it from the various farms, and three tanners, elected annually by their respective trades: this body, under the simple designation of the “Committee of Merchants,” is in all respects similar to the Chamber of Commerce in other parts; it has existed as the accredited organ of the trading community and been recognised as such in several local acts since the year 1729, and communicates with the public authorities on subjects connected with the trade of Ireland. The butter trade, which is considered as the most important in the province of Munster, and is carried on in this city to a greater extent than in any other part of the united kingdom, is conducted by two distinct classes of merchants, of whom the one, called the butter merchants, purchase the butter from the dairy farmers, or receive it at the current price for a certain per centage, taking their chance of a rise or fall in the market; and the other, called the export merchants, ship it either on order or on their own account. This trade was formerly regulated by local acts emanating from the Committee of Merchants, under whose superintendence the Cork butter obtained a preference in all foreign markets; and though by representations to parliament from other parts of Ireland all restrictions have been removed, the old regulations are still retained by a compact among the merchants; and the butter is brought to the same weigh-house, where, after its quality has been ascertained by sworn inspectors annually appointed, it is weighed and the firkins are each branded with the quality and weight and with the private mark of the inspector. The weigh-house is capable of receiving 4000 firkins for examination at one time; and the quantity which passed through it annually on an average of four years ending April 30th, 1835, was 263,765 firkins; in the last of these years it exceeded 279,000 firkins, and the trade is gradually increasing. The business of the weigh-house is conducted under the superintendence of a general weigh-master and a sub-committee of export and butter merchants, who appoint inspectors, scalesmen, and other officers. At present there are engaged in this branch of trade between 60 and 70 merchants: the butter is made principally in the counties of Cork, Kerry, and Limerick, particularly Kerry; the best in quality, in proportion to the quantity, comes from the counties of Cork and Limerick, especially the latter and the northern part of the. former, where the dairy farmers are more wealthy, their farms more extensive, and the quality of the soil better than in Kerry or the southern part of Cork. Butter made in Kerry is considered more suitable for warm climates than that of the same quality made in Limerick, from the inferior fertility of the soil and the numerous springs of soft water with which the former county abounds. The carriers employed in conveying the butter from the remote dairy districts take back grocery and other articles of domestic consumption; and this important branch of trade also furnishes constant employment to a numerous body of coopers, not only in the manufacture of firkins, but in what is called trimming or preparing the article for exportation, that which is intended for warm climates requiring the cooperage to be so tight as to exclude the air and confine the pickle. The corn trade of Cork may now be classed among the more important branches of its commerce: the quantity exported annually on an average of four years ending Dec. 25th, 1835, was 72,654 barrels of wheat, 126,519 barrels of oats, and 1749 barrels of barley; and very large quantities of barley and oats are consumed in the distilleries and breweries of the city. A new corn-market was built in 1833 by trustees appointed under an act of the 3rd of Geo. IV., cap. 79: it is a quadrangular enclosure, 460 feet in length and 330 in breadth, situated beyond the south branch of the river near Anglesey bridge; the area, which is enclosed with a high stone wall, is divided into twelve covered walks for the purchasers and thirteen carriage ways for unloading the corn, which is protected from rain by the projecting roofs of the walks; at right angles with these, and extending the whole breadth of the area, is a covered space for weighing; and there are appropriate offices for the collector and the clerks. The expense of its erection, with that of the bridge leading to it, amounted to £17,460, of which the government advanced £4615 towards building the bridge, and the commissioners of parliamentary loans lent £10,000; two individual proprietors of ground in its vicinity, besides giving the site rent-free, contributed £2500 towards the building, which, with the erection of the bridge, is calculated to augment the value of the residue of their property. The quantity of agricultural produce brought to the market is rapidly increasing: in the year ending Aug. 31st, 1835, 83,938 barrels of wheat, 91,743 barrels of barley, 120,597 barrels of oats, and 23,483 carcasses of pork, were weighed here. The increase of tillage before noticed naturally diminished the curing of beef, but it greatly increased that of pork: the provision trade, though diminished, may yet be regarded as the next in importance to that of corn: the government contracts for the navy are still for the greater part executed by the merchants of Cork, though a large portion of the beef is frequently supplied from Dublin; and the provisions for the East India and other trading ships are also chiefly supplied by them. The curing of hams and bacon, formerly confined to Belfast and Waterford, has within the last few years been extensively carried on both here and at Limerick, the breed of hogs being now quite as good in the southern as in the northern and midland counties. The supply of plantation stores for the West Indian proprietors, which was formerly very extensive, has much decreased; and the shipments of provisions to the West Indies as merchandise have dwindled into insignificance, and will now scarcely remunerate the adventurer. The provision trade of the port has also sustained considerable diminution from throwing open to foreigners the supplies of Newfoundland, to which colony upwards of 30,000 barrels of pork were exported annually, chiefly from Cork and Waterford, besides flour, oatmeal, butter, bacon, candles, leather, boots and shoes, and other commodities, and returns were made in fish and oil; this branch of commerce has been almost entirely usurped by the ports of Hamburgh, Copenhagen, and the United States, to which the English schooners previously freighted with the above cargoes either here or at Waterford now go. The quantity of provisions sent from this port on an average of three years ending with 1835 was 16,469 tierces, 19,216 barrels and 5604 half-barrels of beef and pork, and 23,492 bales of bacon annually. The introduction of steam navigation has much increased the exportation of flour to London, Bristol, and Liverpool, the quantity of flour exported on an average of four years ending with 1835 was 79,119 sacks annually. The trade in live stock (chiefly black cattle, sheep, and pigs), in poultry and eggs, and the produce of the river fisheries, has also been greatly promoted by the same means, and is now very extensive. On an average 1200 pigs and half a million of eggs are sent off weekly; and not only is the salmon of the Blackwater, the Bride, the Lee, and the Bandon sent to England by steamers, but that of the rivers in the most remote parts of Kerry is sent hither cured in kits for exportation. The salmon fishery of the Lee has long been celebrated both for the quantity and quality of the fish, which are in season during the whole year, and are distinguished for the superior excellence of their flavour; but the indiscriminate method of taking them with weirs, traps, and nets has nearly destroyed the fishery.
The trade with the Mediterranean consists principally in the importation of bark, valonia, shumac, brimstone, sweet oil, liquorice, raisins, currants and other fruit, marble, and various small articles. The importation of wine is steady and considerable, but not so extensive as formerly, in consequence of the increased consumption of home-distilled spirits: the quantity imported on an average of three years ending with 1835 was 398 pipes, 74 butts, 701 hogsheads, 517 quarter-casks, and 246 cases annually. From 5000 to 6000 tons of salt are annually imported from St. Ubes, exclusively of a large quantity brought from Liverpool. The trade with St. Peters-burgh, Riga, Archangel, and occasionally with Odessa, is chiefly in tallow, hemp, flax, linseed, iron, hides, bristles, and isinglass, but is not very extensive: and as a considerable portion of the tallow and part of the hemp comes indirectly through London and Liverpool, the returns of these articles and others imported in a similar manner are necessarily imperfect: the estimated importations of tallow average about 1580 hogsheads, and of hemp 400 tons, annually. The Baltic trade in timber was gradually declining until the practice of bringing it in through Halifax at the colonial duty of 10s. per load was resorted to. Large quantities of timber are brought from Canada, the trade with which is flourishing: the staves and potashes formerly brought from New York and Baltimore now come mostly from Quebec, though several cargoes of staves have been recently imported from the United States via St. John’s (New Brunswick) and Nova Scotia. Flax seed, formerly imported to a considerable extent direct from New York, is now brought from the Baltic and Odessa, and is derived indirectly from England; the quantity of tobacco that paid duty at the custom-house, on an average of three years ending with 1835, was 647,000 lb. annually. The decline of the outward West. India trade, and the facility of procuring supplies from the English ports by steamers, have considerably diminished the direct importation of sugar and other articles of West Indian produce: the quantity of raw sugar annually imported, on an average of three years ending with 1835, amounted to 3109 hhds., 468 tierces, 596 barrels, and 5654 bags; and of refined sugar, to 546 hhds. and 486 tierces. The quantity of herrings now imported, almost exclusively for home consumption, is on an average of three years 17,904 barrels annually. Vast quantities were formerly imported from Scotland and Gottenburgh, and after being repacked here, were shipped off to the West Indies, being found to keep good in that climate better than those from any other port; but the Scots sending for men from Cork soon learned the peculiar mode of packing them, and the trade from this port was discontinued. Fish is imported from Newfoundland, Labrador, and Gaspe in considerable quantities, amounting on the average to 500 tons annually. Many of the merchants are of opinion that the deep sea line fishery on the Nymph Bank, and that in the bay of Galway, if properly conducted, would not only furnish a sufficient supply for home consumption, but even a surplus for exportation. The direct foreign trade of the port having been very much diminished since the introduction of steam navigation, the wholesale dealer in almost every article has been greatly injured; the retailer can now, without holding stock, ensure a weekly supply by steam from Liverpool or Bristol, and, both as regards foreign produce and articles of British growth or manufacture, has thus become an importer; even if he could purchase equally as cheap from the Cork merchant, he prefers announcing his importations in the daily newspapers, by which his own trade is benefited in proportion as that of the wholesale dealer is injured. This diversion of the channel of trade has consequently caused a depression in the value of large warehouses, formerly used as stores for merchandise. But notwithstanding the introduction of steam navigation, the tonnage of sailing vessels belonging to the port has, within the last 25 years, greatly increased; and a manifest improvement has taken place in the principle of their construction. Formerly the vessels built here were considered so inferior that underwriters were reluctant to insure them, and even the Cork merchants preferred shipping valuable cargoes in others; now the London traders of the highest class, which are insured at Lloyd’s for a less premium than other vessels, have been built in the river of Cork. By far the greater portion of the tonnage is, however, employed in the Canadian timber and Welsh coal trades, the latter of which was formerly for the most part carried on in Welsh vessels. The coal trade is very considerable: a local duty of one shilling per ton late currency is levied for the support of the Foundling Hospital on all coal brought into the port, amounting to about 120,000 tons annually. The number of registered vessels belonging to the port, in Jan. 1836, was 302, of the aggregate burden of 21,514 tons, and employing 1684 men: this enumeration includes vessels trading from Kinsale and Youghal, which are now registered as belonging to Cork. There are two shipbuilding yards, each having a patent slip in which vessels of 500 tons can be hauled up and repaired: vessels of every size to 400 tons have been built in these yards. At Passage there are two ship-building yards, one of them having a very fine dry dock: these establishments employ about 200 hands. During the year ending Jan. 5th, 1836, 164 British ships of the aggregate burden of 29,124 tons, and 27 foreign ships of 2912 tons aggregate burden, employed in the foreign trade, entered inwards; and 69 British and 20 foreign ships, of the aggregate burden of 10,098 tons, cleared outwards: in the trade with Great Britain, 2246 vessels of all kinds, of 226,318 tons aggregate burden, entered inwards, and 1384 of 166,516 tons aggregate, cleared outwards: and in the intercourse with Irish ports, 406 vessels, of 18,564 tons aggregate burden, entered inwards; and 596 of 20,384 tons aggregate cleared outwards. The amount of duties paid at the custom-house for the same year was £216,446. 1. 7. and of Excise for the same period £252,452. 14. 6 1/2. The superior facilities afforded by steam navigation have given an extraordinary impulse to the trade of this port: the agricultural produce of all the western parts of the country south of Limerick is brought hither for exportation, in return for which, groceries, woollen and cotton goods, and other commodities are received. The completion of the great Western railway from Bristol to London will tend to a still further extension of this profitable system of interchange, by expediting the conveyance of live stock, provisions, and other Irish produce to London. In 1821, two steam-boats were employed by a Scottish Company to trade between Cork and Bristol, but, from drawing too much water, did not remain on this station more than six months, after which the boats of the Bristol Company traded for some time, and in 1825 the St. George’s Company introduced a line of packets between Cork and Liverpool, and afterwards between Cork and Bristol, which have been ever since continued, and have engrossed the entire carrying trade of the port by steam. The capital of this company amounts to £300,000, subscribed in shares, of which one-third are held by Cork proprietors. It now employs seven vessels of about 500 tons’ burden and 250-horse power each; two of these ply to Bristol, one to Liverpool, three to London, and one to Dublin: all carry passengers, goods, and cattle. The company’s office, built on Penrose’s quay in 1832, is a neat building with an entrance porch of the Doric order surmounted by a pediment on four Ionic columns, above which is a sculpture of St. George and the Dragon. Four smaller steam-boats ply daily between Cork and Cove. The American Steam-Packet Company’s vessels will touch here on their way to and from Liverpool. Rail-roads to Cove, Passage, and Limerick, are in contemplation.
The noble harbour of Cork, which gave rise to the motto of the city, “Statio benefida carinis,” is admirably adapted to all the purposes of the most extended commerce; and from its convenient situation, the perfect security with which numerous fleets may winter in a land-locked basin, and its excellent anchorage at all times, it became in time of war the rendezvous of large fleets and convoys, and the port from which the British navy was supplied with all kinds of provisions cured and prepared in a superior manner. The number of small craft on the coast, and of fishing hookers, pilot boats, lighters, and pleasure yachts in the river; the dense population of its shores, inured to hardships and privations, and other considerations, tended to render Cork in the estimation of British statesmen one of the most important places in the empire: and the vast expenditure of public money for supplies during the war; the detention at Cove, sometimes for months together, of large fleets of war, and powerful expeditions, with vast numbers of merchant vessels; the sums laid out on public works in the harbour, the barracks at Cork, Ballincollig, and Fermoy, the powder-mills at Ballincollig, and various other works, for many years gave an extraordinary impulse to its commercial prosperity. What is considered more peculiarly the harbour is situated nine miles below the city, opposite the town of Cove, where ships of any burden may ride in safety; the best anchorage for large ships is off Cove fort, now dismantled and occupied as a naval hospital, where there are from 5 to 8 fathoms of water; vessels of great draught can pass up the river as far as Passage, within five miles and a half of the city, where they discharge and load by means of lighters; and vessels drawing only 14 or 15 feet of water can proceed to the town quays. On the east side of the entrance from the sea to the harbour is Roche’s Tower lighthouse, having ten lamps which exhibit a steady deep red light towards the sea, and a bright light towards the harbour. The only naval depot and victualling-yard in Ireland were at Cove, but the establishment now consists merely of an agent and two clerks, and is maintained at an expense of £225 per annum. During the war and for several years after this was the port station of an admiral having a large fleet under his command; but the admiral’s flag and the navy have been withdrawn, and at present, the King’s flag is seldom seen on the Irish coast, except on the Lord-Lieutenant’s yacht. On Hal-bowling island are the spacious and admirably designed naval storehouses, tank, and other requisites, now abandoned; on Spike island are powerful batteries commanding the entrance of the harbour, and on Rocky island is the dep6t for gunpowder. The ballast office, situated on Lapp’s island, was established by act of the 1st of Geo. IV., cap. 52, which also provided for the regulation of pilots and the improvement of the port and harbour, by a Board of Harbour Commissioners consisting of the mayor, two sheriffs, the parliamentary representatives of the city, five members of the common council, and 25 merchants, of whom the five senior members go out annually in rotation. Among the various improvements made by this board is the line of quays extending on both sides of the river from the North bridge on the north channel, round the eastern extremity of the island, to Parliament bridge on the south, a distance of one statute mile and a half. From the end of Penrose’s quay a new line extending eastward is now nearly completed, and the marsh lying between it and the lower Glanmire road is in course of drainage: when this is accomplished the main central portion of the city will be encompassed with a noble line of quays, 18 feet high and nearly four statute miles in extent, built and coped with limestone principally from the quarries on the Little island and Rostellan. From 1827 to 1834 not less than £34,389 was expended on new quays from the proceeds of the harbour dues. The commissioners have also made an important improvement by deepening the bed of the river, which formerly admitted only vessels of 120 tons, but is now navigable to the quays for vessels of 250 tons; shoals and dangerous banks have been removed by a steam-dredging machine, and buoys laid down to mark the limits of the channel; excellent regulations have been adopted for the conduct of the pilots; lights have been placed on the castle of Blackrock, and various other measures calculated to promote the prosperity of the port have been carried into effect. The average receipts of the commissioners, arising from duties on imports and exports, tonnage duty, and the sale of ballast, for six years to 1835 inclusive amounted to £7549. 16. 8., and the expenditure to £7762. 12. 0. A navigation wall, commencing nearly opposite to the custom-house and extending about an Irish mile along the south shore of the river, was commenced in 1763, to prevent the channel from being choked with the mud which is washed up at every tide; and it is in contemplation to reclaim the extensive slab on the south of it, and render it available to the increase and improvement of the city. The custom-house, completed in 1818, and in which also the business of the excise is transacted, is a plain edifice situated at the eastern extremity of Lapp’s island: the central front is ornamented with a pediment, in the tympanum of which are the royal arms, and connected with it are very extensive and appropriate buildings; the long room is spacious and well adapted to the purpose; the commercial buildings, on the South Mall, were erected in 1813, from a design by Sir Thomas Deane, by a proprietary of 129 £100 shareholders incorporated by charter in the 48th of Geo. III., for the accommodation of merchants, for which purpose they are much better adapted than the old exchange: they are fronted with cement, and ornamented with Ionic columns between the windows; the coffee-room, on the first floor, in which the merchants meet, is 60 feet long, 35 feet wide, and 20 feet high, with a coved ceiling chastely embellished, and is well supplied with the English and Irish newspapers and periodicals. Communicating with the commercial buildings, and belonging to the same proprietary, is the Imperial Clarence hotel, well conducted by Mr. McDowel: attached to it is a ball-room, 70 feet long and 36 feet wide, elegantly fitted up, with a refreshment room adjoining, 50 feet long and 36 feet wide; and there are twelve drawing-rooms for private families, and a commercial room for travellers, with every accommodation requisite in a first-rate hotel: all the principal mails start from it. The chamber of commerce, a neat building in Patrick-street, was erected by a body of seceders from the proprietary of the commercial buildings, who, within the last few years, in consequence of a dispute, associated under the above designation, but not, as the name implies, with any reference to the commercial interests of the port, which are under the superintendence of the committee of merchants: the large room is well supplied with newspapers and periodicals, and, like that of the commercial buildings, is open to naval and military officers and to all strangers; the lower and other parts of the building are appropriated to the purposes of a commercial hotel. The post-office is a small but convenient building near the centre of the city: its revenue, in 1835, was £13,022.4. 11. The first mail coach that entered the city was established between Dublin and Cork, on the 8th of July, 1789: there are now day and night mails from Dublin, and one from Waterford every morning, each carrying the English letters, but letters from London come through Dublin, unless ordered via Waterford; and there are several other mail-coaches from Limerick, Bantry, Tralee, and other places, which arrive in the evening before the departure of the Dublin night mail.
The manufactures of the town, though in some branches rather extensive, are generally of little importance compared with its commerce. Formerly Blackpool, a large and populous portion of the suburbs, was principally inhabited by persons engaged in the manufacture of coarse woollens, linens, cottons, thread camlets, stuffs, woollen yarn, and hats, and in wool-combing, dyeing, and other similar occupations; but in 1812, the protecting duty of 10 per cent. on British manufactures, which fostered those of Ireland, being removed, vast numbers were thrown out of employment, who, having in vain remonstrated and petitioned for a more gradual alteration of the system, were ultimately compelled to seek employment in England. The principal branch of manufacture now carried on is the tanning of leather, which article was formerly imported from London and Bristol, but since the assimilation of the duties has become a great source of export; there are 46 tanyards in various parts of the suburbs, of which 25 are very extensive; and in 1835 there were 615 tanners and curriers in constant employment. The average number of hides tanned annually is about 110,000, of which the greater portion were till lately purchased in Liverpool and London, but in 1835, a new branch of commerce was opened by the importation of hides direct from Montevideo and Gibraltar: the number of native hides annually weighed at the crane, on an average of three years ending April 30th, 1835, was 32,068, and of calf skins, 73,416; and the quantity of leather exported on an average of five years ending with 1835 was 5624 bales and 214 crates annually. The quantity of bark imported from foreign countries and from England and Wales for the use of the tanneries, from 1830 to 1835 inclusive, amounted on an average to 6948 tons annually, and of valonia from Smyrna, to more than 2000 tons annually. The encouragement afforded to tillage and the increased production of corn, to supply the demand during the late continental war, gave rise to the establishment of corn-mills, breweries, and distilleries on a large scale, of which the first-named are numerous in the vicinity; the largest breweries are those of Messrs. Beamish and Crawford, and Messrs. Lane; the former is exclusively confined to the manufacture of porter. These breweries employ a great number of hands, and conduce much to the improvement of agriculture. There are seven distilleries in the city and its vicinity; those in the former produce annually 1,400,000 gallons of whiskey, and in the latter, 600,000; the whole consume 268,000 barrels of corn, and employ about 1000 men: the quantity of whiskey shipped at the port in 1835 was 1279 puncheons. There are seven iron-foundries, affording employment to upwards of 300 workmen; and five manufactories in which spades, shovels, &c, are made, also two manufactories of steel, and an extensive establishment for coppersmith’s work chiefly for the distilleries and breweries. The quantity of iron imported annually is upwards of 6000 tons; and in the various departments of the iron trade within the city and liberties, including smithies, nearly 1000 men are employed. The paper-mills are numerous and extensive, and their produce is in great demand: the number of persons employed exceeds 400. In the city are two large glasshouses for the manufacture of flint glass for the home and foreign markets, with extensive premises for cutting, engraving, &c, attached to each, affording employment to 246 persons. The manufacture of woollen cloth was introduced prior to 1732, and flourished for many years: the principal manufacturers were Messrs. Lane, who for more than twenty years after the union furnished the entire clothing for the Irish army; their mills were situated at Riverstown, but are now applied to other purposes. At Glanmire are the extensive mills of Messrs. Lyons and Hanly, for the. manufacture of fine cloth; and at Blarney are mills for spinning yarn for the supply of Mr. Mahony’s stuff and camlet manufactory in Cork. There are still a few wool-combing and dyeing establishments, besides mills at Douglas and Glanmire, where linens and cottons are bleached and finished, and several rope-walks established for the manufacture of patent cordage. Many of the poor are employed in weaving coarse cotton checks, which are sold at a very low price by Messrs. Todd and Co., who have a very large establishment on the plan of those in London, furnished with goods of every kind. Cutlery of superior quality is extensively manufactured, and bears a higher price than that brought from England. The trade in gloves is very flourishing, and employs a great number of people; those made here are always sold as Limerick gloves. Acids, mineral waters, and vinegar of superior quality are also extensively made. The manufacture of canvas was formerly extensive, but is now declining, the article being imported cheaper from Liverpool, Glasgow, Greenock, and East Cocker. The soap manufacture has been much diminished by the increase of tillage and the decrease in the slaughtering of cattle; and the manufacture of candles, with which this place once almost exclusively supplied the West Indian market, in which it still enjoys a preference, has been affected by the same cause. The Bank of Ireland and the Provincial Bank, about the year 1825, opened branch establishments here, which have afforded liberal accommodation to trade; and two new joint stock companies, the National, and the Agricultural and Commercial, have since established branch banks in the city. The savings’ bank is a large and handsome edifice; the deposits, at the close of 1836, exceeded £240,000: it was established in 1817, from which period to the end of 1836, the number of depositors was 24,000, of whom 7066 are now on the books. The principal market days are Wednesday and Saturday but all the markets are open daily. Fairs under the charter are held on Trinity-Monday and Oct. 1st, in an open area called Fair-field, half a mile to the north-west of the town. The city market, for meat, fish, poultry, fresh butter, vegetables, and fruit, was opened in 1788: it is conveniently situated near the centre of the city, with spacious entrances from Patrick-street, Prince’s-street, and the Grand Parade, and comprises several detached buildings suitably arranged; it is divided into separate departments, and is abundantly supplied daily with every kind of provisions. The cattle market is held near the Shandon markets: the number of horned cattle annually sold here for the provision merchants formerly exceeded 50,000, but the average of three years ending Dec. 25th, 1835, was less than 6000 annually: the number of pigs sold alive in this market to the provision merchants is on an average 90,000 annually, exclusively of the carcases sold in the new corn market.
The corporation is very ancient, and exists probably by prescription. A charter was granted by John, Earl of Morton, while viceroy of Ireland, in the reign of his father Hen. II., in the preamble of which it is stated — “I have granted and given, and by this my charter confirm, to the citizens of Cork all the fields held of my city of Cork and the ground on which the city is, now. for my benefit to increase the strength of the citizens. This is to them and their heirs to hold of me and my heirs, and to remain in frank burgage, by such custom and rent as the burgesses of Bristol, in England pay yearly for their burgages; and to secure my city of Cork I grant this to the same my citizens of Cork all the laws, franchises, and customs or freight which are in Bristol on whatsoever sails. And firmly commanding that the aforesaid my citizens of Cork and their heirs and their successors have the aforesaid city of Cork of me and my successors as is aforesaid, and have all the laws and franchises and frank customs of Bristol; and as those were wont to be used and written in my court and in my hundred of Cork, and in all business. And I forbid that any wrong or hindrance be given to the aforesaid laws and franchises, which gift from us are given and granted, &c.” A copy of this charter is preserved amongst the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, but the original is lost. The earliest charter extant is one of the 26th of Hen. III., which granted the city and its appurtenances in fee farm at an annual rent of 80 marks, with prisage of wine, custom, and cocket within the jurisdiction of the port, and certain personal privileges to the citizens, among which was an exemption from toll and all other customs throughout his dominions: under this charter the chief officer of the corporation was called “provost.” Edw. I. granted two charters, in the 19th and 31st of his reign, the latter of which authorised the bailiffs and men of Cork to have murage, as in other towns in Ireland, for six years. The charter of the 11th of Edw. II. is the first in which the office of mayor is named: the same monarch, in the following year, confirmed the charter of the 19th of Edw. I., and gave to the mayor elect the privilege of being sworn before his predecessor in office, instead of going to Dublin to take the oaths before the barons of the exchequer; charters were also granted in the 4th and 5th of Edw. III., 5th of Rich. II., and 2nd of Edw. IV., the last of which, after reciting that the mayor and commonalty had eleven parish churches within the city, with suburbs extending one mile in every direction, that had been for 50 years preceding destroyed by Irish enemies and English rebels, on which account they were unable to pay the fee farm rent, remitted all arrears, and granted them the cocket of the city for the construction of the walls, to be held until they should be able to travel peaceably one mile beyond them. In the 15th of Edw. IV. all former charters were confirmed, and the mayor and citizens were allowed to enjoy all their franchises both within the city and suburbs and through the entire port, “as far as the shore, point, or strand called Rewrawne, on the western part of the said port, and as far as to the shore, point, or strand of the sea, called Benowdran, on the eastern part of the same port, and so far as the castle of Carrigrohan, on the western side of the said city, and in all towns, pills, creeks, burgs, and strands in and to which the sea ebbs and flows in length and breadth within the aforesaid two points, called Rewrawne and Benowdran:” it then releases during pleasure all arrears of the rent of 80 marks, and grants that the corporation, in lieu thereof, shall in future render at the exchequer 20lb. of wax. Hen. VII. granted a charter of inspeximus; and Hen. VIII., in the 1st of his reign, gave a confirmatory charter, and in the 28th another, which also conferred upon the mayor the privilege of having a sword carried before him, the sword-bearer to wear “a remarkable cap” (which ceremony is still observed), and granted him the custody of the castle. Edw. VI., in the 3rd of his reign, granted a charter of confirmation; and in the 18th of Eliz. the mayor, recorder, and bailiffs, and the four senior aldermen who had served the office of mayor, were constituted keepers of the peace within the city both by land and by water; and they, or three of them, of whom the mayor and recorder were to be two, were appointed justices of oyer and terminer and general gaol delivery, with power to enquire into all felonies, trespasses, &c, within the city and liberties; this charter also contained a grant to the corporation of all fines and amercements. The charter of the 6th of Jas. I., after granting that Cork should be a free city, and changing the style of the corporation to that of mayor, sheriffs, and commonalty, with power to make by-laws for the regulation of the municipality, constituted the city and a surrounding district to be marked out by commissioners a distinct county, over which the powers of the justices of the peace for the city were extended, and released the corporation from their annual payment of 20lb. of wax: this charter also granted permission to hold two fairs with all tolls, &c, and created a corporation of the staple with privileges equal to those of London or Dublin. In the 7th of Chas. I. a confirmatory charter was granted, which, after declaring that justices of the county of Cork should have no jurisdiction within the city, further directs that each mayor, on retiring from office, shall be an alderman, and that all the aldermen shall be members of the common council, provided the number do not exceed 24: it also empowers the corporation to elect a town-clerk, clerk of the Crown, and public notary; and likewise six aldermen of the ward, who should have power to determine all causes not exceeding 405. arising within their respective wards. By the charter granted in the 9th of Geo. II. all the aldermen, immediately on retiring from the office of mayor, were made justices of the peace within the county of the city: the same monarch, in the 21st of his reign, granted another charter, which is the last given to the corporation, authorising them to hold two fairs annually at a place called the Lough, within the liberties, and to take the usual tolls. Under the authority of these charters a series of by-laws passed in 1721, for electing the officers and otherwise regulating the affairs of the corporation, the different classes in which are the mayor, sheriffs, aldermen, burgesses, and commonalty or freemen. The mayor is chosen on the first Monday in July, nominally by a majority of the freemen, according to a form expressed in one of the by-laws, from among the resident burgesses or persons who have served the office of sheriff, of whom five, whose names have been drawn from a hat containing the names of all entitled to be elected, are put in nomination; but this right of the freemen to choose the mayor is rendered almost nugatory by an association called the “Friendly Club,” consisting of about 500 of the freemen, of whom more than 300 are resident, by one of whose rules the members are bound to vote for one of the two senior burgesses of the five whose names are drawn. The sheriffs are elected on the same day as the mayor, by and from the freemen; but the interposition of the Friendly Club operates in like manner as in the election of mayor. The aldermen are such members of the corporation as have served the office of mayor, and are unlimited in number; six of them, elected by the freemen at large in a court of D’Oyer hundred held for the purpose on a vacancy occurring, are called “Aldermen of the Ward.” The burgesses are those who have served the office of sheriff, and are also unlimited in number; and the common council is composed of the mayor, recorder, two sheriffs, and aldermen, not exceeding in all 24, and should they not amount to that number, the deficiency is made up by election from among the burgesses. All by-laws, and orders for the payment of money, letting and disposing of the corporate property, and the admission of freemen, must originate in the common council, and are afterwards confirmed in the court of D’Oyer hundred. Besides the recorder, the assistant officers of the corporation are a common speaker (who represents the commonalty and attends the meetings of the council, where he is permitted to sit and hear the deliberations, but has no vote), town-clerk, chamberlain, clerks of the Crown, peace, and council, a water and deputy water bailiffs, sword-bearer, two serjeants-at-mace, assay-master, weighmasters, two coroners, and other inferior officers; the principal of these are elected by the freemen at large, in a court of D’Oyer hundred. The appointment of the mayor, sheriffs, recorder, and town-clerk is subject to the approbation of the lord-lieutenant and privy council. The freedom is inherited by the first-born sons of freemen, and obtained by apprenticeship of seven years to a freeman and by grace especial of the common council, subject, in the last case, to the approval of the court of D’Oyer hundred, except as regards persons of distinction who may happen to be in the city, and to whom the council think fit to present the freedom. The city first sent members to the Irish parliament in 1374, but representatives who appear to have served in London were chosen previously. The right of election was vested in the freemen of the city, and in the 40s. freeholders and £50 leaseholders of the county of the city, of whom the freemen, in 1831, amounted in number to 2331, and the freeholders to 1545, making a total of 3876; but by the act of the 2nd of Wm. IV., cap. 88 (under which the city, from its distinguished importance, retains its privilege of returning two representatives to the Imperial parliament, and the limits of the franchise, comprising the entire county of the city, remain unaltered), the non-resident freemen, except within seven miles, have been disfranchised, and the privilege of voting at elections has been extended to the £10 householders, and the £20 and £10 leaseholders for the respective terms of 14 and 20 years. The number of voters registered up to Jan. 2nd, 1836, amounted to 4791, of whom 1065 were freemen; 2727 £10 householders; 105 £50, 152 £20, and 608 forty-shilling freeholders; 3 £50, 7 £20, and 2 £10 rent-chargers; and 1 £50, 26 £20, and 95 £10 leaseholders: the sheriffs are the returning officers. The mayor, recorder, and all the aldermen are justices of the peace for the county of the city; and the mayor is also a judge of assize, justice of the peace for the county at large, a judge of the courts of record and conscience, and president of the council and of the court of D’Oyer hundred. Under the new Police bill, there are a chief constable, a head constable, 11 constables and 62 sub-constables. The courts of the corporation are the mayor and sheriffs’ court, the courts of city sessions and conscience, and the police office or magistrates’ court. The mayor and sheriffs’ court, held weekly, has jurisdiction in all personal and mixed actions, except replevin and ejectment, in pleas to any amount; and is a court of record, in which the pleadings are similar to those of the superior courts. Suits may be commenced either by serviceable writ, bailable writ, or attachment against goods, in which last mode the debt sought to be recovered must amount to at least 40s. Irish. The mayor and sheriffs originally presided as judges; but by the 11th and 12th of Geo. III., cap. 18, the recorder, or his deputy, being a barrister of three years’ standing, was made judge, and authorised to sit alone; in his absence the mayor and one of the sheriffs are necessary to constitute a court. The city sessions court is held quarterly before the justices, but by the act above noticed the recorder is empowered to hold the court alone, and in general is the only judge presiding; a grand jury is returned by the sheriff to serve for the entire quarter, and the court sits weekly by adjournment. The number of prisoners tried at these sessions in 1835 was 401, of whom 110 were for felonies and 291 for misdemeanours. The court of conscience was constituted by act of the 3rd of Geo. IV., cap. 85, for the recovery of debts not exceeding 40s. arising within the county of the city: the act appoints the mayor and aldermen of the ward judges, not less than three of them to be sufficient to hold the court. The police-office, or magistrates’ court, adjoins the court of conscience, and was constituted by the same act. The revenue of the corporation, exclusively of the expense of collecting the tolls, amounts to about £6237 per annum, arising from various sources.
The city is within the Munster circuit: the assizes for the county at large are held here, and, at the same time, those for the county of the city. It is also one of the places at which, in September, the assistant barrister holds his courts for the East Riding. The present city court-house, or guildhall, is situated on the south side of the exchange, and contains on the first floor a council-chamber, in which the mayor and council assemble to transact business and hold the courts of D’Oyer hundred. The exchange, situated at the angle of Castle-street and the north Main-street, a small regular structure of hewn stone, erected by Twiss Jones in 1709, at the expense of the corporation, has been taken down, and is to be re-erected in front of the market on the Grand Parade. The old county court-house, anciently called “the King’s Castle,” being too small and inconvenient, a county and city court-house was erected in 1835 by Messrs. Pain: it is a large and handsome edifice, in the Grecian style of – architecture, with a boldly projecting portico of eight columns supporting an entablature and cornice surmounted by a pediment, on the apex of which is a group of figures representing Justice between Law and Mercy: the interior contains two semicircular courts, and the various offices in the back part of the building are so arranged as to afford the public and the officers facility of access without collision; the judges and barristers can go from one court to the other by private passages; and the entire building, which was erected at an expense of about £20,000, reflects equal credit on the taste and judgment of the architects. The mansion-house, beautifully situated on the bank of the river, near the entrance to the Mardyke Walk, is a large and handsome edifice, built in 1767 by the celebrated Ducart, at an expense of £3793. The entrance-hall and staircase are spacious; on the first landing-place is a well-sculptured bust of George IV., and in a niche in the first lobby is a full-length marble effigy of the first Rt. Hon. Wm. Pitt, in his robes of office and holding a scroll in his right hand, placed there in 1766. The dining and drawing-rooms are large and fitted up in a costly manner: in the former is a full length figure of Wm. III. in armour, with a scroll in the right hand and the head encircled by a wreath of laurel, standing on a pedestal bearing an inscription recording its erection by the corporation and citizens in 1759. In the entrance-hall are the ancient “nail” or “nail head” of the city, and the ancient standard brass yard; also a curious representation of the city arms cut in stone, which was found some years since on taking down the old custom-house. The city gaol is a castellated building, situated on an eminence near Sunday-well. It was at first divided into two equal compartments, one for males and the other for females; but the original arrangement has been altered, and the prison is now divided into 32 wards, 8 for male and 1 for female debtors, 9 for male and 8 for female culprits; the remaining 6 are hospital wards. There are 54 cells, affording accommodation for 162 male culprits; and 48 for females, accommodating 96. Each ward has a day room and airing-yard, and in one of these is a treadmill used to raise water for the supply of the prison. Separate places of worship are fitted up for Protestants and Roman Catholics: the number of prisoners committed, in 1835, was 263 male and 153 female criminals; 245 male and 99 female misdemeanants; 29 soldiers; 314 male and 31 female debtors, making a total of 851 males and 283 females. The expenditure for that year was £2557. 3. 6. The city bridewell is for the temporary confinement of prisoners under examination before final committal, and of disorderly persons taken up in the night until brought before the magistrates; eight cells with fire-places in each were recently added to it for solitary confinement. The gaol and house of correction for the county are situated at a short distance from the town on the south side of the new western road. The entrance was originally from the south; but the new approach to the city, between the north and south branches of the river, afforded the architects an opportunity of forming an entrance on the north side, for which purpose a bridge of one arch was built over the south channel communicating with a causeway raised about six feet across the adjacent meadows. Along the north side of the prison is an esplanade, about 40 feet broad, in the centre of which, and directly opposite to the bridge is an entrance portico of four Doric columns surmounted by a pediment; the design is taken from the Temple of Bacchus, at Athens. The gaol has been enlarged at different periods, and is now very commodious and well-arranged. It is under the direction of a governor and deputy-governor; and is divided into 8 wards, 2 for male debtors, 5 for male offenders, and 1 for females of every description, which is subdivided into three sections appropriated respectively to debtors, untried and convicts. The male wards contain 95 cells, capable of accommodating 425 inmates; that of the females has accommodations for 66; each ward has a day-room and a spacious airing-yard: there are four solitary cells. The gaol and the surrounding extensive enclosed ground are kept in the highest order; the prisoners, who on their admission are clothed in a distinguishing prison dress, are fully occupied either on the tread-wheel or in the duties of whitewashing and cleansing the floors, yards, and passages. The number of prisoners committed in 1835 was 978, of whom 740, including 203 females, were charged with criminal offences; 200, of whom 12 were females, were debtors; 20 were soldiers, and 18, of whom one was a female, were committed under process of the exchequer. The House of Correction, built by Messrs. Pain on the north side of the gaol, is a well-arranged edifice, consisting of a centre and two detached wings towards the gaol, and of three other ranges of building, radiating from the centre northward. The centre contains the governor’s apartments on the ground floor, a chapel both for Protestants and Roman Catholics on the second, and an infirmary on the third. The radiating buildings contain 78 cells, with washing-rooms in each range; on the ground floor are day and work rooms, having airing-yards attached to them. The number of convicts committed, in 1835, was 567. The prison is under the management of a governor. The classification and regulations, both of the gaol and house of correction, are highly conducive to the reformation of the prisoners. Those in the latter establishment are employed in manufacturing their own clothing and other necessary articles of consumption: attached to it is a tread-mill, used for supplying both prisons with water. A sum of £1600 was presented by the Grand Jury, at the last autumn assizes, for an hospital for the use of the prisoners, to be erected on the adjoining ground: it is to extend 100 feet in front, the centre to be two stories high, with wings; the interior is to be divided into six wards, three for each sex. The Female Penitentiary or Convict Depot, occupies the site of the old fort erected in the southern suburb, in the reign of Elizabeth. It is capable of containing 250 inmates, who are brought hither from all parts of Ireland, and remain until the arrival of vessels to convey them to their final place of destination. During their residence here they are employed in needle-work, washing and knitting, so as to supply not only themselves but all the convicts sent out of Ireland with clothing: the number of suits thus made annually is about 1000. The number committed to this prison, in 1835, was 457, of whom 315 were transported to New South Wales. Schools have been established in all the prisons. The hulk is no longer used as a place of confinement.