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CORK

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 160 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CORK, a city, county of a city, parliamentary and municipal borough and seaport of Co. Cork, Ireland, at the head of the magnificent inlet of Cork Harbour, on the river Lee, 1652 m. S.W. of Dublin by the Great Southern & Western railway. Pop. (1901) 76,122. Until the middle of the 19th century it ranked second only to Dublin, but is now surpassed by Belfast in commercial importance. It is the centre of a considerable English Miles Contours nt ioteruals of 100 feet T 478 Based on information embodied from the Ordnance Survey, by permission of the Controller of H. M. Stationery Office. designed by Sir Thomas Deane, occupies a beautiful site on the river in the west of the city, where Gill Abbey, of the 7th century, formerly stood. It is a fine building in Tudor Style, " worthy," said Macaulay, "to stand in the High Street of Oxford." A large library, museum and well-furnished laboratory are here. The Crawford School of Science (1885); and the Munster Dairy and Agricultural School, 1 m. west of the city, also claim notice; while besides parochial and industrial schools several of the religious orders located here devote themselves to education. The Cork library (founded 1790) contains a valuable collection of books. The Royal Cork Institution (1807), in addition to an extensive library and a rare collection of Oriental MSS., possesses a valuable collection of minerals, and the collections of casts from the antique presented by the pope to George IV. There are numerous literary and scientific societies, including the Cork Cuvierian and Archaeological Society. The principal clubs are the County and the Southern in South Mall, and the City in Grand Parade; while for sport there are the Cork Golf Club, Little Island, three rowing clubs, and the Royal Munster and Royal Cork Yacht clubs, the latter located at Queenstown. The theatres are the opera-house in Nelson's Place, and the Theatre Royal. The country neighbouring to Cork is highly attractive. The harbour, with the ceaseless activity of shipping, its calm waters, sheltered by many islands, and its well-wooded shores studded with pleasant watering-places, affords a series of charming views, apart from its claim to be considered one of the finest natural harbours in the kingdom. Military depots occupy several of the smaller islets, and three batteries guard the entry. This is about i m. wide, but within the width increases to 3 m. while the length is about 10 m. The Atlantic port of Queenstown (q.v.) is on Great Island at the head of the outer harbour. Tivoli (the residence of Sir Walter Raleigh), Fort William, Lota Park, and Blackrock Castle are notable features on the shore; and Passage, Blackrock, Glenbrook and Monkstown are watersideresorts. Inland from Cork runs the picturesque valley of the Lee, and low hills surround the commanding situation of the port. The harbour is by far the most important on the south coast of Ireland, and dredging operations render the quays approach-able for vessels drawing 20 ft. at all states of the tide. Its trade is mainly with Bristol and the ports of South Wales. The imports, exceeding £1,000,000 in annual value; include large quantities of wheat and maize, while the exports (about L9000 annually) are chiefly of cattle, provisions, butter and fish. The Cork Butter Exchange, where classification of the various qualities is carried out by branding under the inspection of experts, was important in the early part of the 17th century, and an unbroken series of accounts dates from 1769 when the present market was founded. There are distilleries, breweries, tanneries and iron foundries in the city; and manufactures of woollen and leather goods, tweeds, friezes, gloves and chemical manure. Nearly six-sevenths of the population are Roman Catholics. The city does not share with the county the rapid decrease of population. It is governed by a lord mayor, 14 aldermen and 42 councillors. The parliamentary borough returns two members. The original site of Cork seems to have been in the vicinity of the Protestant cathedral; St Finbar's ecclesiastical foundation attracting many students and votaries. In the 9th century the town was frequently pillaged by the Northmen. According to the Annals of the Four Masters a fleet burned Cork in 820; in 846 the Danes appear to have been in possession of the town, for a force was collected to demolish their fortress; and in 1012 Cork again fell in flames. The Danes then appear to have founded the new city on the banks of the Lee as a trading centre. It was anciently surrounded with a wall, an order for the reparation of which is found so late as 1748 in the city council books (which date from 161o). Submission and homage were made to Henry II. on his arrival in 1172, and subsequently the English held the town for a long period against the Irish, by constant and careful watch. Cork showed favour to Perkin Warbeck in 1492, and its mayor was hanged in consequence. In 1649 it surrendered to Cromwell, and in 1689 to the earl of Marlborough after five days' siege, when Henry, duke of Grafton, wasmortallywounded. • Cork was a borough by prescription, and successive charters were granted to it from the reign of Henry II. onward. By a charter of Edward IV. the lord mayor of Corkwascreatedadmiral of the port, and this office is manifested in a triennial ceremony in which the mayor throws a dart over the harbour. See C. Smith, Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork (I75o), edited by R. Day and W. A. Copinger (Cork, 1893) C. B. Gibson, History of the City and County of Cork (London, 1861); M. F. Cusack, History of the City and County of Cork, 1895.
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