The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Cork (Ireland)
CORK. I. The southernmost county of Ireland, in the province of Munster, bounded N. by the county Limerick, E. by Waterford and Tipperary, S. by St. George's channel, and W. by Kerry; area, 2,873 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 516,046 (in 1841, 773,398). The W. part is hilly, the N. and E. remarkably fertile. The county is larger and has more arable land than any other in Ireland. It is watered by the Lee, Blackwater, Bandon, and smaller streams, none of which are here navigable to any great distance. The coast is broken by fine bays and inlets, affording excellent anchorage, and there are several islands belonging to this county. Iron, copper, and coal mines, manganese, fullers' earth, brick clay, and limestone exist. The iron mines are no longer worked, but those of copper at Allahies, in the extreme west, are the richest in Ireland. The climate is mild but moist. Agriculture, except near the seacoast, in the E. portions of the basins of the Blackwater and Lee, and in the neighborhood of the great lines of communication, is carried on with little skill. The staples are potatoes, oats, wheat, and dairy produce. Fisheries are extensively prosecuted. The chief trade is in provisions, and almost the only manufactures are whiskey and porter. The county is divided for judicial purposes into the East and West ridings. II. A city and river port, capital of the above county and a county in itself, at the head of the estuary of the Lee, 136 m. S. W. of Dublin; pop. in 1871, 78,382, or including the parliamentary boundary, 97,887. It is the third city of Ireland in importance and population, Dublin and Belfast alone ranking before it. On the land side it is encompassed by hills of no great height, and by suburbs inhabited by an extremely poor population. It is lighted with gas and well supplied with water. The central part occupies half of an island in the river, connected with the mainland by bridges, the whole number of which within the city limits is nine. The principal streets are on the S. side of the Lee, and both channels are lined with quays almost throughout the extent of the city. Above the city the river banks for several miles are occupied by fine villas and pleasure grounds. The most prominent public buildings are the court houses, jails, house of correction, female penitentiary, convict depot, lunatic asylums, two infirmaries, the bank of Ireland, savings bank, chamber of commerce, county club house, and custom house. It is the seat of an Episcopal and of a Roman Catholic bishop. There are seven Episcopal churches, including the cathedral, a plain edifice, mostly of modern erection, and the church of St. Anne's, Shandon, with a stone tower 120 ft. high, and a fine peal of bells. The Episcopal church has also two chapels of ease. The Roman Catholics have four parochial churches, and the dissenters five places of worship. There are five monasteries and four nunneries, with a chapel attached to each. Near the city is a cemetery after the plan of Père la Chaise, and to the west of this is a fine promenade a mile long, called the Mardyke. A tract of 240 acres has been reclaimed from the river and laid out as a park, where are held annual races which are largely attended. The most important literary and scientific institutions are: Queen's college, opened in 1849; the royal Cork institution, incorporated in 1807 with a view mainly to the advancement of agriculture; the Cork library society; the mechanics' institute; agricultural, horticultural, and Cuvierian societies; and an art union. The charitable foundations include a house of industry for 1,200 paupers, a fever hospital, a Magdalen and two lying-in asylums, a foundling hospital, &c. There are two theatres, and barracks for infantry and cavalry. There are a weekly and four daily newspapers. The manufactures embrace glass, iron, and iron ships and machinery, gloves, leather, flour, and malt and distilled liquors. The harbor, to which the city owes all its importance, is famous for capacity and safety, and is divided into upper and lower. The latter, 11 m. below the city, 3 m. long, 2 m. broad, and completely landlocked, is entered by a channel 2 m. long and 1 m. wide, defended by two forts. In it are several islands, on one of which is Queenstown, formerly called the Cove of Cork, and on others are powder magazines, artillery barracks, ordnance depots, &c. The inner harbor extends 5 m. below the city. During the last 25 years great improvements have been made by the harbor board; the old quays have been replaced by substantial quays of cut stone; more than £300,000 have been expended upon improvements connected with the river; and the corporation has erected at a cost of £25,000 two fine bridges, the one finished in 1861, the other in 1864. A flourishing trade is carried on, the imports consisting chiefly of timber, and the exports of grain, live stock, provisions, and linen. The foreign and colonial commerce is chiefly with the Baltic, the Mediterranean, Portugal, and Canada. The registered shipping of the port in 1869 was 306 sailing vessels of 27,554 tons, and 45 steamers of 9,915 tons; the entrances in 1858 were 324 vessels, with cargoes or in ballast, of 114,460 tons; clearances, 110 vessels of 28,089 tons. The declared value of exports in 1868 was £160,202; the amount of customs duties received, £349,945. The harbor dues in 1871 amounted to £27,738. Four railways radiate from Cork, viz.: the Great Southern and Western, the Cork and Bandon, the Cork and Youghal, and the Cork, Blackrock, and Passage. The city is governed by a mayor, 14 aldermen, and 42 councillors. — The walls of Cork were built by the Danes in the 9th century, and its name, derived from the Irish corroch or corcagh, a swamp, was given to it in allusion to the original character of its site. It was colonized and garrisoned by the English in 1172. In 1620 it was counted the fourth city in Ireland, ranking then below Dublin, Waterford, and Limerick, and above Belfast. In 1690, being held for James II., it was besieged by the duke of Marlborough with a force of 10,000 foot and 1,200 horse, against which it held out but a few days.