A Guide to Archaeological & Architectural Heritage Sources in Cork City & County

Cork City Council’s Planning and Development Directorate has recently produced, in association with Cork County Council and the Heritage Council, A Guide to Archaeological and Architectural Heritage Sources in Cork City and County.

This guide has been prepared as an aid to those engaged in research on the heritage of Cork City and County. It is particularly aimed at assisting research, which is undertaken as part of planning proposals, which have the potential to impact upon the architectural and archaeological heritage of Cork.

Cork City Council is committed to promoting and protecting the archaeological and built heritage of Cork City and is delighted to produce this informative and worthwhile bibliography. The Guide was produced as an action of the City and County Heritage Plans.

For further details contact or Ciara Brett, Archaeologist 021-4924705.

Please find below a pdf link to "A Guide to Archaeological and Architectural Heritage Sources in Cork City and County".


A Guide to Archaeological & Architectural Heritage Sources in Cork City & County(2,718KB)

Cork City's Burial Places

Cork City Council's Planning and Development Directorate have recently published Cork City's Burial Places.

This study was prompted by an increase in planning applications in or adjacent to sites of burial grounds.Within the city's urban landscape many sites are buried beneath buildings or may even extend beyond their current boundaries, such as at St. Anne's Shandon and so it was essential that these sites were documented. Fifty-five burial sites were identified ranging from churchyards, churches containing vaults, private burial grounds of religious houses and the military, stray find spots of skeletal remains to large modern cemeteries.

Cork City's Burial Places will enhance our knowledge of the past societies and individuals who developed the city and will allow for a more informative management of burial grounds by those who are shaping our city today.

Cork City Council is committed to promoting and protecting the archaeological heritage of Cork City and is delighted to produce this interesting and worthwhile book. It was funded by the Urban and Village Renewal Scheme and the Heritage Council.

Cork City's Burial Places is available from the Planning and Development Directorate, City Hall.

For further details contact or Ciara Brett, Archaeologist 021-4924705.Cork City's Burial Places

Shandon Street Streetscape Renewal Scheme

The Shandon area is situated outside and to the north of the medieval walled city of Cork. The earliest reference to the name Shandon occurred c. 1223-30 when it was recorded as a borough, separate to the medieval walled city of Cork (Bradley et al. 1985, 87; Bradley and Halpin 1993, 35). The name is derived from the Irish sean dún meaning ‘old fort’, a fortification thought to have been established by Cormac MacCarthaig, King of Desmond c.1130.

Shandon Street can be seen as a northern extension of the historical spine of the city. Cartographic sources show a gradual development of the northern suburbs of the city in the present day Shandon area. The earliest evidence for this development was at the southern end of present day Shandon Street, near to the North Gate bridge entrance to the medieval city.

A culvert was identified during monitoring of subsurface works in Shandon Street and was of late 18th /early 19th century date. The culvert was fully recorded and partially removed.

The entrance stairways to four burial vaults (18th and 19th century) were partially revealed during archaeological monitoring of Bob and Joan Walk. The brick entrances to the vaults were recorded and photographed. No further disturbance occurred. The vaults were not entered into and the burials were not disturbed. The entrance to the vaults were covered and protected with metal sheeting and the area was then paved over.

Grand Parade Streetscape Renewal Scheme
The Grand Parade is a north-south oriented thoroughfare which links St. Patrick’s Street to the South Mall. The Grand Parade Streetscape Renewal Project extends southwards from the junction of Grand Parade and Washington Street to the junction of Grand Parade and the South Mall.

The Grand Parade is situated outside and to the east of the medieval walled city of Cork. This area was formally a river channel which separated the medieval walled city of Cork from the marshland to the east. The Grand Parade did not acquire its name until the end of the 18th century. Prior to then it was known as Sráid na Capaill Buidhe or Street of the Yellow Horse after an equestrian statue of King George II which was erected in the 1760’s near Tuckey’s Bridge. The gradual development of the Grand Parade area in the mid-18th century represents a movement in the axis of the city to outside the confines of its medieval walls.

The features revealed during the archaeological monitoring were associated with the 18th century culverting and reclamation of this area of the city. These included a section of quay wall on the South Mall.

The cast-iron bollard, situated at the junction of Tuckey Street and the Grand Parade, stylistically represents the inverted barrel of a cannon. During monitoring it was retained in situ and incorporated into the Grand Parade Streetscape Renewal Scheme.T The button, cascabel, and base ring are clearly visible at the top of the bollard. The cannon vent is also evident. No evidence of military insignia survives. The cannon's trunnion, consisting of two cylinders of solid metal projecting from each side and designed to support the gun in place on a gun carriage, is immediately below the present ground level. A total length of 1.9m of the cannon was exposed.

Cork City Walls Management Plan

Cork City Council, working in partnership with the Heritage Council through the Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN), commissioned consultants, the Department of Archaeology, University College Cork and Maurice F. Hurley, to prepare a Management Plan for the Medieval City Wall. The preparation and implementation of the plan is an action of the Cork City Heritage Plan 2007-2012.

Cork City Council, identified a need for improved awareness of the importance of the medieval city wall amongst the public and particularly in relation to informing future development in the historic core. The Management Plan provides an outline of the cultural significance of the city wall and includes a gazetteer of the upstanding and excavated lengths of wall in the city. A variety of mechanisms for the enhancement of the significance of the city wall are also recommended in this publication.
It is envisaged that this Management Plan will inform and be of use to practitioners in both the public and private sectors; Cork City Council Officials, State Departments (DoEHLG and OPW) and other heritage bodies (Heritage Council and organisations such as IWTN), planning consultants, engineers, architects, archaeologists, property owners, developers as well as the general public.

It is hoped that this publication will give the reader an understanding of the importance of the city wall in forming the city that we have today but also in shaping its future development.

Cork City Walls Management Plan

Restoration of the Huguenot Cemetery, Carey’s Lane
The graveyard was in a very neglected and ruinous condition for many years prior to the commencement of the restoration works.

Planning permission was granted for alterations to part of the existing site for use as a staircase. The reminder of the site was acquired by Cork City Council and a that a commemorative area was designed. The restored graveyard was officially opened in March 2008.

Features found during archaeological excavation of the site.
Remains of a crypt
The remains of a crypt of random rubble construction with the interior lined with brick were found during the archaeological excavation of the site. The above ground structure, which presumably covered the crypt, did not survive and neither did any evidence of in situ burials within the chamber. The crypt had been disturbed by several modern pipes.
Lead Coffin
A lead-lined coffin lead-lined coffin was revealed. The coffin was aligned north-south and was in situ although it appeared to have been slightly disturbed and exposed in the past. It measured 2.04m long, 0.55m wide (maximum) and was approximately 0.4m deep at the edges but was sagging in the middle presumably from the weight of the overlying soil (Plate 11). Traces of oxidised wood and iron rivets surrounded the coffin in places suggesting the lead was the inner lining of a timber and/or leather coffin. A copper alloy name-plate was present on the top of the coffin  A number of tree roots had lifted this name plate from the surface of the coffin and it had been fractured in several places. No text was visible on the plate which remains in situ with the coffin.
The coffin was not removed from the site but was retained in situ and protected.
(information supplied by Lane Purcell Archaeology, Archaeological Consultancy)

A limited hand excavation of the proposed location of the foundation for the staircase has been agreed with the City Archaeologist. An archaeological consultancy has been retained to undertake this work which will commence next week. The foundation plan for the staircase has been designed to reduce the amount of ground disturbance required. Archaeological supervision of all ground works associated with the restoration of the graveyard will also be undertaken. The two surviving ex-situ headstones will be removed temporarily, for safe keeping, from the site while the construction and restoration works are taking place.

The Huguenot Cemetery is one of only two surviving examples in Europe and dates to the early 18th century. The former burial ground is of considerable archaeological, historical, social and cultural significance. Cork City Council is committed to protecting and managing this heritage in a meaningful and sustainable way.

Irish Walled Towns Network
Cork City Council became a member of the Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN) in 2006. This Network was established by the Heritage Council, to unite and co-ordinate the strategic efforts of local authorities involved in the management, conservation and enhancement of historic walled towns. The Irish Walled Towns Network seeks to ensure that Ireland’s unique cultural and archaeological heritage in relation to its walled and fortified towns and cities is protected and managed in a sustainable and appropriate manner in the long-term. The IWTN is also formally linked to the International Walled Towns Friendship Circle whose members include Chester in England and Dubrovnik in Croatia.

As part of National Heritage Week 2006, Sunday 27th August 2006 was designated Irish Walled Towns Day. On this day the IWTN celebrated the unique history, archaeology and culture of Ireland’s fortified towns. As part of the festivities of Irish Walled Towns Day, all members of the IWTN agreed to a ‘ringing of church bells’. A ‘ringing of the bells ceremony’ took place at St. Anne’s Church, Shandon. The ceremony was attended by Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr. Catherine Clancy and Councillor Donal J. Counihan. The Irish Walled Towns Network Flags also flew outside City Hall during Irish Walled Towns Day.

Irish Walled Towns Day
On this day members of the Irish Walled Towns Network (IWTN) celebrate the unique history, archaeology and culture of Ireland’s fortified towns. As part of National Heritage Week 2009, on Sunday 23rd August Cork City Council celebrated the history of the city with a Medieval Day Celebration in Bishop Lucey Park.
In order to imagine what the medieval city would have been like it is hoped that a visual activity such as the Medieval Day will clearly imprint the medieval city in people’s minds. Cork City is a walled town since the thirteenth century when it was fortified by the Anglo-Normans. There were fortified gates at the present North and South Gate Bridges and a marine gate and central channel which would have allowed access to ships and boats. The city wall was largely demolished in the eighteenth century to make way for the rapidly expanding town. However as evidenced by many archaeological excavations in the city, the below ground level preservation of the city wall is unique and this stems from Cork’s location in an estuarine marsh.
This day of celebration included historical medieval re-enactments, displays of medieval weaponry and armour, textiles and everyday items. Children’s activities included combat using foam swords and lances. Legion Ireland, a re-enactment group, were engaged by City Council to incorporate historical re-enactments as a means of promoting and celebrating the medieval city.

Cork Main Drainage Scheme
The Cork Main Drainage Scheme was one of the largest infrastructural projects ever undertaken in Ireland. A team of Cork City Council archaeologists worked alongside engineers and construction crews, taking advantage of this rare opportunity to dig deep into the city’s past. The Scheme involved intense and intrusive construction work. With access to the deepest trenches ever excavated in the city, archaeologists had a rare opportunity to discover hidden details of the city’s development. Archaeological monitoring and excavation was an integral part of the Main Drainage Scheme from the outset and the construction of new sewers and associated works throughout the city resulted in the discovery of numerous hitherto unknown archaeological sites.
Within the historic core of the city, more sections of the medieval city wall were uncovered. The excavations reinforced the belief that unseen beneath the city streets, Cork has a more complete circuit of walls than any other Irish city or town. One of the most interesting discoveries was the 13th century foundation of the original Queen’s Castle, on Castle Street. The main features uncovered were the remains of domestic and commercial buildings, roads, culverts, layers of refuse and evidence of reclamation and timber buildings. Analysis of the pottery has given evidence of Cork's trade links with south-west England, Germany and south-west France. The evidence from the excavations will also be of use in updating guidelines for the treatment of development in the historic core of the city. In 2002 excavations in Washington Street revealed a Viking type house dated to circa 1120. The house stood on a clay floor platform surrounded by a wooden revetment dated to 1104 AD.

Some Recent Presentations


Presentation Title



April 2006

The Archaeology of Cork City

Lifelong Learning Festival, VEC


November 2007

Archaeological Excavation at Crosses Green

St. Maries of the Isle Primary School


May 2008

Archaeology and Cork City Council

Staff Presentation City Hall


February 2009

Archaeology and Cork City Council

DM Planners, City Hall


March 2009

The Burial Grounds of Cork City

South Parish Historical Society


April 2009

The Changing Face of Cork

Viking and Medieval Cork -the Origins of a City. UCC


April 2009

Cork ’s Hidden Past: evidence from archaeological excavations in Cork City

Cork Revealed Series, City Library


June 2009

Life in Early and Medieval Cork

Cork Revealed Series, City Library


July 2009

Archaeology and Cork City Council

Chinese Pu Dong Delegation, City Hall


July 2009

Cork City Public Realm and Streetscape

Serving People-Preserving People



August 2009

Cork ’s Medieval City Wall

Cork Revealed Series, City Library


August 2009

Churches and Burial Grounds in Cork City

Cork Revealed Series, City Library


October 2009

Archaeology of Cork City

St. Maries of the Isle Primary School


November 2009

Cork City ’s Burial Places

IAI Annual Conference, Cork


December 2009

Cork City ’s Burial Places

Cork Genealogical Society, Wilton


January 2010

Archaeology and the Local Authority

Trainer Day Event



March 2010

Recent Excavations at Crosses Green

Meitheal Mara, Crosses Green


March 2010

Churches and burial Grounds in Cork City

Blarney and District Historical Society