Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Conversion, Proverbs 21, Luke 8:19-21, St Finbar, Saint Fin Barre's and St Mary's Cathedral, Cork Ireland

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Conversion, Proverbs 21, Luke 8:19-21, St Finbar, Saint Fin Barre's and St Mary's Cathedral, Cork Ireland

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week! 

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  conversion  con·ver·sion  [kuhn-vur-zhuhn]

Origin:  1300–50; Middle English conversio ( u ) n  (< Anglo-French ) < Latin conversiōn-  (stem of conversiō ) a complete change. See converse2 , -ion

1. the act or process of converting; state of being converted.
2. change in character, form, or function.
3. spiritual change from sinfulness to righteousness.
4. change from one religion, political belief, viewpoint, etc., to another.
5. a change of attitude, emotion, or viewpoint from one of indifference, disbelief, or antagonism to one of acceptance, faith, or enthusiastic support, especially such a change in a person's religion.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13

1 Like flowing water is a king's heart in Yahweh's hand; he directs it wherever he pleases.
2 All actions are straight in the doer's own eyes, but it is Yahweh who weighs hearts.
3 To do what is upright and just is more pleasing to Yahweh than sacrifice.
4 Haughty eye, proud heart, lamp of the wicked, nothing but sin.
5 The hardworking is thoughtful, and all is gain; too much haste, and all that comes of it is want.
6 To make a fortune with the help of a lying tongue: such is the idle fantasy of those who look for death.
10 If you lose heart when things go wrong, your strength is not worth much.
11 Save those being dragged towards death, but can you rescue those on their way to execution?
12 If you say, 'But look, we did not know,' will the Weigher of the heart pay no attention? Will not the Guardian of your soul be aware and repay you as your deeds deserve?
13 Eat honey, my child, since it is good; honey that drips from the comb is sweet to the taste:


Today's Gospel Reading - Gospel Reading - Luke 8:19-21

Jesus’ mother and his brothers came looking for him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd.
He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you.’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’

• The Gospel today presents the episode in which the relatives of Jesus and also his Mother want to speak with him, but Jesus does not pay attention to them. Jesus had problems with his family. Sometimes the family helps one to live the Gospel and to participate in the community. Other times, the family prevents this. This is what happened to Jesus and this is what happens to us.

• Luke 8, 19-20: The family looks for Jesus. The relatives reach the house where Jesus was staying. Probably, they had come from Nazareth. From there to Capernaum the distance is about 40 kilometres. His Mother was with them. Probably, they did not enter because there were many people, but they sent somebody to tell him: “Your Mother and your brothers are outside and want to see you”. According to the Gospel of Mark, the relatives do not want to see Jesus, they want to take him back home (Mk 3, 32). They thought that Jesus had lost his head (Mk 3, 21). Probably, they were afraid, because according to what history says, the Romans watched very closely all that he did, in one way or other, with the people (cf. Ac 5, 36-39). In Nazareth, up on the mountains he would have been safer than in Capernaum.

• Luke 8, 21: The response of Jesus. The reaction of Jesus is clear: “My mother and my brothers are those who listen to the Word of God and put it into practice”. In Mark the reaction of Jesus is more concrete. Mark says: Looking around at those who were sitting there he said: “Look, my mother and my brothers! Anyone who does the will of God, he is my brother, sister and mother (Mk 3, 34-35). Jesus extends his family! He does not permit the family to draw him away from the mission: neither the family (Jn 7, 3-6), nor Peter (Mk 8, 33), nor the disciples (Mk 1, 36-38), nor Herod (Lk 13, 32), nor anybody else (Jn 10, 18).

• It is the Word of God which creates a new family around Jesus: “My mother and my brothers are those who listen to the Word of God, and put it into practice.” A good commentary on this episode is what the Gospel of John says in the Prologue: “He was in the world that had come into being through him and the world did not recognize him. He came to his own and his own people did not accept him”. But to those who did accept him he gave them power to become children of God: to those who believed in his name, who were born not from human stock or human desire, or human will, but from God himself. And the Word became flesh, he lived among us; and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1, 10-14). The family, the relatives, do not understand Jesus (Jn 7, 3-5; Mk 3, 21), they do not form part of the new family. Only those who receive the Word, that is, who believe in Jesus, form part of the new family. These are born of God and form part of God’s Family.

The situation of the family at the time of Jesus. In the time of Jesus, the political social and economic moment or the religious ideology, everything conspired in favour of weakening the central values of the clan, of the community. The concern for the problems of the family prevented persons from being united in the community. Rather, in order that the Kingdom of God could manifest itself anew, in the community life of the people, persons had to go beyond, to pass the narrow limits of the small family and open themselves to the large family, toward the Community. Jesus gives the example. When his own family tried to take hold of him, Jesus reacted and extended the family (Mk 3, 33-35). He created the Community.

The brothers and the sisters of Jesus. The expression “brothers and sisters of Jesus” causes much polemics among Catholics and Protestants. Basing themselves on this and on other texts, the Protestants say that Jesus had more brothers and sisters and that Mary had more sons! The Catholics say that Mary did not have other sons. What should we think about this? In the first place, both positions: that of the Catholics as well as that of the Protestants, start from the arguments drawn from the Bible and from the Traditions of their respective Churches. Because of this, it is not convenient to discuss on this question with only intellectual arguments. Because here it is a question of the convictions that they have and which have to do with faith and sentiments. The intellectual argument alone does not succeed in changing a conviction of the heart! Rather, it irritates and draws away! And even if I do not agree with the opinion of the other person, I must respect it. In the second place, instead of discussing about texts, both we Catholics and the Protestants, we should unite together to fight in defence of life, created by God, a life totally disfigured by poverty, injustice, by the lack of faith. We should recall some phrase of Jesus: “I have come so that they may have life and life in abundance” (Jn 10, 10). “So that all may be one so that the world will believe that it was you who sent me” (Jn 17, 21). “Do not prevent them! Anyone who is not against us is for us” (Mk 9, 39.40).

Personal questions
• Does your family help or make it difficult for you to participate in the Christian community?
• How do you assume your commitment in the Christian community without prejudice for the family or for the community?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Finbar

Feast Day: September 25
Patron Saint:  Cork, Ireland

Saint Finbarr or Finnbarr, in Irish Fionnbarra, very often abbreviated to Barra, (c. 550–25 September 623) was Bishop of Cork and abbot of a monastery in what is now the city of Cork, Ireland. He is patron saint of that city and of the Diocese of Cork.

Born in Templemartin, near Bandon, and originally named Lóchán (modern form, Loan), he was the son of Amergin of Maigh Seóla. He studied in Ossory, corresponding approximately to the present County Kilkenny. He was renamed "Fionnbarra" (Fairhead in Irish), reportedly when, on being tonsured, the presiding cleric remarked: "Is fionn barr (find barr, in the Irish of the time) Lócháin", meaning, "Fair is the crest of Loan"), and he then became known as "Findbarr" ("Fionnbarra" in modern Irish).

On completion of his education he returned home and lived for some time on an island in the small lake then called Loch Irce. The island is now called Gougane Barra (the little rock-fissure of Finnbarr). He is reputed to have built small churches in various other places, including one in in Ballineadig, County Cork, called Cell na Cluaine, anglicized as Cellnaclona and sometimes referred to as Cloyne, causing it to be confused with Cloyne (Cluain Uamha) in east Cork. It was in Cell na Cluaine that, years later, he happened to die.

He settled for about the last seventeen years of his life in the area then known as "an Corcach Mór" (Great Marsh), now the city of Cork, where he gathered around him monks and students. This became an important centre of learning, giving rise to the phrase "Ionad Bairre Sgoil na Mumhan" ("Where Finbarr taught let Munster learn"), chosen for motto by today's University College Cork.

His church and monastery were on a limestone cliff above the River Lee, an area now known as Gill Abbey, after a 12th-century Bishop of Cork, Giolla Aedha Ó Muidhin. It continued to be the site of the cathedral of his diocese. The present building on the site, owned by the Church of Ireland, is called Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral. The people of Cork often refer to it as the South Cathedral, distinguishing it from the North Cathedral, the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne.

Finnbarr died at Cell na Cluaine, while returning from a visit to Gougane Barra. He was buried in the cemetery attached to his church in Cork.


  • Andrew MacEarlean, "St. Finbarr" in Catholic Encyclopedia 1909
  • P. Cahalane, "Saint Finnbarr, Founder of the Diocese of Cork" in The Fold, July and August 1953
  • Patrick Duffy, "St Finbarr (560-610) patron of the diocese of Cork"


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


Today's Snippet I:  Saint Fin Barre's  and St Marys Cathedral

Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral, (Irish: Ardeaglais Naomh Fionnbarra) is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland in Cork city, Ireland. It is in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin. Begun in 1863, the cathedral was the first major work of the Victorian architect William Burges. Previously the cathedral of the Diocese of Cork, it is now one of three cathedrals in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.

History and Architecture

The competition for the building of St Fin Barre's was held in 1862. In February 1863, Burges was declared the winner. His diary records his delight; "Got Cork!", whilst the cathedral accounts record the payment of the winning prize sum of £100. Building work took seven years before Divine Service was held in the catherdral in 1870. Building, carving and decoration continued into the 20th century, long after Burges's death in 1881.

The style of the building is Early French, Burges's favoured period and a style he continued to favour throughout his life, choosing it for his own home, The Tower House, in Kensington. The stipulated price for construction was to be £15,000, a sum vastly exceeded. The total cost came to well over £100,000. Burges was unconcerned; his own words, in his letter of January 1877 to the Bishop of Cork, sum up his approach, a viewpoint which made him a very expensive architect to employ: "(In the future) the whole affair will be on its trial and, the elements of time and cost being forgotten, the result only will be looked at. The great questions will then be, first, is this work beautiful and, secondly, have those to whom it was entrusted, done it with all their heart and all their ability."

As was usual, Burges oversaw all aspects of the design, including the architecture of the building, the extensive statuary, the stained glass and the internal decoration. The result is "undoubtedly Burges's greatest work in ecclesiastical architecture" with an interior that is "overwhelming and intoxicating. To enter St. Fin Barre's Cathedral is an experience unparalled in Ireland and rarely matched anywhere." 

The organ

The Organ was built in 1870 by William Hill of London, with 3 manuals and 40 stops. The action on the Great was some form of pneumatic action (possibly Barker lever) on the Great, and tracker for the other two manuals. The instrument was then overhauled in 1889 by the Cork Organ-building firm, T.W. Megahy, who added three new stops, though it is not entirely clear which these were. It was at this time that the Organ was moved from the West Gallery down to a Pit in the North Transept, where it still sits today. The next major overhaul of the instrument was in 1906 by Hele & Co. of Plymouth, who added a fourth Manual (the Solo). By this stage, the action of the organ was entirely pneumatic.

The last time major work was done to the organ was in 1965-66, when J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd of London rebuilt the instrument. They overhauled the soundboards, installed a new console with electropneumatic action, and lowered the pitch to 'standard' C = 523./3. The organ now has 4 manuals, 56 stops, and 3012 pipes.

The Cathedral of Saint Mary and Saint Anne (also known as Cork Cathedral, Saint Mary's Cathedral, North Cathedral or The North Chapel) is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Cork, Ireland. It is the seat of the Bishop of Cork and Ross, and the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cork and Ross.

History and Architecture

The cathedral was dedicated in 1808, but was extensively damaged by an act of arson in 1820. George Richard Pain undertook the restoration of the cathedral. In 1964 the sanctuary of the cathedral was extended, and a sanctuary tower was built. As well as this, the internal layout of the cathedral was reorganised.

The most recent large-scale works were undertaken at the cathedral in 1996. The tower and sanctuary were renovated and refurbished, the roof was re-slated and the gothic ceiling was repaired. External stonework of the cathedral was also repointed. The cathedral closed for the duration of the works.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cork and Ross (Irish: Deoise Chorcaí agus an Rois) is a Roman Catholic diocese in southern Ireland. It is one of six suffragan dioceses in the ecclesiastical province of Cashel (also known as Munster) and is subject to the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. The diocese is in the secular province of Munster. The diocese was formed by an ex aequo principaliter union on 19 April 1958, between the Dioceses of Cork and Ross. The incumbent Ordinary is the Most Rev. Dr. John Buckley. The Diocese has been split into 16 Pastoral Areas as prompted under the 2005 document Pilgrim Steps. It has two Vicars General. They are respectively: Monsignor Kevin O'Callaghan and Fr. Aidan O'Driscoll. The Diocesan Secretary and Vocations Director is Fr. Tom Deenihan. Bishop Buckley will have to retire in November, 2014: his 75th birthday. Rumours are circulating regarding the diocesan boundary changes with all predicting a possible realignment of the boundaries of the diocese of Cork and Ross via an amalgamtion with the diocese of Cloyne, or Kerry, or both


  • David Lawrence and Ann Wilson, The Cathedral of Saint Fin Barre at Cork: William Burges in Ireland 2006, Four Courts Press


Today's Snippet II :  Cork, Ireland

Patrick Street,  Cork 1890
Cork (Irish: Corcaigh, pronounced [ˈkoɾkɪɟ], from corcach, meaning "marsh") is a city in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. With a population of 119,230, it is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the third most populous city on the island of Ireland.

The city is built on the River Lee which divides into two channels at the western end of the city. The city centre is located on the island created by the channels. At the eastern end of the city centre where the channels re-converge, quays and docks along the river banks lead to Lough Mahon and Cork Harbour, which is one of the world's largest natural harbours.

The city's cognomen of "the rebel city" originates in its support for the Yorkist cause during the War of the Roses. Corkonians often refer to the city as "the real capital" in reference to the city's role as the centre of anti-treaty forces during the Irish Civil War.


Cork has it beginnings in monastic settlement, founded by St Finbar in the sixth century. However the ancestor of the modern city was founded between 915 and 922, when Viking settlers established a trading community. The Viking leader Ottir Iarla is particularly associated with raiding and conquests in the province of Munster. The Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib connects this with the earliest Viking settlement of Cork. The Norse phase of Cork's history left a legacy of family names, such as Cotter and Coppinger, peculiar to Cork which are claimed to have Norse origins. In the twelfth century, this settlement was taken over by invading Anglo-Norman settlers. Cork's city charter was granted by Prince John in 1185. Over the centuries, much of the city was rebuilt, time and again, after numerous fires. The city was at one time fully walled, and several sections and gates remain. The title of Mayor of Cork was established by royal charter in 1318, and the title was changed to Lord Mayor in 1900.

A settler outpost

For much of the Middle Ages, Cork city was an outpost of Old English culture in the midst of a predominantly hostile Gaelic countryside and cut off from the English government in the Pale around Dublin. Neighbouring Gaelic and Hiberno-Norman lords extorted "Black Rent" from the citizens in order to keep them from attacking the city. The Cork municipal government was dominated by about 12-15 merchant families, whose wealth came from overseas trade with continental Europe - in particular the export of wool and hides and the import of salt, iron and wine. Of these families, only the Ronayne family were of Gaelic Irish origin.

The medieval population of Cork was about 2000 people. It suffered a severe blow in 1349 when almost half the townspeople died of bubonic plague when the Black Death arrived in the town. In 1491 Cork played a part in the English Wars of the Roses when Perkin Warbeck a pretender to the English throne, landed in the city and tried to recruit support for a plot to overthrow Henry VII of England. The mayor of Cork and several important citizens went with Warbeck to England but when the rebellion collapsed they were all captured and executed. Cork's nickname of the 'rebel city' originates in these events.

A description of Cork written in 1577 speaks of the city as, "the fourth city of Ireland" that is, "so encumbered with evil neighbours, the Irish outlaws, that they are fayne to watch their gates hourly...they trust not the country adjoining [and only marry within the town] so that the whole city is linked to each other in affinity"

Wars of religion

The character of Cork was changed by the Tudor conquest of Ireland (c.1540-1603) which left the English authorities in control of all of Ireland for the first time, introduced thousands of English settlers in the Plantations of Ireland and significantly, tried to impose the Protestant Reformation on a predominantly Catholic country. Cork suffered from the warfare involved in the reconquest, particularly in the Second Desmond Rebellion in 1579-83, when thousands of rural people fled to the city to avoid the fighting, bringing with them an outbreak of bubonic plague. Cork by and large sided with the Crown in these conflicts, even after a Spanish expeditionary force landed at nearby Kinsale in 1601 during the Nine Years War. However, the price the citizens demanded for their loyalty was toleration of their Roman Catholic religion. In 1603, the citizens of Cork along with Waterford and Limerick rebelled, expelling Protestant ministers, imprisoning English officials, seizing the municipal arsenals and demanding freedom of worship for Catholics. They refused to admit Lord Mountjoy’s English army when it marched south, citing their charters from 12th century. Mountjoy retorted that he would, "cut King John his charter with King James his sword" and arrested the ringleaders, thus ending the revolt. It was an ominous sign for the coming century.

In 1641, Ireland was convulsed by the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Cork became a stronghold for the English Protestants, who sought refuge there after the outbreak of the rebellion and remained in Protestant hands throughout the ensuing Irish Confederate Wars. An ineffective Irish Confederate attempt to take the city in 1642 was beaten off at the battle of Liscarroll. In 1644, Murrough O'Brien, Earl Inchiquinn, the commander of English forces in Cork, expelled the Catholic townsmen from city. Although most of them went no further than the city's suburbs, this was the beginning of Protestant domination of the city that would last for nearly two centuries. The population of Cork by this times was around 5000, most of whom lived outside the city walls.

In 1649-53, Ireland was re-conquered by an English Parliamentarian army under Oliver Cromwell. Inchiquin had briefly led Cork into an alliance with the Confederates, in 1648, but the garrison changed sides again in 1650, going over to English Parliamentarian side under the influence of Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery. In 1690 during the Williamite war in Ireland, Cork was besieged and taken for the Williamites by an English army under John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

18th Century Cork

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries French Protestants (Huguenots) arrived in Cork fleeing from religious persecution at the hands of Louis XIV of France. Their influence can still be seen in the names of the Huguenot Quarter and French Church Street. Many new buildings were erected in Cork in the 18th century. Like Dublin, much of Cork's medieval architecture was replaced by neo-classical Georgian buildings. Examples of this include, Christ Church (1720–26), St Anne’s Shandon (1722–26) and a Customs House (1724). During the 18th century, trade in Cork's port expanded considerably. Cork merchants exported large amounts of butter and beef to Britain, the rest of Europe and North America.

19th Century Cork; emigration and famine

During the early 19th century the population of Cork expanded rapidly. By mid century Cork had a population of about 80,000. The increase was due to migration from the countryside as people fled from poverty and in the 1840s, a terrible famine. This led to extremes of poverty and overcrowding in Cork city during this century. Another effect of this influx was to reverse the denominational character of the city, which became predominantly Catholic again.

However in the later 19th century the population of Cork declined slightly due to emigration, principally to Britain or North America. In 1825, over 1,800 Irish residents departed from Cork to emigrate to Peterborough, Ontario, Canada assisted by Peter Robinson (who organized the scheme on behalf of the British Government). This resulted in the area known as "Scott's Plains" being renamed "Peterborough" as a tribute. Cork and also nearby Cobh became major points of departure for Irish emigrants, who left the country in great numbers after the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s.

During the 19th and early 20th century important industries in Cork included, brewing, distilling, wool and shipbuilding. In addition, there were some municipal improvements such as gas light street lights in 1825, two local papers, the Cork Constitution published from 1823 and the Cork Examiner, first published in 1841 and, very importantly for the development of modern industry, the railway reached Cork in 1849. Also in 1849, University College Cork opened.

Much 19th century architecture can still be seen in many areas around the city such as the neo-Georgian and Victorian buildings that now house Banks and Department stores. The Victorian influence on the city is noticeable in place names such as Victoria Cross (after Queen Victoria), Albert Quay (after Prince Albert), Adelaide Street (after Queen Adelaide) and the Victoria Hospital on the Old Blackrock Rd.

Since the nineteenth century, Cork had been a strongly Irish nationalist city, with widespread support for Irish Home Rule and the Irish Parliamentary Party, but from 1910 stood firmly behind William O'Brien's dissident All-for-Ireland Party. O'Brien published a third local newspaper, the Cork Free Press.

Early 20th Century Cork; WWI, WWII and Civil War

Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914 many of Cork's National Volunteers enlisted to served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers, suffering heavy casualties both in Gallipoli and on the Western Front. In the period 1916-1923, Cork was embroiled in a conflict between radical Irish nationalists and the British state in Ireland. The turmoil of this period ultimately led to substantial Irish independence for 26 of the 32 Irish counties in 1922, but also to a bitter civil war between Irish nationalist factions in 1922-23.

In 1916, during the Easter Rising as many as 1000 Irish Volunteers mobilised in Cork for an armed rebellion against British rule but they dispersed without fighting. However, during the subsequent Irish War of Independence 1919-1921, Cork was the scene of much violence.

In particular, the city suffered from the action of the Black and Tans - a paramilitary police force raised to help the Royal Irish Constabulary combat the Irish Republican Army. On the 20 March 1920, Thomas Mac Curtain, the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork was shot dead, in front of his wife at his home, by Policemen. His successor as Mayor, Terence McSwiney was arrested in August 1920 and died on hunger strike in October of that year. On December 11 the city centre was gutted by fires started by the Black and Tans in reprisal for IRA attacks in the city. Over 300 buildings were destroyed and two suspected IRA men were shot dead in their beds by British forces on the night. This atrocity did not stop IRA activity in the city however. Attacks and reprisals continued in the city until the fighting was ended in a truce agreed in July 1921.

Another, highly disputed aspect of the War of Independence in Cork was the shooting of informers. Historians such as Peter Hart have written that 'enemy' groups such as Protestants and ex-soldiers were targeted at random by the IRA. Gerard Murphy's "Year of the Disappearances, (2010) put the number of Protestants killed in Cork at 73. This thesis is disputed by other scholars such as John Borgonovo, who write that their studies suggest that the IRA's 30 or so confirmed civilian victims in Cork do seem to have been targeted because the IRA believed they were passing information to the British and not for any other reason.

Civil War

The local IRA units, for the most part, did not accept the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiated to end the war -ultimately repudiating the authority of the newly created Irish Free State. After the withdrawal of British troops in early 1922, they took over the military barracks in Cork and the surrounding area. By July 1922, when the Irish Civil War, broke out, Cork was held by anti-Treaty forces as part of a self-styled Munster Republic -intended to be a stronghold for the preservation of the Irish Republic annulled by the Treaty.

Cork however, was taken in August 1922 by the pro-Treaty National Army in an attack from the sea. The Free State forces landed at nearby Passage West with 450 troops and several artillery pieces. There was fighting for three days in the hills around Douglas, in which roughly 20 men were killed and about 60 wounded as the anti-Treaty IRA contested the National Army's adance into the city. However the badly armed anti-Treaty forces did not make a stand in Cork itself and dispersed after sporadic fighting, burning the barracks they had been holding (for example at Elizabeth Fort and Charles Fort).

Subsequently the reverted to guerrilla warfare and took to destroying all the roads and bridges connecting Cork with the rest of the country. Michael Collins, commander in chief of the National Army, was killed in an IRA ambush at Beal na mBlath, west of the city on August 25, 1922.

Guerrilla warfare raged in the surrounding countryside until April 1923, when the Anti-Treaty side called a ceasefire and dumped their arms. There were attacks on Free State troops in the city, but not on the scale of the campaign against British forces in 1919-21.

Late 20th Century Cork

In the post independence period, Cork has been acknowledged as the Republic of Ireland's second city. It has produced many political leaders, notably Jack Lynch - who became Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) in the 1960s. Its citizens half jokingly refer to it as the "real capital".

Cork's inner city slums were cleared by the municipal authority from the 1920s onwards, and their inhabitants were re-housed in housing estates on the periphery of the city -especially on its north side. Many of these new suburbs have since suffered from social deprivation and high crime rates - a pattern repeatedly found in Irish urban development.

Cork's economy dipped in the late 20th century as the old manufacturing industries in Cork declined. The Ford car factory closed in 1984 as did the Dunlop tyre factory. Shipbuilding in Cork also came to an end in the 1980s. As a result of these closures unemployment was high in Cork in the 1980s.

However in the 1990s new industries came to Cork. For instance, Marina Commercial Park was built on the site of the old Dunlop and Ford plants and Cork Airport Business Park first opened in 1999. Cork, like other cities in Ireland has benefited from the Celtic Tiger economic boom and today other industries in Cork include chemicals, brewing, distilling and food processing. Cork is also a busy and important port. Tourism is also an important industry in the city's economic life. In 2005, Cork was the European Capital of Culture.


The Cork School of Music and the Crawford College of Art and Design provide a throughput of new blood, as do the active theatre components of several courses at University College Cork (UCC). Highlights include: Corcadorca Theatre Company, of which Cillian Murphy was a troupe member prior to Hollywood fame; Cork Film Festival, a supporter of the art of the short film; The Institute for Choreography and Dance, a national contemporary dance resource; the Triskel Arts Centre; Cork Jazz Festival; the Cork Academy of Dramatic Art (CADA), and the Graffiti Theatre Company. The Everyman Palace Theatre and the Granary Theatre both play host to dramatic plays throughout the year.

Cork is home to the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, and to many musical acts, including John Spillane, The Frank And Walters, Sultans Of Ping, Simple Kid and the late Rory Gallagher. Singer songwriter Cathal Coughlan and Sean O'Hagan of The High Llamas also hail from Cork. The opera singers Cara O'Sullivan, Mary Hegarty, Brendan Collins, and Sam McElroy are also Cork born. The short story writers Frank O'Connor and Sean O'Faoláin hailed from Cork. Contemporary writers include Thomas McCarthy, Gerry Murphy, and novelist and poet William Wall. There is a thriving literary community centring on The Munster Literature Centre and the Triskel Arts Centre.

The English Market in Cork.
Cork has been gaining cultural diversity for many years as a result of immigration, from Western Europe (particularly France and Spain) in the mid to late nineties, and more recently from Eastern European countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary, etc. and in small amount from various African and Asian nations. This is reflected in the recent growth of multi-cultural restaurants and shops, including specialist shops for East-European or Middle-Eastern food, Chinese and Thai restaurants, French patisseries, Indian buffets, and Middle Eastern kebab houses. Cork saw significant Jewish immigration from Lithuania and Russia in the late 19th century. Jewish citizens such as Gerald Goldberg (several times Lord Mayor), David Marcus (novelist) and Louis Marcus (documentary maker) played important roles in 20th century Cork. Today, the Jewish community is relatively small in population, although the city still has a Jewish quarter and synagogue. Cork also features various Christian churches, as well as a mosque. Some Catholic masses around the city are said in Polish, Filipino, Lithuanian, Romanian and other languages, in addition to the traditional Latin and local Irish and English languages.

Recent additions to the arts infrastructure include modern additions to Cork Opera House and the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery. The new Lewis Glucksman Gallery opened in the Autumn of 2004 at UCC, was nominated for the Stirling Prize in the United Kingdom, and the building of a new €60 million School of Music was completed in September 2007. Construction of the €50 million Brookfield UCC Medical School complex was completed in 2005.

Cork was the European Capital of Culture for 2005, and in 2009 was included in the Lonely Planet's top 10 "Best in Travel 2010". The guide described Cork as being "at the top of its game: sophisticated, vibrant and diverse".

There is a rivalry between Cork and Dublin, similar to the rivalry between London and Manchester, Sydney and Melbourne or Madrid and Barcelona. Corkonians generally view themselves as different to the rest of Ireland, and refer to themselves as "The Rebels"; the county is known as the Rebel County. This distinctly Corkonian view has in recent years manifested itself in humorous references to the region as The People's Republic of Cork. Citizens of the Real Capital can be seen adorning themselves with t-shirts and other items which celebrate The People's Republic of Cork, printed in various languages, including English, Irish, Polish, Spanish and Italian.


The city has many local traditions in food. Traditional Cork foods include crubeens, and tripe and drisheen. Cork's English Market sells locally produced foods, including fresh fish, meats, fruit and vegetables,eggs and artisan cheeses and breads. During certain city festivals food stalls are also sometimes erected on city streets - such as St. Patrick's Street or Grand Parade.


University College Cork
Cork is an important educational centre in Ireland. University College Cork (UCC), a constituent university of the National University of Ireland, offers a wide variety of courses in Arts, Commerce, Engineering, Law, Medicine and Science. The university was named "Irish University of the Year" in 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 by The Sunday Times. Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) was named Irish "Institute of Technology of the Year" in 2006–2007 and offers a variety of third level courses in Computing and IT, Business, Humanities and Engineering (Mechanical, Electronic, Electrical, and Chemical). The National Maritime College of Ireland is also located in Cork and is the only college in Ireland in which Nautical Studies and Marine Engineering can be undertaken. CIT also incorporates the Cork School of Music and Crawford College of Art and Design as constituent schools. The Cork College of Commerce is the largest post-Leaving Certificate College in Ireland and is also the biggest provider of Vocational Preparation and Training courses in the country. Other 3rd level institutions include Griffith College Cork, a private institution, and various other colleges.

Places of Interest

The Angel of the Resurrection, St. Finbarre's Cathedral.
Cork features architecturally notable buildings originating from the Medieval to Modern periods. The only notable remnant of the Medieval era is the Red Abbey. There are two cathedrals in the city; St. Mary's Cathedral and St Finbarre's Cathedral. St Mary's Cathedral, often referred to as the North Cathedral is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the city and was built in 1808.Its distinctive tower was added in the 1860s. St Finbarre's Cathedral serves the Protestant faith and is possibly the more famous of the two. It is built on the foundations of an earlier cathedral. Work began in 1862 and ended in 1879 under the direction of architect 

St. Patrick's Street, the main street of the city which was remodelled in the mid 2000s, is known for the architecture of the buildings along its pedestrian-friendly route and is the main shopping thoroughfare. The reason for its curved shape is that it originally was a channel of the River Lee that was built over on arches. The General Post Office, with its limestone façade, is one of the most prominent buildings on the street and the focal point of much pedestrian activity. The original building on this site, the Theatre Royal was built in 1760 and burned down in 1840. The English circus proprietor Pablo Fanque, who enjoyed fame again in the 20th Century when The Beatles referenced him in a song, rebuilt an amphitheatre on this spot in 1850, which was subsequently transformed into a theatre and then into the present General Post Office in 1877. The adjacent Grand Parade is a tree-lined avenue, home to offices, shops and financial institutions. The old financial centre is the South Mall, with several banks whose interior derive from the 19th century, such as the Allied Irish Bank's which was once an exchange.

Many of the city's buildings are in the Georgian style, although there are a number of examples of modern landmark structures, such as County Hall tower, which was, at one time the tallest building in Ireland until being superseded by another Cork City building: The Elysian. Across the river from County Hall is Ireland's longest building; built in Victorian times, Our Lady's Psychiatric Hospital has now been renovated and converted into a residential housing complex called Atkins Hall, after its architect William Atkins.

Cork's most famous building is the church tower of Shandon, which dominates the North side of the city. It is widely regarded as the symbol of the city. The North and East sides are faced in red sandstone, and the West and South sides are clad in the predominant stone of the region, white limestone. At the top sits a weather vane in the shape of an eleven-foot salmon.

City Hall, another notable building of limestone, replaced the previous one which was destroyed by the Black and Tans during the War of Independence in an event known as the "Burning of Cork". The cost of this new building was provided by the UK Government in the 1930s as a gesture of reconciliation.

Other notable places include Elizabeth Fort, the Cork Opera House, St Mary's Dominican Church, Popes Quay and Fitzgerald's Park to the west of the city. Other popular tourist attractions include the grounds of University College Cork, through which the River Lee flows, The Women's Gaol at Sundays Well (now a heritage centre) and the English Market. This covered market traces its origins back to 1610, and the present building dates from 1786.

Up until April 2009, there were also two large commercial breweries in the city. The Beamish and Crawford on South Main Street closed in April 2009 and transferred production to the Murphy's brewery in Lady's Well. This brewery also produces Heineken for the Irish market. There is also the Franciscan Well brewery, serving the local market with a variety of lagers, ales and stouts. In May 2008 it was awarded as the "Best Microbrewery in Ireland" by Food and Wine Magazine.


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