The fortunes of Cork City did not improve much during the course of the 1500s. The 16 th century was a remarkably turbulent century, marked by the Desmond rebellion, the impact of the Reformation on Ireland and the beginning of the Elizabethan wars. By the end of the century, the size of the city and its population and its economic circumstances had not materially changed since the end of the 15 th. One visitor described Cork as ‘having but one main street’ and estimated the population to be about 800. At that period the population of Waterford was estimated to be 1,000. While such estimates must always be treated with caution, it is likely that the area and the population of Cork City was not much greater than the area and population in medieval times.