Cork Walks

City Centre Island Walk

A city carries the imprint of the people and events that have shaped it over time. These stories never reveal themselves in a simple line: the old sits beside the new; the new reinterprets the old. A small detail can be as revealing as a large building. The City Centre Island Walk traces how Cork developed following the infilling of a number of river channels that ran between a series of marshy islands. At the heart of the city, the main thoroughfare, St Patrick’s Street, was at one time just such a waterway, as were the Grand Parade and the South Mall. The bridges that span the north and south channels of the River Lee are also a crucial part of Cork’s story. Different types of bridges were built to facilitate shipping and rail services. Each bridge in its own way contributes to the story of the time in which it was built. Fundamental to the city’s economic success was its port and the wealth generated by trade in commodities such as butter and the provisioning of ships for the British navy made Cork one of the most important places in Western Europe during the 19th century. Continuity and renewal are interwoven in the life of a city. We hope that this walk will contribute to the understanding of these processes in the life of this city.