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Historical Landmarks

Historical Landmarks

Shandon Bells

Located in the historic Shandon area of Cork city, just 1 minute walk from the hotel, the Church of St Anne in Shandon rises high above Cork city by 37 metres. Its steeple can be seen from all parts of the city. Shandon’s 8 bells weigh over 6 tonnes and were constructed by the Rudhalls of Gloucester. The bells were originally placed in a fixed position, so as to minimize the vibrations and first rang in 1752 for a local wedding.

The Shandon Bells are commemorated in the song ‘The Bells of Shandon’, written by Francis Sylvester Mahony, a local man under the pen name of “Father Prout”. There’s a clock on the tower, locally known as the “Four Faced Liar”. Each face tells a slightly different time during the hour, this is due to different thickness of wood used in the clock facing, hence some hands sticking. However, at the hour mark you’ll see that all of the hands come together to tell the correct time at each clock face.

As a visitor to the church can now ring the bells yourself on the first floor. Various artefacts are also on display during the tour. These include the christening font from the previous church, and also 17th century song books from the local library.

Cork City Gaol

Cork City Gaol and Heritage center is located just 2km from the City centre, in Sunday’s Well, and provides a fascinating insight into prison life and Cork’s history.  Cork City Gaol magnificent castle-like building is now a major and unique visitor attraction, this Gaol once housed 19th century prisoners. Visitors get a fascinating insight into day-to-day prison life at a time when the high walls ensured no escape and denied law-abiding citizens the opportunity to see one of the finest examples of Ireland’s architectural heritage.

Open 7 days a week, all year round, they provide audio tours in ten different languages, as well as guided tours of this amazing facility. A working jail for over 100 years (closed 1923) the jail is now a heritage centre and is hugely popular for Cork tourists.

Stepping inside visitors are taken back in time to the 19th century. The atmosphere suggests you are accompanied by the shuffling feet of inmates, each representing their particular period in Irish history from pre-famine times to the foundation of the State. The cells are furnished with amazingly life-like wax figures; original graffiti on cell walls tell the innermost feelings of some inmates while a very spectacular audio visual tells the social history and contrasting lifestyles of 19th century Cork. This exhibition fascinates visitors of all ages and nationalities and the tour is available in up to 13 languages.

The Gaol is on the Cork City Bus tour, but is just a short walk from the city centre.  Its haunting atmosphere and fascinating history makes the jail a must visit during your time in Cork.

St. Fin Barre's Cathedral Cork

Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral is situated in the centre of Cork City, less than 20 minutes’ walk from the hotel. Designed by William Burges and consecrated in 1870, the Cathedral lies on a site where Christian worship has been offered since the seventh century.

The Cathedral is visited by tens of thousands of people from all over the world each year. Their tour guides are always on hand to provide you with a tailor-made tour of the cathedral. Whatever time or information you need, they will do their best to meet your timetable and knowledge needs.

The Cathedral Gift Shop is open during visitor opening times and stocks a wide range of items, some unique to the Cathedral, some of wider regional and national interest. All profits are used to maintain the Cathedral and keep it open to tourist and pilgrim alike.

Blackrock Observatory

Blackrock Castle Observatory is a 16th century Castle located 4km from the heart of Cork city on the banks of the river Lee. It was built by the citizens of Cork as a watch tower and fort to guard the river entrance against pirates and other invaders. Blackrock Castle was a valuable defence as Cork was a city of trade and needed to assure ships of a safe haven. In an exciting collaboration between Cork City Council and the Cork Institute of Technology, Blackrock Castle was re – opened to the public in August 2007 as Blackrock Castle Observatory, the Space for Science. It has won the ‘Award for Outstanding Achievement’ from TEA, the world association for themed attractions.

Blackrock Castle Observatory is home to Cosmos at the Castle, Cork’s fun and exciting location to learn about the Universe. Cosmos at the Castle is an award winning exhibition highlighting recent discoveries of extreme life forms on Earth and their implications for life in outer space. The Universe is at your fingertips on this interactive self-guiding experience. The exhibit is open by special arrangement for groups of 15 or more after hours. First Fridays at the Castle is a monthly open night with workshops, lectures, the Cork Science Café, stargazing and of course Cosmos at the Castle from 6-10pm and is free for all visitors.