Grand Parade Street Walking Tour (Self Guided), Cork

Grand Parade Street is one of the most famous and widest streets in Cork. The west side of Grand Parade is the old city wall built by Cork's earliest residents. In recent years the street has undergone major reconstruction, but its main attractions have stayed almost unchanged. Check this guide to the Grand Parade places worth visiting.
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Grand Parade Street Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Grand Parade Street Walking Tour
Guide Location: Ireland » Cork (See other walking tours in Cork)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles
Author: naomi
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Queen's Old Castle
  • Capitol Cineplex
  • English Market
  • Bishop Lucey Park
  • Berwick Fountain
  • National Monument
  • Cork City Club
  • Nano Nagle Bridge
Queen's Old Castle

1) Queen's Old Castle

Contrary to its name, Queen’s Old Castle is actually a departmental store. What is interesting to know, is that it actually stands on the site of the King’s Castle, a fortress designed to protect the port of Cork. Historical records state that the site was known as the King’s Castle from 1206 to 1835. In 1835, William Fitzgibbon, developed the site into a departmental store and named it Queen’s Castle, perhaps in honor of Queen Victoria.

Queen’s Castle continued serving people of Cork as a department store until 1978 when it was closed for refurbishment. It reopened in 1980, as Queen’s Old Castle Shopping Centre with 37 shops and restaurants, which made it very popular until the recession hit markets in 1990 and closed down many shops. The site had an interior revamp in 1997 and opened as an outlet for Argos and Virgin Music Megastore around the January of 1998. Having seen owners like Brown Thomas Ltd and Primark, visitors like Joe McCarthy and Roy Keane, and also the burning of Cork in the 1920s, Queen’s Old Castle has quite a history to tell its current day visitors.

Standing on Grand Parade, this architectural beauty has twenty eight Corinthian columns which are twenty-six feet high and a Greek Doric break front. This site has been a Castle, a jail, a courthouse, then a department store and even a shopping centre, and is definitely to be visited if you are in Cork.
Capitol Cineplex

2) Capitol Cineplex

While taking a walk down Grand Parade Street a very popular site one can encounter is the Capitol Cinema. Opened on 5 April 1947, the cinema was the second theatre to be opened just after the Ritz in Cork. Having a capacity of seating almost 1,300 guests, with about a quarter of it being in the balcony, the Capitol Cinema was quite large for its time. Inaugurated by Rev. T O’Keeffe, the Capitol Cinema did quite well in its days and was and still is very popular amongst Corkonians.

Before the Capitol Cinema was built, on the same site stood the Grant’s Furniture and Clothes shop which was functioning since the mid-1860s, but was destroyed in the fire of 1942. Later Capitol and Allied Cinemas bought the site and constructed the Capitol cinema.

After its establishment in 1947 the Capitol Cinema went through a series of refurbishments in 1974 and 1989, after which Capitol Cinema reopened with six cinemas making it the first Multiplex of its time outside Dublin. With different sized cinema halls ranging from a 120 to 470 seats, the Capitol back then, was one of a kind.

After 58 years of glorious cinema and a lifetime of entertainment, the Capitol Cinema had its final screenings to the public on the 1st of December 2005. But even today Capitol cinema stands as a landmark and a part of the history of modern day Cork.
English Market

3) English Market (must see)

The English Market (Irish: 'Sean-Mhargadh na Sacsan'), or properly Princes Street Market, is a municipal food market in the centre of Cork, Ireland. The market is well supported locally and has in itself become a tourist attraction in the city centre.

The term 'English Market' was coined to distinguish the market from the nearby St. Peter's Market (now the site of the Bodega on Cornmarket Street), which was known as the 'Irish Market'. There has been a market on the present site since 1788 but the present group of buildings was constructed in the mid-19th century with the ornamental entrance at Princes Street being constructed in 1862 by Sir John Benson.

The market is best known for its daily caught fresh fish, and butchers and sources much of the food served in the city's top restaurants. It is a source of local specialties such as Drisheen, spiced beef, and buttered eggs.

Why You Should Visit:
Clean and charming old-fashioned market with a wide choice of top quality Irish food.
Ideal for local self-catering, but also for some quick sampling.

Visit early and ask the vendors for menu and cooking tips!
The restaurant upstairs is very nice and fairly well priced.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-6pm; closed on Sundays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bishop Lucey Park

4) Bishop Lucey Park

If you fancy long walks in the park where you are surrounded by peace, tranquillity and nature then Bishop Lucey Park is a must visit. One of the few green areas in the city, the park is popular among locals and visitors. Not only is it noteworthy because of it greenery and beauty but the Bishop Lucey Park is also archeologically and historically very significant.

The Bishop Lucey Park was opened in celebration of Cork’s completion of 800 years of being awarded a city status. The park was named after Bishop Cornelius Lucey who served as the bishop of Cork for more than 30 years.

The entrance of the park is adorned with an archway which was the same that led to the City Corn Market on Anglesea Street. This entrance was specially reassembled to place as the entrance of the park. Other interesting features in the park include the Bronze fountain and The Onion Seller. The Bronze fountain designed by John Behan (1938) comprises of eight beautiful swans that celebrate the 800 years to Cork’s establishment. The Onion Seller, cast in bronze is a monument to the women working at the Coal Quay open market.

The Park is also a huge reservoir of historical and archaeological wealth. During the development of the park in 1984 archaeologist stumbled onto a stone wall that was believed to be the remains of the Hopewell Castle, one of the defence towers of the city. at the same timel, shards of Pottery from Normandy and other regions that dated back to the 17th century were also excavated. These now reside in the Cork Public Museum.
Berwick Fountain

5) Berwick Fountain

The city of Cork is filled with structures that are architectural delights and have a stories that run back well in the history of the city. One such structure is the Berwick Fountain that stands ornately on the Grand Parade Street in Cork. Built in 1860, the fountain was designed by Sir John Benson and named after Sergeant Walter Berwick, the Chairman of the Quarter Session court, who came to the city in 1847. The fountain was formally presented to John Arnott, the Mayor of the city of Cork on the 1st of January 1862 by Berwick himself.

As the story goes, Judge Berwick was very popular amongst Corkonians and the people of the county. Already established in the hearts of the locals, he became much more popular and venerated on joining the bankruptcy court. Warmed by the affection and gratitude he received from the people of the city, he presented this ornamental fountain as a token of his appreciation.

The fountain stands close to the former site of the statue of King George II. Although regarded as a symbol of gratitude and beauty in the city, the Berwick fountain has had its share of problems as well. In the nineteenth century, the water supply in the city was frequently interrupted rendering the fountain filthy and unfit for display. It was only after Berwick voiced his anguish about the state of the fountain that serious measures were taken to improve the situation, after which it was presented to the Mayor in 1862.

Today, the Berwick Fountain is a common landmark in Cork where people meet up.
National Monument

6) National Monument

Bearing a stark resemblance to the Holy Trinity Church is the National Monument that stands statuesquely on the Grand Parade Street. Unveiled in 1906, the monument stands as a tribute to all the great Irish patriots and martyrs involved in the revolts of 1798, 1803, 1848 and 1867.

The foundation stone for the monument was laid on 2nd of October 1898 by the Mayor of Cork, Patrick Meade. The monument was chosen to be erected at the junction of Grand Parade and South Mall that was previously occupied by the statue of George II. Despite the foundation stone being in place since 1898, it was only 4 years hence that the building started taking shape. Fundraising for the monument proved very difficult and the locals were regarded as disrespectful and indifferent towards the country’s patriots and independence struggles.

Nevertheless in 1902, the job of designing the monument was given to the famous architect, D.J Coakley and John Francis Davis was asked to sculpt the figurines on the monument.

The design of this monument is early Irish Gothic styled. It is adorned with statues of Wolfe Tone, Michael Dwyers, Davis and O’Neill Crowley at the four corners of the monument and in the center, under the canopy is the eight feet high statue of Erin.
Cork City Club

7) Cork City Club

Located on the Grand Parade, the Cork City Club is one of the most beautiful buildings on the street. With its ornate architecture, the pure white structure stands on the south west corner of Grand Parade and adds to the beauty and grandeur to the street.

The Cork City Club was erected at the same site where the Post Office once stood in the mid eighteenth century. By 1800, the Post Office moved to Caroline Street and the Daly’s club was erected. The Daly’s club was then, known for its handsome interior and facilities like a billiards room, cards room, reading room etc.

During the nineteenth century there was a growing popularity for Gentlemen’s clubs and the period saw the emergence of three of the kind in Cork.

In 1860 two clubs, namely the Daly’s and the grand parade club merged to form the Cork City Club. The previous structure underwent a serious renovation and the new building that presently stands as the Cork City Club took form under the leadership and design of Sir John Benson and Robert Walker.

Post 1952 the building was used by several other organization like the Legion in the diocese of Cork, the ICC bank and later the Bank of Scotland.

With its presence this immaculate structure, he Cork City Club truly is one of its kind the city of Cork.
Nano Nagle Bridge

8) Nano Nagle Bridge (must see)

Built over the River Lee, the Nano Nagle Bridge connects the Grand Parade Street and Sullivan's Quay. The bridge was built as one of the many structures to mark the 800th anniversary of Cork being given the status of a city. Located in one of the city's most scenic parts, the bridge adds an artistic appeal to the area. This beautiful bridge took about 7 months to complete and like many other structures in Cork, the Nano Nagle Bridge too has a story that comes with it.

The Nano Nagle Bridge is named after Honora Nano Nagle, the founder of the 'Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary' (PBVM), in Ireland. Born in 1718, Honora was one of the greatest women in Ireland. Despite being born in a strict Protestant English era, the Nagle family stayed rooted in their Catholic faith. The English were so determined to wipe out the Irish Catholic Identity that education was only offered to those who would first convert to Protestantism. The English efforts to eradicate the Catholic faith led to a period of poverty, distress and misery in Ireland.

The family moved to France for Nagle’s education. On completing her education, Nagle returned to Ireland and dedicated her life to help and educate the poor. Having done a lot for the downtrodden and poor she is looked up at by the people all over the world.

Why You Should Visit:
Perfect as a scenic shortcut from O'Sullivan's Quay to Grand Parade.
You get a good view of St. Fin Barre's Cathedral up the river, too.

The bridge will lead you to the Nano Nagle Centre set on a 32 acre certified organic farm.
There is a nice Farmers Market on site run by the nuns, open every second Saturday morning from 10:30am to 1pm.

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