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County Cork ( ) is one of the traditional counties of Ireland. It is located within the province of Munster, and was named after the city of Corkmarker ( ). The southernmost of the Irish counties, it is also the largest, covering an area of just under 7,500 square kilometres.

Cork is nicknamed "The Rebel County", as a result of the support of the townsmen of Corkmarker in 1491 for Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the throne of England during the Wars of the Roses. In more recent times, the name has referred to the prominent role Cork played in the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) and its position as an anti-treaty stronghold during the Irish Civil War (1922-23).


Much of what is now county Cork was once part of the Kingdom of Deas Mumhan (South Munster), anglicised as "Desmond", ruled by the MacCarthy Mór dynasty. After the Norman Invasion in the 12th century, the McCarthy clan were pushed westward into what is now West Cork and County Kerrymarker. The north and east of Cork were taken by the Hiberno-Norman Fitzgerald dynasty, who became the Earls of Desmond. Cork City was given an English Royal Charter in 1318 and for many centuries was an outpost for Old English culture. The Fitzgerald Desmond dynasty was destroyed in the Desmond Rebellions of 1569-1573 and 1579-83. Much of county Cork was devastated in the fighting, particularly in the Second Desmond Rebellion. In the aftermath, much of Cork was colonised by English settlers in the Plantation of Munster.

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. The nickname was later applied to the whole county.

In 1601 the decisive Battle of Kinsale took place in County Cork, which was to lead to English domination of Ireland for centuries. Kinsale had been the scene of a landing of Spanish troops to help Irish rebels in the Nine Years War (1594-1603). When this force was defeated, the rebel hopes for victory in the war were all but ended. County Cork was officially created by a division of the older County Desmond in 1606.

In the 19th century, Cork was a centre for the Fenians and for the constitutional nationalism of the Irish Parliamentary Party, from 1910 that of the All-for-Ireland Party. The county was a hotbed of guerrilla activity during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921). Three Cork Brigades of the Irish Republican Army operated in the county and another in the city. Prominent actions included the Kilmichael Ambush in November 1920 and the Crossbarry Ambush in March 1921. The activity of IRA flying columns, such as the one under Tom Barry in west Cork, was popularised in the Ken Loach film The Wind That Shakes The Barley. The centre of Cork city was razed to the ground by the British Black and Tans, in December 1920 as were many other towns and villages around the county.

At this time many Cork residents moved to Liverpool, in England, among them the ancestors of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

During the Irish Civil War (1922-23), most of the IRA units in Cork sided against the Anglo-Irish Treaty. From July to August 1922 they held the city and county as part of the so called Munster Republic. However, Cork was taken by troops of the Irish Free State in August 1922 in the Irish Free State offensive, that included both overland and seaborne attacks. For the remainder of the war, the county saw sporadic guerrilla fighting until the Anti-Treaty side called a ceasefire and dumped their arms in May 1923. Michael Collins, a key figure in the War of Independence, was born near Clonakiltymarker and assassinated during the civil war in Béal na Bláthmarker, both in West Cork.


County Cork has two Gaeltacht areas where the Irish language is the primary medium of everyday speech. These are ( ) in the north of the county, especially the village of ( ) and ( ) an island in the west.


One of many bays in Co.
The South-West region comprising of counties Cork and Kerrymarker contribute 24,877 billion ($39.3 billion USD)(2005 values; 2008 exchange rate) towards the Irish GDP. The harbour area to the immediate east of the city is home to a large number of pharmaceutical and medical companies.


Attractions include the Blarney Stonemarker and Cobhmarker, the port where many Irish emigrants boarded for their voyage to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or the United States and also the last stop of the Titanicmarker, before departing on its fated journey.

West Cork is a popular destination for German, French and Dutch tourists, who visit the small villages and islands including Sherkin Islandmarker, Oileán Chléire or Cape Clear Islandmarker and Dursey Islandmarker. Mizen Headmarker, the "southwesternmost point in Ireland" is also in West Cork, as is Sheep's Headmarker. West Cork is noted for its rugged natural beauty, fine beaches and distinct social atmosphere.


There are several media publications printed and distributed in County Cork. These include publications from Thomas Crosbie Holdings, most notably the The Irish Examiner (formerly the Cork Examiner) and its sister publication, the Evening Echo. Local and regional newspapers include the Carrigdhoun, The Corkman, the Mallow Star, the Douglas Post, and the Southern Star. Cork's largest free newspaper is the Cork News which is delivered weekly across the city and county.

Radio stations available in the county include: Cork's 96FM and dual-franchise C103 (formerly 103FM County Sound), CRY 104.0FM, Red FM, and Life FM.


The highest point in County Cork is Knockboymarker, at 703m. It is on the border with County Kerrymarker and may be accessed from the area known as Priests Leap, near the village of Coomhola.

Suburbs & Towns


County Cork offers habitat to a diversity of flora and fauna. The Hooded Crow, corvus cornix is a common bird, particularly in areas nearer the coast. Due to this bird's ability to (rarely) prey upon small lambs, the gun clubs of Cork County have killed a large number of these birds in modern times.

A collection of the marine algae is housed in the Herbarium of the botany department of the University College Corkmarker.

Parts of the South West coastline are a hotspots for sightings of rare birds, with Cape Clear being a prime location for bird watching, the Island is also home to one of only a few Ganet colonies around Ireland and the UK.

A major attraction to the coastline of Cork is whale watching with sightings of fin whales, basking sharks, pilot whales, minke whales, and other species being frequent.

Septs and families of Cork

Cork was a stronghold for many powerful septs and families of Munster, most of them of Eóganachta or Dáirine (Corcu Loígde) lineage. Common Cork surnames are , Ahern, Buckleymarker, Coffey, Collins, Condon, Cotter, Cronin, Crowley, Daly/Daley, Dineen/Dinneen, Evans, Flynn, Foley, Golden, Gould, Healey, Healy, Heaphy, Hegarty, Hennessy, Horgan, Hurley, Kennedy, Kelly, Kelleher, Lee, Long, Lyons, MacCarthy, McAuliffe, Murphy, Noonan, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, O'Cronin, O'Connor, O'Donovan, O'Driscoll, O'Keeffe, O'Leary, O'Mahony, O'Riordan, O'Rourke, O'Sullivan, Sheehan and Twomey. Some prevalent Norman-Irish names are Barrett, Barry, Fitzgerald, Griffin, Hyde, Walsh, and White.

Location grid

County Anthem

The song "The banks of my own lovely lee" is the song traditionally associated with the county. It is often heard at GAA fixtures involving the county, and soccer matches involving Cork City.

See also


  2. C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Hooded Crow: Corvus cornix,, ed, N. Stromberg
  3. Cullinane, J.P. 1973 Phycology of the South Coast of Ireland. University College Cork

External links

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