History of Cork

Cork has a rich history and is worth a visit on any Ireland tours.

According to tradition Cork was founded by St Finnbarre in the 7th century and he built an abbey there.

The name Cork comes from the Gaelic Corcaigh , which means marshy place.

For centuries the abbey at Cork flourished and it was famous for learning.

However in 820 the Vikings raided the abbey and the settlement nearby and then created their own town on an island in the River Lee.

In 1172, after the Norman invasion of Ireland , Cork was surrendered to the English king.

Following the English conquest stonewalls were built around Cork.

In 1185 Cork was given its first charter ( a document granting the townspeople certain rights, the same as Limerick ).

During the Middle Ages Cork was a busy port and an important town though less than 2000 people lived there.

Animal hides and woollen cloth were exported from Cork and wine , the drink of the upper class , was imported.

In Cork there were also the same craftsmen you would find in any Medieval town such as blacksmiths, potters and shoemakers.

In the 14th century an Augustinian Abbey was built in Cork. Today all that remains of it is Red Abbey Tower.

In the 13th century the friars came to Cork. Friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world they went out to preach and help the poor.

In Cork there were Dominican friars (known as black friars because of their black costumes) and Franciscan or grey friars (as their costumes were grey).

In 1349 the Black Death came to Cork and it may have killed as many as half the population of the town !!!!
However Cork recovered from the disaster.

In 1491 a man named Perkin Warbeck arrived in Cork. He claimed to be the rightful king of England and in 1492 tried to overthrow Henry VII. The mayor of Cork and several important citizens went with Warbeck to England but when the rebellion collapsed they were all captured and executed.

After the attempted rebellion Cork became known as ‘rebel Cork’.

Why not visit Cork on your tours of Ireland.