Cork in the snow

People clearing the snow from the pavement on Academy Street.

People clearing the snow from the pavement on Academy Street in 1947, the harshest winter in modern times in Ireland.

People on a snowy street, probably in the middle of fighting with snowballs in front of a parked car while a cyclist looks at the camera

People enjoying the snow on Grand Parade in 1947. Looks like they’re in the middle of a snowball fight!

Photos found on Echo Live.

Children’s Race at The Majorca Ballroom

Joe Healy shared a wonderful photo of a family festival at the Majorca Ballroom in Crosshaven in 1985. The ballroom closed a few years later.

Fast-forward to September 2005 when I was in Crosshaven and took a few photos of the building. It suffered fire damage in 2004 and was demolished in late 2005, so it was very lucky that it was still standing when I photographed it.

I found a photo inside the Ballroom on this Facebook page. The Ballroom was a huge part of the social life of Cork since it opened in 1963 until the last dance in 1991.

Construction of the Michael Collins Bridge

A partly constructed bridge in the foreground, with five trawlers just behind it. The River Lee runs under the bridge

Joe Healy shared this image of a partly constructed Michael Collins Bridge in late 1983. Trawlers are lined up behind it, and you’ll recognise some of the buildings in the background. That part of the quay has been completely changed in recent years with the addition of office blocks going up in the area.

Repairs to the Douglas Viaduct during the Irish Civil War

I found the colourised photo above on the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway Facebook group and, curious to see if there are more, I went searching for more information.

I found the next two photos dated on 21st April 1923 on here and here. Both photos carried this caption.

Glass plate negative showing soldiers from the Railway Protection, Repair and Maintenance Corps repairing the Douglas Viaduct in Cork that was damaged during the Civil War. For more information see An tOglach Vol 1 No 5 (new Series) 21st April 1923.

Railway Protection, Repair and Maintenance Corps, Salvage Corps (1922-1924)

With that, I went searching again and found that issue of An tOglach. Every issue is available on this page where you can download a PDF for offline viewing. It’s a great resource! Here’s a portion of that article. Grab the PDF to read more.


While I was talking to Major-General Russell, in his office in Griffith Barracks, on a sunny Saturday morning about a fortnight ago, we heard the unmistakable sound of a land mine exploding somewhere in the city.

Later we learned that an empty carriage on the D. & S. E. line had been blown to smithereens. That was all.

But even little affairs of that kind have been becoming very rare for some time past, thanks to the vigilance, splendid organisation, and unceasing activity of the Railway Protection, Repair and Maintenance Corps of which Major-General Russell is the O/C.

A glance at one of the maps in his office showing the mileage of railways on which normal, or almost normal, services are being conducted at the moment is the most striking illustration of the wonderful work which bas been accomplished. The mileage temporarily out of action is very small, and it is growing smaller by degrees and beautifully less.

Things looked very bad for the general public in the early days of the war against the railways. Practically all the lines were closed at one period, cities and towns were cut off from the outside world, and thousands of railway workers were forced to eat the bread of idleness and were not always sure of getting any bread at all to eat. In Clonmel, for example, at one time the people were practically starving.

This sort of thing made for the development of a bad spirit in certain sections of the community, and traces of Bolshevism began to appear in erstwhile respectable circles.

So the Commander-in-Chief issued a mandate. All the bridges that had been blown up or otherwise wrecked would have to be repaired forthwith and communications re-opened.

The immediate result was the formation of the Railway Corps under the full style and title given above.

Then the wheels began to move again. General Russell had been Director of Civil Aviation before the” trouble” started last year, and was an officer of considerable experience, with a remarkable faculty for getting things done and getting them done 10 the most businesslike manner.

Under his forceful and systematic methods the Railway Corps attained a high degree of efficiency in a very short space of time. A very happy thought at the outset was to enlist the Idle railway men. The staffs of a big railway system are subject to probably more discipline than any other civilian organisation, and the railwaymen made ideal soldiers, I am told.

The first success was the reopening of the section of the line be tween Thurles and Clonmel. Fighting was almost continuous at the time and some idea of what the Railway Corps was up against may be gathered from the fact that they repaired one bridge alone as often as sixteen times.

The next step was the inauguration of the blockhouse system. This proved an immediate success, and, with one or two exceptions, no enemy incident of any importance has happened in the area covered by the blockhouses.

When they reopened the line between Thurles and Clonmel they had a number of coal trains ready to go through to the districts that had been beleaguered, but on the morning fixed for the departure of these relief trains they found that the line had been torn up again and carried some distance into the fields at the aide of the miscalled permanent way.

The men of the Railway Corps grinned, and, as the trains went along, collected the rails from the landscape, relaid them swiftly and surely, and arrived in Clonmel not so many hours later than the original schedule.

For the purpose of holding that little stretch between Thurles and CIonmel it was found necessary to establish blockhouses at all important bridges, signal cabins and stations.

In the beginning, however, on this and other sections, the Corps had great difficulty in maintaining communications between the blockhouses. Amongst other matters that hindered there were a number of bridges broken that required a considerable time to repair. It was necessary to get some sort of a light vehicle for the purpose of conveying rations and keeping in touch.

They solved the difficulty by mounting an ordinary Lancia car on the flanged wheels of an ordinary railway carriage!

A photograph of this novel car appears herewith.
It will be noticed that it has been found necessary to camouflage it with a futuristic design in many colours.

From the headquarters at Thurles the Corps grew and extended its activities.

At the present time there are Commands at the following places: Claremorris, Mullingar, Drogheda, Dublin City, Dublin County, Clonmel, Thurles, Limerick, and Cork.

And they are just putting out a new Command to be known as the Killarney Command.

The Commands are known by the H.Q. of the Command-that is to say, they do not in every case have the same H.Q. as the Infantry Command.

A Commandant is in charge of the internal organisation of every Command. Each Company in a Command is in charge of a Captain, and each post in the groups of post is comprised either by a lieutenant or a second lieutenant. The officers themselves live in the blockhouses on the line.

The Corps H.Q. was transferred to Griffith Barracks on the 12th January last. Before that they were using Baldonnel Aerodrome as a training centre.

Every man of the Corps was recruited by the original members of the staff, and they have trained close upon 5,000 men. Of course, as the lines were reopened it became necessary to demobilise a large number of men back to the railway services. That has been going on for some time, but the places of the demobilised men have been all filled by newcomers.

The present system of protecting the railways may be stated in order thus: First, Blockhouse; second, Lancia cars on the track; third, armoured trains; fourth, patrols between the blockhouses.

In particularly bad sections trains are piloted through. The railway companies’ traffic is controlled at present from the H.Q. of the Corp. At Griffith Barrack they know every train that is running, and arrange their plans accordingly. The companies, in fact, prepare their service time tables in consultation with the Corps.

Combating the War of Destruction – How the Railway Services were Maintained – The Blockhouse System – The Patrols. – Feats of Bridge-repairing. An tOglach Volume 1 No 5 (new Series) 21 April 1923.

Empty kegs float on by on Patrick Street

Empty kegs float on by on Patrick Street

A flooded St. Patrick Street, Cork, in 1972. Empty kegs of beer/stout float in the water outside AIB and just down the road from the Munster Arcade, where Penneys is today.

I don’t know who coloured the photo, but it came from The Examiner archives, and was scanned by Joe Healy from a glass plate.

Lavitt’s Quay Cycle Park

The cycle park on Lavitt’s Quay, some time in the 1930s. Long before multi storey car parks were a thing the people of Cork would park their bikes inside. The old Opera House can be seen in the background.

I would happily pay a fee to park my bike in town and know it was safe.

Via James who also has some adverts of other cycle parks from the time.

The Bridges of Cork City

Parnell Bridge and South Mall
An aerial view of Cork city centre including Parnell Bridge and South Mall in 1952.

An ariel view of the city centre in 1952, found here where you will find lots more photos of the bridges of Cork City.

Construction of Brian Boru Bridge, Cork in 1911 .
A view of St Mary’s and Shandon from Patrick’s bridge – 1932.
The old Parnell Bridge and an almost deserted Parnell Place pictured from Cork City Hall in March 1953.
Heavy traffic on St. Patrick’s Bridge, Cork /08/08/1936.
View of Cork’s River Lee and Parnell Bridge with the old city hall on the left of picture circa 1917.
Train running between Kent station and Albert Quay station in Cork crosses Brian Boru bridge in 1976.
Demolition of the old North Gate Bridge, Cork.
The Bailey Bridge, North Mall Cork. July 14th 1977.
Newly reconstructed North Gate Bridge, 1961

View of River Lee, Parnell Bridge and Cork City Hall 23/12/1935.
North Gate Bridge 1961.
Official opening of Daly’s Bridge, Sunday’s Well, Cork 09/04/1927.

The Cork Examiner Offices on Academy Street

The Cork Examiner Offices on Academy Street

Academy Street, Cork in 1961, looking towards St. Patrick’s Street. From “Who We Are”.

There’s so much to see here:

  • Cork Examiner Office.
  • People going upstairs to The Green Door restaurant.
  • The Travel Agent (still there!)
  • The Victoria Hotel on Patrick Street in the background.
  • Parked cars, but there’s a horse and trap too.