Visiting Cork Public Museum

Cork City

Cork City, Co Cork

Cork’s main museum is located in Fitzgerald Park and offers a comprehensive view into local history and culture. It’s located next to the University College Cork and can easily be visited in the same outing with UCC. This is arguably Cork’s most important attraction, and visitors are welcomed free of charge.

The Georgian building that houses Cork Public Museum was constructed by the Beamish family in 1845. It has served as a museum in one form or another for many years. In the early 1900s, it housed the Cork International Exhibition for a year. After that, the area was named a public park.

The unequivocal highlight of the museum is its archaeological collections. These have been unearthed and excavated in the region, and they shed light on the lives and times of the prehistoric civilisations that once prospered here.

There is also an emphasis on the trades and crafts of cork, particularly as it pertains to Cork silver. Some of the silver on displays dates to the 1700s. There are also exhibits devoted to the Irish struggle for independence, with special focus given to Tomas MacCurtain and Terence MacSwiney, who were the first and second Republican Lord Mayors of Cork. Historical documents and photographs round out these exhibits. 

An extension to the museum was unveiled in 2005. In the same year, Cork was named a European Capital of Culture, a title worthy of state-of-the-art upgrades for the museum. The extension left the museum with substantially more display space, allowing curators to bring volumes of artefacts out of storage and into the public eye.

After visiting the museum, spend some exploring Fitzgerald Park. Grab a bite to eat at Riverview Café or sit on the edge of the pond and admire the swans. The river Lee also passes through the park, and Daly’s Bridge (a pedestrian bridge) crosses to Sundays Well Road.  

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