University College Cork, Co Cork
The University College Cork is an extension of Ireland’s National University system, and it’s located on Western Road in the city centre. It’s a lovely attraction in its own right, with gardens, historical buildings and a few regional claims to fame. The campus is well-shaded, and there is plenty of space for leisurely walks talking in the Gothic Revival architecture.
The highlight of UCC is the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. It’s housed in an arresting structure built of limestone, wood and steel. The gallery displays contemporary art both from Ireland and abroad, and the fact that it is located on a university campus means that it gets plenty of routine visitors throughout the year.
The gallery opened in 2004 and has three storeys’ worth of display area. Upon opening, the building was considered for several architectural awards, including a RIBA Award and the UK Civic Trust Award. Admission to the museum is free, though most visitors make a modest donation – usually something on the order of €5.
The University College Cork collection is comprised of roughly 350 works of art, and these are displayed across campus. The exhibition space in the gallery rotates in and out with temporary displays. Past exhibits have included ‘The Experience of Illness as Art’, ‘Drawing and the Moving Image’ and ‘Globalisation in Contemporary European Video’.
There are several other attractions on the campus that are worth visiting. The Stone Corridor is a collection of stones that have been carved and engraved with the Ogham, a medieval style of Irish writing. Meanwhile, the Crawford Observatory is notable as one of few remaining historical observatories in Ireland (and the only one on a university campus). It was built in 1880, recently underwent an €800,000 restoration project and is now open to the public.