The Grand Parade is built over a channel of the Lee, like so many of the other streets in the centre of Cork city. The channel, which later became the Grand Parade, is shown in the earliest maps of Cork. In the late 18th century Cork Corporation built culverts to carry the water for some of the channels of the Lee and built the streets over them. The channel had been completely filled in by the late 1780s.
The Grand Parade is the widest street in Cork. Its Irish name, Sráid an Chapaill Bhuí, the Street of the Yellow Horse, refers to the time when a statue of King George II on horseback stood near where the National Monument now stands. The statue was painted a golden yellow colour in 1781. It was knocked from its pedestal 1862 by persons unknown and Cork Corporation removed the entire structure later in 1862.
The former statue of George II near the quayside on Grand Parade
The western side of the Grand Parade was once part of the walls of Cork city.
The Grand Parade has been extensively refurbished in recent years.
Left : Exposed culvert under Grand Parade, towards Daunt’s Square (2005)
Right: Same section of culvert on Grand Parade, looking towards Washington Street (2005)
The Grand Parade and the area behind it to the west are among the most important archaeological sites in Cork. It is near to the earliest sites inhabited by the Hiberno-Norse settlers on the South Island near the South Gate Bridge. Although archaeologists now think that what appears as one island in the 1545 map of Cork may have been a series of small islands separated by narrow channels in Hiberno-Norse times The small channels were filled in over time and by the sixteenth century the area looks like one island. Much of the area has still to be excavated but the excavations that have taken place indicate that the area has been inhabited since at least the twelfth century. Among the items found during the excavations were pottery, textiles, nails, and wooden structures from houses. Many of the finds are on display at Cork Public Museum.
A culvert under the Grand Parade near its junction with Daunt's Square was uncovered during work on the Cork Main Drainage scheme in February 2005
The south-eastern side of the walls of Cork ran along the western side of the present-day Grand Parade. A section of the wall is visible just inside the gates of Bishop Lucey Park. The walls of Cork proved useless against artillery in the siege of Cork in 1690 and were left to fall into disrepair. This encouraged developments in the area outside the walled city and was one of the factors which led to the development of the Grand Parade.
The 1690 map of Cork shows structures on the western side of the Grand Parade while on the eastern side there is a marshy island with a bowling green in the present-day Princes Street area between St Patrick's Street and Oliver Plunkett Street. This marshy island was later known as Dunscombe’s Marsh.
Carty’s map of 1726 shows structures on both sides of the central channel and a bridge across the channel from a site near present-day Tuckey Street to the opposite side. The statue of George II later stood on this bridge very near the site of today's Berwick Fountain. The map also shows a bridge crossing the channel at the northern end of the Grand Parade near present-day Daunt's Square. This was Daunt's Bridge.
The detail from the map shown here is from a version of the map amended by the historian C.J.F. MacCarthy, whose version is clearer than the original.
The configuration on Smith's map of 1750 is very similar to that on Carty's of 1726. In the 1750 map, Daunt's Bridge is clearly marked and on the western side of the Grand Parade there are two named quays: Tuckey's Quay and Post Office Quay. The eighteenth-century post office was possibly near the site of today's Bank of Scotland Ireland bank.
Joseph Connor's map of 1774 shows how the former channel from Daunt's Square to a point just south of the present day Berwick Fountain had been filled in by that date. The western side of the street is named Tuckey's Quay and the eastern side is named The Mall. Lucas's directory of 1787 reveals that the Grand Parade was then a busy, prosperous street with many business premises — including haberdashers, perfumers, grocers, silk merchants, and apothecaries (pharmacists).
Beauford's map of 1801 shows the layout of the Grand Parade much as we know it today. The old river channel has been completely filled in and the street is named the Grand Parade. The dark rectangle in the middle of the street, in the position of the present-day Berwick Fountain, marks the location of the equestrian statue of George II, before the statue was later moved near to the quayside.
See menu at top-left of this page for other features of the Grand Parade.
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