Cannon bollard


Cannon bollard 


 Cannon and Ml O'Leary
Cannon in newly paved Grand Parade  Local Historian Michael O'Leary
pointing to the cannon's ignition vent
One of the most familiar pieces of street furniture in Cork is the old cast-iron cannon gun protruding vertically from the pavement outside Bishop Lucey Park on the corner of the Grand Parade and Tuckey Street.  Local historian Michael O’Leary surmised that the cannon might have served as a bollard against cart wheels when the pavement was narrow.  He also observed that much of the outer coating of the exposed sides of the cannon had been worn away, down to 30mm (12”) above the pavement on one side, with the wear marks sloping down and around on the opposite side to 18mm (7”) above the pavement.  This would be consistent with the action of ship hawsers on the cannon if it were used as a mooring post for boats, possibly at a busier location such as a quay in St Patrick’s Street before the water channels were filled in.  A third possibility suggested by Mr O’Leary was that the cannon may have been intended as a street ornament when it was placed in its current location.  As recent as 2009, the cannon has been used to secure one end of a skipping rope as youngsters played on the refurbished Grand Parade. 

The cannon now protrudes about 1,100 mm (43.25”) above the pavement, with a maximum circumference of about 1,440 mm (56.5”).  It is similar to a Shaker cannon dating from the sixteenth century held in Collins Barracks Museum, Cork.  Tom Spalding in his book Cork City: a field guide to its street furniture suggests that the cannon may be the oldest piece of free-standing street furniture in Cork.

 Cannon trunnions

Photograph by Ciara Brett


Edited from report by Cork City Council Archaeologist Ciara Brett

A cast-iron bollard, situated at the junction of Tuckey Street and the Grand Parade, stylistically represents the inverted barrel of a cannon.  During the 2006/7 survey, it was retained in situ and incorporated into the Grand Parade Streetscape Renewal Scheme.  The surface paving around the cannon was reduced as part of the scheme. The button, cascabel, and base ring are clearly visible at the top of the bollard. The cannon vent is also evident.  No evidence of military insignia survives.  The cannon's trunnion, consisting of two cylinders of solid metal projecting from each side and designed to support the gun in place on a gun carriage, is immediately below the present ground level.  During the survey, a substantial length of the cannon chase or barrel was not exposed due to the minimum amount of ground work required in this location.  The cannon remained stable throughout the ground disturbance and did not require additional reinforcement in the new scheme.  A total length of 1.9m of the cannon was exposed.  The trunnion was 1.3m from the tip of the button and was 0.6m wide with a diameter of 0.15m.



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