9 Kyle Street – Site History

I’ve been looking up the old maps of Cork’s medieval core area as background research for my Kyle Street house design, and I thought I’d post my copies on here, annotated red to show the position of Kyle street within the context. I’m really interested in the historic centre of Cork and it’s beginnings as a religious enclave and walled town, it leaves traces of urban morphology that remain strong to this day. Kyle Street dates back all the way to the first maps!

Here’s what Cork Past And Present say about them;


The plan of Cork dated 1545 was engraved on a stone by P.J. Klasen from a copy of an ancient sketch in the Tower of London. It was first published in Tuckey’s Cork Remembrancer (Cork, 1837). The original plan has been lost. Some historians doubt that the map is as old as is claimed.

This map was first produced in Pacata Hibernia (London, 1633) but is thought to date from circa 1600. Pacata Hibernia deals with the Elizabethan wars in Ireland.

This map which dates from the period 1585-1600 is in the Hardiman Collection in Trinity College, Dublin. Historians and cartographers regard it as a very accurate representation of Cork at the end of the sixteenth century.

John Speed’s map of Cork in 1610 mistakenly places Shandon Castle (16) to the west of the city. Its correct position was to the north of the city in the present day Shandon area.

John Carty’s map of 1726 has an unusual feature. It has representations of the family coat of arms of those who subscribed to its publication.

This segment of Carty’s map of 1726 was restored by the noted local historian C.J.F. MacCarthy in 1990. 

This map first appeared in Charles Smith’s ‘The ancient and present state of the county and city of Cork’ (Dublin, 1750). It is one of the best eighteenth century maps of the city.

Rocque’s map of 1759 is one of the most detailed maps of Cork city in the eighteenth century. John Rocque, a member of a Huguenot family which emigrated to London from France, was one of the best known mapmakers of the eighteenth century.

This engraving of Cork city, based on a painting (circa 1760) by John Butts, first appeared in Robert Walker’s The City of Cork : How it may be improved’ (Cork, 1883). The waterway to the left of centre now forms part of St Patrick’s Street. The drawbridge spanning the waterway (near present-day Drawbridge Street), when pulled back, allowed ships to travel up the waterway. Masts of ships are visible further up that waterway. When you enlarge the PDF image, you can see Dutch-style gable-fronted houses on what is today Merchant’s Quay and Lavitt’s Quay, reflecting the strong trade between merchants in Cork and Amsterdam at the time.  The belfry of the Church of St Anne, Shandon, is prominent towards the right of the image. The original oil painting by Butts may be seen in the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork.

Connor’s map of 1774 is one of the last maps of Cork city showing the river channel along what was to become St. Patrick’s Street.

William Beauford’s map of 1801 shows that the river channel, which ran along the course of St. Patrick’s Street, completely covered over. The covering of St. Patrick’s Street took place between 1774 and 1789.

Chalmer’s Local Survey of 1832 was drawn by the Ordnance Survey Group in connection with the municipal reforms which were proposed in the eighteen thirties and enacted in 1840.

Chalmer’s Local Survey of 1832 was drawn by the Ordnance Survey Group in connection with the municipal reforms which were proposed in the eighteen thirties and enacted in 1840.

Holt’s map of 1832 is one of the first maps to show Great George’s Street, which was opened in 1824 (and renamed Washington Street in 1918). Before the street could be built, an area of lanes which housed wretched and poverty-stricken people, to the west of St. Patrick’s Street and the Grand Parade, had to be cleared away.

Moore’s map of 1852 produced for the Cork National Exhibition of that year, has an illustration of the Cork Savings Bank, Anglesea Bridge, and the Exhibition Buildings near the margin to the left of centre.

Wilkie’s map of Cork city was commissioned for Wilkie’s Cork city Directory : 1872.

A version of this map was published in Guy’s Guide to the Most Picturesque Tour in Western Europe in 1888. The fuller version above appeared in Guy’s Cork Directory of 1891.

Guy’s 1893 map of Cork city is one of the more detailed of the non-Ordnance Survey maps of the city in the late nineteenth century. The portion of the map tinged red shows the extent of the old walled city.

I think it’s interesting to chart the morphosis of the city through these maps; Lanes become streets or cease to exist, the canals are infilled but the rivers remain, the city grows out beyond its borders, first along the main axis, then east towards the deeper waters. Personally, I find it a shame that so many unique features were scrubbed away over the city’s evolution, but it’s a consolation that these maps still exist, and who knows, maybe one day Cork’s historic individuality could be reinstated through good design and masterplanning.

Next, I’m going to try to find some information on the specific buildings of Kyle Street; who built them and whom they were for, the families who lived there and the business they conducted. If I find something interesting I’ll surely consider it in the design.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: