Cork: Origins of a City

A series of illustrated public talks in January and February 2018
Organized by: St. Peters Cork and Department of Archaeology, University College Cork
Venue: St Peter’s Church, North Main Street, Cork. Admission free / no registration.
Talks start at 5pm on the following Tuesdays.

16th January.  William O’Brien ‘A prehistory of Cork’
There has been a continuous human presence in the Cork region over the past 10,000 years. Most of this long period belongs to prehistory, the time before written records, which ended more or less with the arrival of Christian literacy from the fifth century AD. This talk reviews the archaeology of prehistoric people in the county of Cork, looking at their settlements and monuments, material culture and economy, social relations and religious beliefs.
William O’Brien is Professor of Archaeology in University College Cork

23rd January. Tomas Ó Carragáin ‘What might St Finbarr’s monastery have looked like?’
Long before the Vikings arrived, St Finbarr’s monastery was one of the most important settlements in early medieval Munster, but little evidence survives for its layout, appearance or scale. Using parallels from Ireland and abroad, this talk considers the sorts of buildings that might have stood at the site and the sorts of activities that might have taken place there. Through analogy, and a little imagination, the talk aims to give the audience a better understanding of this important but elusive phase in the city’s development.
Tomas Ó Carragáin is a lecturer in Archaeology in University College Cork.

30th January.  Maurice Hurley ‘The ‘origins and early development of Cork City’
Cork owe its urban origins to the influence of the Vikings; whereby seafaring Scandinavian people were instrumental in transferring influence from Britain and the Western European seaboard to Ireland. The earliest urban settlement in Ireland (Dublin) dates to the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. Settlement of undisputed urban character are archaeologically proven in Cork and Waterford by the mid eleventh century. The archaeological evidence stands in contrast to our traditional interpretation of historical sources which place the founding of the Viking ports in the early tenth century.
Maurice Hurley is a consultant archaeologist in private practice based in Cork.

6th February.  Rose Cleary ‘Archaeological excavations at South Main Street’
The Department of Archaeology, UCC, has been involved in Cork City Archaeology for over 40 years, beginning in 1974 with excavations at Skiddy’s Castle, North Main Street, and in the more recent past on the former site of Sir Henry’s Nightclub on South Main St. The lecture on February 6th takes a look back at some of these excavations and will focus on the results from the 2004–5 excavation of the Sir Henry’s site.
Rose Cleary is a lecturer in Archaeology in University College Cork.

13th February.   Clare McCutcheon ‘Pottery and trade connections in Medieval Cork’
Pottery recovered from excavations conducted by the Department of Archaeology, UCC, the City Council, and commercial archaeology illuminate the trade connections between Cork, Britain and the Continent, and provide a bridge between the medieval and post-medieval periods. This talk will highlight some of the exciting, unusual, as well as standard items.
Clare McCutcheon is a researcher of medieval and post-medieval pottery from Irish excavations.

20th February.  Colin Rynne ‘The early industrial heritage of Cork city’
From 1991–93 the speaker was Director of the Royal Irish Academy’s Industrial Archaeological Survey of Cork City and its Environs, which was published in 1999. In this talk he re-examines some of the main findings of this survey, in the light of recent evidence, and evaluates how the city has come to appreciate its industrial heritage over the last 25 years.
Colin Rynne is a senior lecturer in Archaeology in University College Cork.