Cork City & County Archives

Cork City CouncilCork County CouncilUniversity College Cork
Funded by Cork City Council, Cork County Council & UCC
Parchment Sample

News and Events

News Archive 2006

Cork City and County Archives Conservation Project Completed

Notice of dress ball and concert in aid of temperance, 1844

The conservation and repair has been completed of a unique record of Cork from the early 19th century. The item is a scrapbook from the Day Papers, which include the papers of Richard Dowden, Mayor of Cork in 1845. Dowden was involved in many organisations of his day, and retained in the scrapbook a wide range of interesting and significant documents, posters, pamphlets, notices, letters, and memorabilia relating to numerous cultural, commercial, religious, philanthropic, educational and political organisations from roughly 1830 to 1850, including Father Mathew's Temperance movement, local theatres and the Borough of Cork.

The largest single item in the Day Papers collection, the scrapbook prior to conservation was too fragile to be used in research and was at risk owing to the ongoing deterioration of the paper, despite good environmental conditions at the Archives.

The conservation process, carried out by Paul Curtis of Muckross House, Killarney, involved separating individual items from the original scrapbook paper, which was of poor quality, cleaning and repairing each item, and installing the items in transparent archival polyester folders which were then bound together as volumes.

The professional conservation and repair of the scrapbook has ensured that the document has been preserved for future generations, and that it is now available again for use in public research, exhibition and for digitisation projects.

New Artworks 'Holdings' unveiled by Lord Mayor Cllr. Michael Ahern

New Artworks 'Holdings' unveiled by Lord Mayor Cllr Michael Ahern
Lord Mayor Cllr. Michael Ahern, Liz Meaney Arts Officer, Stephen Sullivan, Architect, Margaret Fitzgibbon, Artist, Brian McGee, Archivist, Liam Ronayne, City Librarian at Launch of Percent for Arts Project for new Archives Building Blackpool
(Photo by Tony O'Connell).

Holdings, new artworks comprising of a 12 minute film and a permanent installation by the artist Margaret Fitzgibbon were unveiled by Lord Mayor Cllr. Ahern in the new Cork City and County Archives building in Blackpool.

Using the concept of 'Holdings' as a central theme the artist explored with local people their experience of archiving and explored its fundamental value and place in their lives. The artworks created are a direct result of this collaborative process.

The Archives building is strategically situated in a lovely old, historic part of Cork city, Great William O?Brien St., Blackpool. The residential area wraps around this new site, to the rear of the Blackpool Fire Station, a well-known landmark. Using leafleting and meetings with a number of individuals and groups in the community the artist established a group of people who came together to work with her in the development of the work. Those represented in the group are both long established and more recent members of the community, reflecting the diverse make up of the local area.

Funding for the project was made available through the Per Cent for Art Scheme which provide a portion of capital building costs toward the creation of new art. The project was managed by the Arts Office of Cork City Council in collaboration with the Archives and the City and County Libraries.

A graduate of the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork, Margaret Fitzgibbon is a multimedia sculptor who is now based in Dublin and was a founding member of the Cork Artists Collective. Her work has exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally. She has worked extensively in education with a range of different groups.

The resulting film is on display daily in the archives until end of November and the installation is on permanent display.

Official Opening of New Cork City and County Archives Building

The new building for Cork City and County Archives, at Great William O'Brien Street, Blackpool, was officially opened in June 2006 by Lord Mayor Cllr. Deirdre Clune and the City Manager, Mr. Joe Gavin.

Joe Gavin - Official Opening of the Archives
Joe Gavin, City Manager, speaking at the opening ceremony. Photograph by Tony O'Connell.

The building, funded by Cork City Council under the 2005 Capital Programme, is the first stand alone purpose-built Archives in the history of the State. It has air-conditioned strongrooms for preserving archives, a public exhibition space and a large reading room for researchers to consult documents. The building is a major legacy of Cork's year as European Capital of Culture.

Blackpool Historical Society
Cllr. Catherine Clancy and Brian McGee, Archivist, with members of Blackpool Historical Society in the Reading Room of the new Archives building. Photograph by Tony O'Connell.

The opening was well attended by local dignitaries and by members of the Blackpool Historical Society and the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society.

Unveiling of the plaque
At the unveiling of the plaque: Brian McGee, Archivist, Joe Gavin, City Manager, Joe Kennelly, Director of Service, Lord Mayor Cllr. Deirdre Clune, Cllr. Catherine Clancy, Cllr. Mick Barry and Cllr. Damien Wallace. Photograph by Tony O'Connell.

The Lord Mayor and Declan Hassett Open 'Art of Letters' Exhibition at the New Cork City and County Archives Building, Blackpool

Texts, e-mail and blogging are just the latest evolution of the old fashioned letter. Our new exhibition however celebrates pen and paper, and the different styles of writing for business and personal communications. Letters, be they chatty missives between friends and family or routine business correspondence form a major part of all archival collections and along with other records help us create an accurate picture of what life was like in times past.

The 'Art of Letters' exhibition is a joint venture between Cork City and County Archives, and the Archives of UCC. On display are copy and original letters illustrating both the type of information found in archival collections, and also the changing format and style of letters, papers and inks.

Originally no envelope was required and individual pages were folded, franked and secured with sealing wax before being posted. Recipients paid on delivery so often weren't too pleased to see the post arrive! In 1840 Rowland Hill reformed the postal service in Britain and Ireland by introducing postage stamps so that the sender paid for the postage. As the cost of the stamp became based on the weight of the letter enterprising writer often 'criss crossed', that is wrote vertically over the existing horizontal lines to pack in as much news as possible.

Declan Hassett and UCC staff
Declan Hassett with UCC staff at opening of Art of Letters exhibition.

Letters on display include some written by Irish emigrants to the USA, a set of early 17th century letters to the mayor of Youghal, and a letter from Michael Collins from 1920.

The exhibition ‘The Art of Letters’ was opened on the 6th September by the Lord Mayor Cllr. Michael Ahern and the well known journalist and playwright Declan Hassett and is open to the public at the new Cork City and County Archives premises on Great William O’Brien Street, Cork for the month of September. Declan Hassett was a staff journalist with the Examiner for 42 years and is the author of three memoirs for Mercier Press. Declan’s play ‘Sisters’, starring Anna Manahan, opens in New York on this week. His new play, ‘Survivors’, set in Civil War Ireland, opens at the new Cork Arts Theatre at Carroll’s Quay in November.

The exhibition is being run as part of the Society of Archivists annual ‘Archives Awareness Campaign’ in which archival repositories across Ireland mount events to promote public interest in their collections.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m., 2.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.

For further information please contact: Brian McGee, Archivist, Cork City and County Archives Tel. (021) 4505886 Email:

For further in formation regarding the annual Archives Awareness Campaign please contact:
Eve O'Callaghan Publicity Officer,
Society of Archivists,
Tel: 01 278 0610

Cork City and County Archives (Formerly Cork Archives Institute)

Notice of Closure of Research Room

at Christ Church, South Main Street, on Friday 24 March 2006, at 5 p.m.

The Archives will repoen at the new Archives building, Great William O'Brien Street, Blackpool, Cork, on Tuesday 25 April 2006, at 10 a.m.

Brian McGee, Archivist, Recreation Amenity & Culture.
Tel: 021 4277809

You can help your local archives service.

The Archives Institute is delighted to hear from those with information about any archives, including family material, which are relevant to the history of Cork City or County.

Contact the Archivist at Tel: 021 4277809, Fax 021 4274 668 or email