AN ENTHUSIASTIC GROUP signed up for my last guided walk, which was held during National Heritage Week (August 2017). The theme was the ‘earthquake’ that shook Cork on November 1st 1755, almost at the same time as the catastrophic earthquake-tsunami in Lisbon. Indeed, there was sufficient interest to warrant an extra outing in the afternoon.

In all, some seventy people attended and thanks are due to Angela Shanahan for helping with readings of early newspaper articles that provided a background for the historical reconstruction.  An article by the editor, which is entitled Cork’s earthquake of 1755: interpreted as a seismic seiche,  is for sale. The booklet includes new maps showing the extent of the earthquake as well as the canals and waterways of eighteenth-century Cork.  Enquiries to

A recent LECTURE.  Where better to give a talk on the city’s medieval canals than in the canteen of the Meitheal Mara building, which is located directly adjacent to the diversion canal that takes the South Channel around the medieval core of the city (a river rush of brown, churning water on the day).  All the people that count were there!

Other Ways to See Medieval Cork

© Google Images
©  Google Images

The interactive map of Cork, which appears on the Cork City Council website (, is recommended for those who would like to move along the channels and streets of the modern city virtually, and link them to the waterways of the past. Or better to go there on foot.

The captured image (and that below, right) shows the medieval canal on the South Channel. The canal runs along the west side of the former Beamish & Crawford site.

Kayaking under the South Gate Bridge
Kayaking under South Gate Bridge


Or instead, why not travel in a boat along the River Lee itself, sitting below the quays and drifting under bridges? Atlantic Sea Kayaking offer group trips (see image above) along both the North and South Channels, starting at the boardwalk of the Clarion Hotel. Meitheal Mara also offer guided tours and have produced an excellent folded map, entitled Corkumnavigation, that provides a short commentary on the many bridges and weirs of the city together with advice on tides, safety and itineries. One caveat – do not enter culverts, such as that under Proby’s Quay, for they are enclosed spaces and may contain high levels of gases such as carbon monoxide and therefore result in poisoning.