Monday, November 30, 2009

Cork Chapter visit to Port of Cork Offices

Given that Cork city was still recovering from the devastating floods of a week earlier, it was perhaps appropriate that the Cork Chapter’s Christmas Party on 28th November was held in the Port of Cork (formerly Cork Harbour Commissioners) offices at the Customs House. Water, trade and the harbour were themes in the talk by Dr. Alicia St. Leger as she outlined the history of customs houses in Cork, particularly the present attractive building which opened in 1818.

The group enjoyed the welcome warmth and wonderful elegance of the Boardroom with its stunning plasterwork, designed in 1906 by engineer James Price. It compliments perfectly the earlier part of the building which was designed by Abraham Hargraves (junior) and consists of officers, including a fine long room with Corinthian columns, over vaulted bonded warehouses. There are more warehouses to the rear, with attractive canopies surviving on one side, although these listed structures sadly are in poor condition.

Following a short tour, Catherine Fitzmaurice and Kevin Hurley presented an interesting review of some of the Cork Chapter’s varied activities in 2009, illustrated with photographs. John Holohan also gave a talk on the IGS and spoke of current developments and future plans. The morning concluded with refreshments, co-ordinated by Maura Currivan and including delicious mince pies brought by Myrtle Allen. All in all, it was a very pleasant day and thanks are due to Geraldine O’Riordan who organised the event.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cork Chapter Visit to Ennismore and Collins Barracks

Early on a very wet Friday morning (30th October), a group of members met at Ennismore in the north eastern suburbs of Cork City. The weather spoiled the magnificent views from the house down to Cork harbour and also made it impossible to venture outdoors to enjoy the beautiful and historic gardens and grounds. Nevertheless, the visit turned out to be very enjoyable.

Dr. Alicia St. Leger provided a brief history of the house which was built in the 1820s and is an attractive single storey villa over basement. It was associated with the Leycester family until the 1950s when it was purchased by the Dominican Order and is now St. Dominic’s Retreat Centre. Br. Tom Casey welcomed the group and was most informative about the history of Ennismore where he has lovingly tended the gardens for many years.

After delicious refreshments, the group met up again at Collins Barracks museum where another warm welcome awaited from museum curator, Mr. Jim Horgan and Mr. Paddy Cremin. Mr. Cremin provided a most interesting tour of the museum and related fascinating anecdotes about the impressive buildings. The barracks was designed by John Gibson and was first opened in 1806. Although badly damaged in 1922, its buildings were restored and look very striking - even through the driving rain! A visit to the nearby garrison church with its beautiful stained glass windows by Evie Hone, concluded a successful, if damp, outing. Thanks to those at Ennismore and Collins Barracks who facilitated our visit and to Geraldine O’Riordan who organised the outing.