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The southside of Cork city spans from the marina to CIT, covering a diverse area geographically, socially and historically. With

Thursday, 22nd October, 2015 10:01am

The southside of Cork city spans from the marina to CIT, covering a diverse area geographically, socially and historically.

With some suburbs popping up in the last century and others forming the bedrock of the city, some say the foundations of Cork were set south of the Lee, indeed the city's genus was planted in the area where St Fin Barre's Cathedral today stands.

It is said Finbarr founded the monastery and subsequent dioceses that became Cork.

The name lives on culturally in Togher with the 'Barr's, having amassed 25 Cork Senior Club Championships in hurling and eight in football. They also had All-Ireland success in the Seventies (in hurling) and Eighties (with football) and dominated Cork hurling from 1980-83 with the county triple.

Arch rivals, The Rockies, are a stone's throw away in Blackrock; the oldest team in Cork and have 32 Senior Hurling Championship titles, three All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championships and five pre-1970 All-Ireland titles.

The southside's rooting in sport is assured with stadiums, Pairc Ui Caoimh, Independent Park and Turner's Cross in the area.

Blackrock, an old fishing village, is home to the symbolic Blackrock Castle which was completed in 1829. The first structure to stand there in the 1500s was to defend the city from pirates and other invaders. Interestingly, every third year, on 1 August, the Mayor and other members of Cork Corporation used set out on boats from Blackrock Castle for the ceremony of 'throwing the dart' where the inaugural mayor threw a four-foot arrow into the sea, symbolising his authority over the harbour.

Following the marina around Lough Mahon leads to Mahon itself, home to Ireland's second biggest retail centre and City Gate, which is becoming known as Cork's Silicon Valley, thanks to the proliferation of tech companies that have settled there, many multi-national.

Continuing inland, Douglas, like many Cork settlements, developed from the Lee Estuary that flows through and likewise, christened it; the name Dubhglas translates as 'dark stream'.

This laid the bricks and mortar of what became an industrious area of mills, particularly the Donnybrook Mills that were erected in the early 1700s and supplied cotton produce, such as ropes and sails to the Royal Navy.

This continued through the 19th Century but most mills ground to a halt in the early 20th, but that didn't stop Douglas churning out quality produce. Cork's big-screen outputs are from the area, most recently Jack Gleeson, who portrayed King Joffrey in HBO's hit show 'Game of Thrones'.

This follows indie and Hollywood star, Cillian Murphy, who has become a first pick for top directors such as Danny Boyle and Christopher Nolan. The area has also bred inter-county GAA stars such as brothers Eoin and Alan Cadigan.

The talent doesn't stop there. Bishopstown has produced Munster and Ireland stars, Ronan O'Gara and Donncha O'Callaghan, not far from their Munster training centre at CIT and their club Cork Con.

World famous fly-half O'Gara is the all-time highest point scorer among Ireland and Munster teams, and the entirety of the Heineken Cup competition.

O'Callaghan has shared trophy successes with O'Gara, as well as made the Barbarians and Lions selections.

The Model Farm lock was recently immortalised in Paddy Campbell's piece 'The Day That Changed Ireland' at Shannon Airport, which captures the moment in bronze. Other sporting heroes from the area include Cork GAA athletes Pa Cronin, Shane O'Neil and Ken O'Halloran.

Bishopstown is renowned too for its educational institutes, the Cork University Hospital, Cork University Maternity Hospital, and CIT.

The Cork Institute of Technology was awarded the title of Institute of Technology of the Year 2015, and CUH is recognised as the largest university teaching hospital in Ireland and the only Level 1 trauma centre in the country.

Cork's southside has a rich past, but as we'll see, the future is just as prosperous, if not more with developments like JCD's One Albert Quay coming on stream soon, revitalising the immediate southside of the river.

And with Cork Airport just up the hill, adding destinations State-side and across Europe next year, the region is set to attract more foreign investment, higher tourist numbers and more jobs - all good for business!

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