Dublin: 7 °C Sunday 25 February, 2024
Cork boi

6 things in Cork you've always wondered about

Why do they call the Shandon clock the Four Liars? Who is that man in the statue on Patrick Street? Find out in here.

Updated 9.54am

IRISH CITIES AND towns are crawling with interesting curio and other bits’n'bobs hidden in plain sight.

We gave you Dublin – but have you ever noticed little details about Cork you wanted explained? Your questions are answered.

Dog trough on Patrick’s Street

This limestone drinking trough is by Cork artist Seamus Murphy, the man behind most of the public sculptures in the city.

According to Reading The Signs, the trough was commissioned during the 1950s by a kindly restaurant owner who filled it each day for the dogs that passed by. It doesn’t look like it’s ever filled these days, though. Sad.

Mother Jones plaque, Shandon

7727667922_7523a08881_b Flickr / Mother Jones Flickr / Mother Jones / Mother Jones

Did you know that the famous campaigner for workers’ rights (and namesake of the American magazine) Mary Harris Jones was originally from Cork?

She was born and baptised there in 1837 before emigrating with her family to Canada as a teen. From there, she became known as “the most dangerous woman in America” for organising mine workers against their employers.

This plaque was erected by the Mother Jones Cork project in Shandon in 2012 to commemorate her life and work.

Fr Mathew statue, Patrick Street

The statue in the middle of Patrick Street is the of imposing figure of Fr Theobald Mathew, a tee-totalling priest from Co Tipperary who joined the mission in Cork in the mid-1800s.

7586019728_eca6189c19_k Flickr / Infomatique Flickr / Infomatique / Infomatique

There he established the Cork Total Abstinence Society, the members of which vowed to stay sober for life. Basically, because of him, we all have to take the Pledge at Confirmation. Thanks a bunch, Fr Mathew.

The Golden Angel of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral

goldenangel Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons

The golden angel standing proudly at the back of the cathedral is beautiful, yes, but did you know it has its own local legend? The statue was a gift from the Victorian architect William Burges, who designed the building.


The legend has it that the angel will play the trumpet to signal to the people of Cork that the end of the world is imminent – and allow them to be among the first to enter heaven. Nice.

The Four-Faced Liar

7705099818_4296327504_k Flickr / Mother Jones Flickr / Mother Jones / Mother Jones

Right now, the famous Shandon clock at the Church of St Anne doesn’t tell any time, but when it did, locals called it ‘The Four-Faced Liar’.

Why? Well, depending on the angle of the person looking up, the four clock faces appeared to show four different times.

UPDATE: Though it had been stopped until very recently, Corkonians have informed us that after a successful campaign to get it running again, as of the beginning of this month the Shandon clock is once again telling the time.

The plaques set into the pavement on various streets around the city

Skiddys Castle Lane Plaque The Laneways of Medieval Cork The Laneways of Medieval Cork

If you’re taking a wander down the North and South Main Streets, look out for these little plaques set into the pavement. They were put there to mark the laneways of medieval Cork, which creep out from Cork’s medieval main street (now the regular old Main Streets).

1690_city_of_cork_map A map of medieval Cork Cork Past and Present Cork Past and Present

There were over 70 lanes – at first, they were thoroughfares to properties, back gardens, and the towers along the walls of the city, before growing into mini-streets of their own right. The lanes were named after prominent citizens of the city (yes, there was once a well-known Cork person called Skiddy).

More information on this can be found in The Laneways of Medieval Cork, written by Gina Johnson.

Previously: 7 things in Dublin you’ve always wondered about>

Fascinating memorabilia to celebrate Cork’s legendary venue Sir Henrys>

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.