Of all the University campuses I have visited in Ireland UCC has to come out in the top two. Trinity College Dublin is magnificent and probably tips ahead of UCC, but the sense of serenity and space present in the Cork's university campus is unequalled elsewhere. Someone also had the clever idea of putting the very large lecture halls underground so there are not too many unsightly concrete buildings around, It is about a ten minute stroll from the city centre and is also serviced by two bus routes - No.5 & 14(more frequent) both with stops at various parts of Patrick St. It is worth the visit for many reasons.
As it is out of the city slightly the space afforded to it was very generous. There is an abundance of green spaces which is an asset in a city that does not have many parks centrally located. The university lies mainly to the south of the "Mardyke" area. The River Lee diverges west of the city and the smaller of the two flows through the north end of the campus.
A half day could be spent out here. Enter in through the main gates on the Western Road, turn right up the path and walk along the river, turn left at the top and walk towards the "Quad" where you can visit the Visitor's Centre, to get more information on places of interest. Explore a while, but bare in mind two slightly taboo things. Do not walk on the mosaic of the college crest under the Main Quad arch, and do not cross the Quadrangle grass, even on he walkway though the centre - both transgressions are said to lead to failure in your studies! When finished walk back towards the main gates, stopping off at the Glucksman Gallery. Even if you are not a fan of modern art the Glucksman holds one of the best kept secrets in UCC. The Glucksman Cafe is a little gem. Shush! Don't tell anyone - especially not the the students. It is frequented by staff and those in the know and serves coffees, pastries and main meals - all high quality and at reasonable prices. There is often lunchtime concerts and other events.
In the immediate area is Fitzgerald's Park, which can also be explored and has a nice family friendly café too. Just ask someone to point you in the right direction.
You can make your way back to the city via Washington Street or you could take a slight detour. At the gates cross northwards at the lights towards a small café. Continue on past keeping the café to you right across a green verge area. Cross the road and you will see and entrance with a skate area and a landscaped path through it. Follow this over the new suspension bridge. Continue on this path and you will end up back on the North Quays. Staying on the North Quay walk on for about 150ms and you will come to the Franciscan Well Brewery. Stop off and have a well-deserved refreshment of your choice!
Leaving Shandon, we headed South Westerly to the University College of Cork (UCC), passing by a pleasant part of the River Lee, which was lined with trees, and had attractive buildings and bridges, Katherine (Ekaterinburg) mentioned that this area reminds her of Amsterdam. We didn't have time to linger (I made a mental note to return here again one day).
The University was established in 1845, along with the Universities of Galway and Belfast as one of the three Queens Colleges.
The site for the University is believed to have been near the school and Monastery built by St Finbarr, the patron Saint of Cork. The Universitys' motto is "Where Finbarr taught, let Munster learn"
The area of the main Campus is 44 acres, and is noteworthy for its mature well-wooded grounds containing several Californian Redwood trees. The River Lee flows through the lower grounds.
Katherine wanted me to see the Main Quadrangle buildings, which are modelled on a typical Oxford College. Parking is difficult around the University, so she parked (illegally!) and pointed in the direction of the Quadrangle.
The limestone buildings were designed by Sir Thomas Deane, who was a renowned Cork architect in the mid 19th century and Benjamin Woodward. The architecture has been described as Perpendicular Gothic, Tudor Gothic and Victorian Gothic.
In the North wing, in The Stone Corridor are the Ogham Stones. These were either burial or boundary stones, and are of historical and cultural importance. Inscriptions date back to the mid 5th -late 7th century. They contain the earliest written source of the Irish language and the oldest records of personal names.
It was the start of the lunch break, and delicious cooking smells were wafting in the air. As I entered the Quadrangle, students were spilling into the area. Their 21st century clothing looking at odds with their surroundings.
Signs around the University are both in Irish Gaelic and English.(pic 5)
On my way to and from the Quadrangle I'd passed by a memorial, and taken a quick photo, (pic 4) but hadn't had a chance to look closely.
I've since found out that this is The Republican Memorial plot.
It is a memorial to, and burial place of 13 members of the IRA, who were executed by a British firing squad at the Cork Military Barracks in 1921, during the Irish War of Independence.
Apparently this area of the University campus was originally part of the City Gaol exercise yard.
The University campus is about 10 minutes walk from the city centre via Washington Street and the Western Road. The stone corridors of the 19th century quadrangle buildings are the epitome of ivy-league university land but there is stunning modern architecture here too. Most visits start with a walk under the archway and a stroll up and down the stone corridoor where you can settle into a broad window ledge and admire the Ogham stones and the view from the latticed windows.
Leaving the main quadrangle, the Boole Library is directly opposite and if you turn left here you will find yourself on the wide paved walkway leading to the newer buildings and the Honan Chapel. On your right is the O'Rahilly Building and on your left De Vere Hall. Both of these award winning buildings demonstrate clearly how new architectural styles can blend with and even enhance buildings fom the middle of the 19th century.
The grounds alone are worth a visit full of green areas, shrubs, modern sculpture and enormous mature trees. The links between town and college are very strong in Cork and right through the year there are lectures, concerts and exhibitions open to the public free of charge.
There are entrances to the college on Western Road, College Road and Donovan's Road. The gates to the campus are always open on Sundays as well as weekdays.
Just today, November 16th 2007, Bono of U2 fame visited UCC to campaign for more aid to Africa and earlier this week, Pulitzer-prize winning author Richard Ford delivered a lecture on Cork writer Frank O'Connor. So if you're in town drop out to UCC and the new visitors Centre in the main quadrangle will give you up-to-date information on current news and events.
This is the main building of UCC with the quadrangle in the foreground, I am still amazed I got a picture with that much blue sky!!!! This buliding sets the tone for me for the university. I can't help but admire it everytime I walk thru the gate and think how lucky I am to be here.
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Driving or Walking:
From Patrick Street, head to the Grand Parade, turn off at the perpendicular right on to Washington Street, continue on this rolls to Western Road. When you reach second set of traffic lights (I think - passed Jurys Hotel on the river, and a Petrol Station aswell) The corner facing you is one of the main entrances to UCC
No 8 heading to Bishopstown (passed Roches Stores, not too sure how far, ill check , on the same side of the street). There is a bus stop directly after the petrol station mentioned in Drive/Walk Directions above (see bus route there also), or else get off at any of the next two stops, where further entrances are also closeby.
Visit the area around the University of Cork.
The University of Cork was founded in 1845 and it looks like a castle in a beautiful campus including a channel of the river Lee (see photo).
On the way between the city centre and the university are many interesting shops, pubs and cafes.