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Martin O'Brien

A new book by Gerard on the history of the Glen, Cork from 1700 to 1980

With illustrations, maps and photographs, this publication is for anyone who knows and loves this special part of Cork City and would like to discover more about its history.

Sponsored by Cork City Council

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This is the history of what is now Cork’s Glen River Park. It traces the area’s progression from a proto-industrial zone in the early eighteenth century to the public amenity space it is today. Six mills once punctuated the valley: four corn mills, a flax mill, and an iron mill. In 1803, a distillery was added which later became Goulding’s first fertiliser factory in 1856. This account rediscovers these lost buildings and their owners, from the Dodge family in the 1700’s to Sir Basil Goulding, who donated the Glen to be used as a public amenity. Fortunes were made and lost along the way: the hapless Humphreys Manders went bankrupt, Daniel Callaghan was the richest self-made man in Cork and Anthony Perrier patented one of the first continuous whiskey stills in Europe.  

In the shadow of these industrial entrepreneurs, a social space was opening up for the growing city. The Fenian, Brian Dillon, nostalgically remembered the Glen mills in a poem written when in prison in England. Countless children learned to swim in the ‘Hatch’, and to play hurling on the ‘Black Patch.’

Together with the archival research that forms the greater part of this book, there are personal recollections of the author who grew up in the centre of the Glen in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Various short pieces have been written on ‘The Glen’ but it has never been the subject of a longer, thorough work. This book offers a distinctive insight into how a local area with a unique character contributes to the collective heritage of Cork city.

!26 pages with maps, colour and B&W images

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About the author:


Gerard Martin O’Brien was born in Cork in 1953 and grew up in the ‘Engineer’s House’ at the heart of ‘Goulding’s Glen’ as the River Park was then known. This publication is the result of extensive research into the history of the area as well as his own personal memories and experiences of living in ‘The Glen’.

Gerard studied at NUI Galway, the University of Bologna and the University of Limerick. His interests focus on 19th and early 20th century Irish history and literature. He has lectured on third level educational programmes in Ireland and United States. He has also worked on numerous publishing and heritage projects as well as writing two historical novels ‘A Kind of Innocence’ and ‘The Key is Turned’.

Other books by Gerard Martin O'Brien

Blue Horse Press



County Galway



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