The city of Cork is situated on the banks of the Lee River and its name is roughly means "marsh". The city was founded in the seventh century by Saint Finnbarre who built an abbey here that flourished as a center of learning for many years. In the ninth century, the area was invaded by the Danes and subsequently became a walled city for protection.

The first English invasions did not start until 1169 and in 1185 the City was granted its first Royal Charter by King Henry II. The City developed slowly and expanded outwards from it's original centre which is now the North Main Street / South Main Street area. Most of the modern streets are built on existing river channels and it once had more in common with Venice than the City you see today.

During the 17th Century, Cork was on the losing side of two rebellions: it was captured by Cromwell at the end of the first one and the army of the Duke Of Marlborough in 1690 after the second. The city's walled boundaries were torn down after this defeat.

In the 18th century, Cork began to develop as a prominent port city. The Cities motto "Statio Benefide Carinis" (a safe harbour for ships) is derived from it's harbour; the second finest natural harbour in the world after Sidney. The unrivalled ability of Cork Harbour to shelter the biggest fleets assembled during the American War of Independence and later during the Napoleonic Wars was a major factor in the expansion of the provisions trade in Cork. Cork Butter Market, with its strict and rigorously enforced system of quality control, was world famous and became the largest butter market in the world for its time. 

Between the years 1845-1850 Ireland was subjected to one of the greatest catastrophes in its long and troubled history - The Great Famine. As one of the seminal events in Irish history, the Famine influenced the political, social and economic history of the country for generations. During this period Cork City witnessed scenes of horror and destitution which are barely imaginable to modern residents of the city.

In 1920, In one of the worst atrocities committed during the War of Independence, British forces deliberately set fire to several blocks of buildings along the east and south sides of Saint Patrick’s Street during Saturday night 11 December 1920 and the following Sunday morning. The City Hall and the Carnegie Library were also completely destroyed by fire. Later in the 20th century, Cork City ceased to be an industrial and shipping centre, littered with slums. The city has developed economically, it is Ireland's second largest city and it has developed into an important centre of culture.