It’s a surprising sight.
Standing proudly in a dank little ally between a fast-food restaurant and an apartment block on North Main Street, a handsome stone archway rises up out of nowhere.
Although obscured by bins and cardboard boxes, its beauty is breathtaking.
Obviously built for finer things, the archway, carefully decorated with carved stone flowers and flourishes, was moved to this location in the 1990s.
Inside, the portico is decorated with clusters of grapes, traditionally a symbol of fertility and prosperity, and sprigs of ivy, a symbol of strength and determination.
So where did they come from? The gates are believed to have stood at the City Corn Market on Anglesea Street, which opened in 1833, but where they lived before that, all the way back to their 1779 inscription, is a mystery.
Of the notable businesses to be founded in Cork in 1779, the North Mall Distillery was one, but there is no record of such a gate existing at that site.
According to the Cork Folklore group, the ornate entrance was removed from the Anglesea Street market and installed in front of John Daly & Co. Minerals on Kyrl’s Quay, where it could be seen in photos taken right up until 1969 (a fitting entrance for the home of Tanora, if you ask us).
The other handsome archways removed from the Anglesea Street Corn Market site now sit at the entrance to Bishop Lucey Park on the Grand Parade.
Over the years there have been unsuccessful calls for the gate to be moved to a more fitting location within the city. We think it’s high time this beautiful piece of Cork’s history was rescued from the shadows and given a prime location.
Want to see the archway for yourself? Turn right at Supermac’s at the end of North Main Street, then turn right again when you reach the car park just beyond Northgate House.