It was a time before Starbucks.
Cork’s thriving local coffee culture is one of the best things about the city these days, but our love of caffeine and a good book is not actually a recent development.
Hundreds of years ago, one Cork street in particular was the place to go for a browse of the newest titles and a steaming hot cuppa.
According to illustrations that form part of a new exhibition at St Peter’s Cork, Castle Street was once widely known as Booksellers’ Row.
The street was home to the Exchange, designed by architect Twiss Jones and built by Cork merchants as a meeting place to do business between 1705 and 1710.
Lined with bookshops, coffee houses, printers and stationers, Booksellers’ Row was a hive of activity up until a fire ripped through the area in 1811. The Exchange was eventually demolished in 1837.
Some of the stones taken from the rubble of this beautiful building were used in the construction of Saint Peter’s Church on North Main Street.
Interestingly, St Peter’s is now another spot where you’re guaranteed to find an excellent cup of coffee any day of the week.