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Photographer's Note

Pictured here is Blackrock Castle in Cork city, one of the most iconic and well known castles in Cork.
It is built in an impressive position right on the banks of the River Lee a mere 2km from the city center.

It dates back to the late 1500's at which time it was known as Mahons castle. Piracy was the reason for its construction, as the city of Cork then was subject to numerous pirate attacks, and the citizens of the city made a heartfelt plea to Queen Elizabeth to construct a fort to help them repel the attacks and prevent further theft of ships and goods.

Around 1600, the main round tower was built and that is the earliest remains of the original castle. Its walls are 7 feet thick which is testament to its reason for being; repelling attacks from pirate ships bearing cannons.

In 1722 fire destroyed this original 4 story building but the people of the city raised the immense sum of 296 pounds necessary to rebuild.

Through this time and beyond, the castle came into the ownership of the city of Cork and it was used as a place to hold social events and banquets. In 1827, following one of these grand feasts the castle was once again destroyed by fire. 1828 saw the reconstruction begin and the addition of three more story's to the original building as well as the construction of the out buildings we can see in this shot. At various times then the castle has been used as office space, a private home and even a restaurant.

Todays, its use is of more benefit to the people of Cork as it now houses Irelands first ever fully interactive astronomy center, hence the name of this place today of Blackrock castle and observatory. The theme of the observatory is the search for Extreme Life in the Universe. A team of specialist researchers from Cork institute of Technology are based here and they develop and expand the exhibition, as well as taking part in a number of astronomy projects.

The castle and observatory welcomes visitors and there is a fine café on site too.

It is a fine Neo Gothic castle and a nice break for anyone who may begin to tire of Irelands many older Norman castles.

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2763 W: 15 N: 6651] (23326)
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