AS IT WAS IN MAY 2011
The Custom House is located at the eastern extremity of Cork City’s centre island, where the north and south branches of the River Lee reconverge.
As you can see this area could be derelict back in 2011 and unfortunately there was no sign of any improvement when I visited in May 2023.
In March 2021 it was reported that planning permission had been granted for €150 million development incorporating Ireland’s tallest building. The 34-storey tower on the site of the former Port of Cork building on Custom House Quay will include a five star 240 bedroom hotel as well as food and beverage outlets along with a distillery in the accompanying commercial development. The planning decision followed an appeal by three parties of a decision by Cork City Council to grant planning for the project on October 13th 2020.
The Custom House is an early 19th-century building in Cork, Ireland. Originally developed as a custom house and opened in 1818, the Cork Harbour Commissioners (later reorganised as the Port of Cork Company) took over the building in 1904. The Port of Cork Company vacated the building in early 2021. The Custom House is, together with a number of other buildings on the same site, listed by Cork City Council on its Record of Protected Structures.
The Custom House is attributed to designs by Abraham Addison Hargrave, the eldest son (and partner in the architectural practice) of Abraham Hargrave the Elder. Built between 1814 and 1818, the building was used initially by the Inland Revenue, having replaced an old custom house on Emmet Place, now part of the Crawford Art Gallery. It was built on “slob” land, which was reclaimed at a cost of £10,000; the building itself cost £70,000. In 1904, it became the headquarters of the Cork Harbour Commissioners, who took over the building on a 999 year lease.
The building was extended in 1906, with additions including a new boardroom, designed by William Price the then Harbour Engineer. This boardroom, with semicircular tables and upholstered chairs, was described in the Irish Examiner as “one of the finest examples of the commercial interior design of the time”. Originally the royal arms were on the building’s pediment, being replaced by the city arms in 1957.
As of 2021, the Harbour Commissioners had vacated the building, and a number of developments were proposed for the site. Aspects of the proposed developments, including the proposal to “largely demolish the Revenue Building” (a protected structure on the Custom House Quay site), have been the subject of some opposition, including by the Irish Georgian Society and An Taisce Corcaigh.
These photographs are old as they date from my 2011 visit to Cork City. I used a Sony NEX-5 which was my very first Mirrorless camera and it was the beginning of my switch over from Canon to Sony. The lens that I used was the 18-200mm supplied with the VG10E camcorder and it was much better than the kit lens supplied with the NEX-5. As a matter of interest I still have the NEX-5 and the VG10 which I still use.
The software available was primitive so I decided to se if the original files could be reprocessed and published online.