Cork, a maritime county in Munster, the south-most and largest of the Irish counties. Greatest length from east to west, 110 miles; greatest breadth, 70; area, 2890 sq. m. Cork is hilly, with great variety of surface. The west part is rocky, mountainous, and boggy; the east and south, rich, fertile, and picturesque. The ranges run east and west, except the Boghra Mountains, between the Lee and Blackwater. The coast is bold and rocky, and from its indentations, 250 miles long; the bays run 3 to 25 miles inland, the chief being Bantry, Dunmanus, Baltimore, Glandore, Clonakilty, Kinsale, Cork Harbour, and Youghal. There are many isles off the coast, including Cape Clear Island. In the west, Cork is divided from Kerry by a range running northeast and north, the chief points being 1200 to 2240 feet high. This range sends offshoots to the east, which divide the county into the parallel basins of the three chief rivers of Cork, the Blackwater, Lee, and Bandon. Part of the Munster coalfield occupies 400 sq. m. in the north-west. Cork has many small lakes in the west. The chief mineral products are coal, iron, copper, barytes, limestone, marble, fullers' earth, brick-clay, marl. There is a thermal magnesian spring at Mallow. The climate is moist but genial. The dairies are extensive, and Cork butter stands in high estimation. Of the total area, about 30 per cent, is under crops. The chief manufactures are leather, tweeds, whisky, porter; and the chief exports provisions. Pop. (1841) 854,118; (1851) 653,180; (1871) 517,076; (1881) 495,607; (1901) 406,611, of whom 90 per cent. are Catholics. Since 1885 the county returns seven members, the city two; Bandon, Mallow, Kinsale, and Youghal having been absorbed in the county.


Cork, a city and parliamentary borough of Ireland, capital of County Cork, and a county in itself, on the Lee, 11 miles above its mouth, and 166 SW. of Dublin by rail. Standing in the centre of a picturesque valley, it is built in part on an island, or group of islands, formerly a swamp, which the word Cork, Corcoch, or Corcaig implies; in part, on the slopes of the river-banks. Nine bridges cross the river to the islands. There are a spacious public park or racecourse of 400 acres; an elm-tree walk, the Mardyke, above a mile long, on the west of the city; and a beautiful public cemetery. The chief buildings are St Anne Shandon's Church, with a tower 170 feet high; the Protestant Cathedral, Early English in style, erected since 1865 at a cost of 100,000; Queen's College (1849), a fine Tudor-Gothic quadrangular building; and the Schools of Science and Art. The Lee is navigable to about a mile above the city, and a large sum has been expended on the improvement of the navigation. The extent of the quays is now above 4 miles, and ships of 2000 tons reach them. Cork Harbour, noted for its size and safety, is a basin of 10 sq. m., formed by the Lee's estuary. It could contain the whole British navy, and has been the main source of the rise and progress of the city. It is the port of call for the transatlantic steamers plying between Liverpool and New York. The estuary contains several large isles, rising abruptly and high above the water, with narrow channels between them. The entrance is by a channel two miles by one, defended by batteries. Adjoining the island of Haulbowline, on which are extensive government stores, is a large government dock, where vessels of the British fleet may be repaired. On the shores of the estuary are the towns of Passage and Queenstown, formerly Cove of Cork. The chief manufactures are leather, iron, gloves, ginghams, friezes, flour, malt liquors, and whisky; the chief exports grain, provisions, butter, livestock, leather, and tweeds. Cork returns two members to parliament. Pop. (1871) 78,642; (1881) 80,124; (1901) 76,122: of parl, borough (1881) 104,496; (1901)90,698. Of these five-sixths are Catholics. Cork grew up around an abbey founded in 600 by St Finbar. Dermod Maccarthy, king of Cork or Desmond, surrendered it to Henry II. in 1172. Cromwell took it in 1649, and Marlborough in 1690. There is a statue of Father Mathew, who laboured here many years. See Miss Cusack's History of the City and County of Cork (Dublin, 1875).