Checkpoint 1: Number 8, North Mall
Illustration of architectural feature close to the tile:
Welcome to the first checkpoint on the Shandon Heritage Orienteering Route - the beautiful terraced street of North Mall on the banks of the River Lee.
A Franciscan friary stood here for hundreds of years until it was suppressed during the Reformation in the 16th century. By the 18th century, North Mall had become home to Cork’s wealthy elite. They chose to decorate their houses in the latest architectural style, which became known as Georgian architecture. This style used between 1714 and 1830 and was named after the four Kings (all named George) who reigned one after another in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Examples of Georgian architecture can be seen in the decorated doorways, fanlights, sash windows and carriage archways along this beautiful street. Number 8, is a particularly lovely example, that was built around 1810. This house has many impressive features, one of which is the round-headed doorway and fanlight. On either side of the door are a pair of engaged (partly embedded in the wall) ionic columns. The Georgians loved classical Greek architecture and added aspects of it to their doorways as much as possible.
Above the door, you’ll notice the fanlight or sunburst light. This is a typical Georgian feature that allows natural light into the dark hallway. This one is a fabulous example, if you step back, you will see a carved image of a sun rising from the top of the architrave.
To the right of the door, on the steps, you can see a small decorated piece of metal. This is a boot scraper! The streets of Georgian Cork would have been muddy with lots of horses going by, so it was good to clean your shoes before you entered the house.
Unlike other houses on this street, a cast-iron balcony was added to the first floor in the Victorian period. If you look higher, you’ll notice that the roof looks flat, this is a typical Georgian feature called a parapet roof. It's a simple trick which involves building a small wall or parapet at roof level to hide the slate pitched roof. It makes the house seem taller and more rectangular.
The railings in front of Georgian houses never had gates or stairs to the basement level, this is a later addition.
Number 8 has many more Georgian features such as a carriage arch and sash windows which we will discover more about along the orienteering route.
CLUE 1: From North Mall, turn your back to the river and make your way up to Cork City’s longest street, then look for a door with a large stone triangle above it. It can be found near this feature.