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You’ve probably strolled over it without a care in the world.

One of the oldest bridges of its kind in Ireland, the South Gate Bridge links the south side of Cork to the city centre.

These days it’s a lovely spot to pause and take in the view of the river, but that wasn’t always the case.

The South Gate Bridge was once the site of a gaol house, complete with dungeon, in the 18th Century.

A copy of a late 18th century illustration by Nathaniel Grogan of the South Gate Bridge and the South Gate Prison on the northern side of the bridge shared by Cork Past and Present shows what it looked like to a prisoner doomed to be trapped in its depths.

While Cork has changed immeasurably in the years since, some of our history is still visible today – you just need to know where to look.

If you stand on Sullivan’s Quay and peer underneath the bridge, you can still see the bricked up dungeon entrance under the bridge arch.

These photos shared by St Peter’s Cork clearly show part of the former entrance at water level.

While we will never know exactly what went on deep in those dungeons, they weren’t messing around when it came to punishment in the 16th and 17th Century; the heads of executed criminals were displayed on spikes on top of the South Gate Prison for all to see.

Yikes.

If you fancy finding out more about Cork’s colourful and often creepy history, join the €5 walking tour that leaves from St Finbarr’s Cathedral on Thursdays at 11am and 3pm. 


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