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Cockpit: the space near the front of an aircraft, where the pilot sits.

You’d be forgiven for thinking one of Cork’s oldest city laneways has some ancient connection to aviation.

In fact, the name of the lane that connects Cornmarket Street to North Main Street can all be traced back to a rather gory sport.

Cock Pit Lane was once the location of a permanent cock-fighting pit.

The practice wasn’t officially outlawed until 1835, so for many years before that date, hundreds of Cork people would gather in specially dug cock pits to watch two cockerels fight to the death.

It’s empty and deserted now, but a record from 1831 shows that Cock Pit Lane was also home to a bustling community of people.

In fact, records show that ten people owned 16 buildings on the lane, many of which would have been tenement housing, teeming with life and activity.

It was also a busy thoroughfare between Cornmarket Street and North Main Street, where residents would sell their wares on small stalls set up outside their front doors.

Among the businesses there were a number of glove makers or ‘glovers’ and a fabric store.

According to The Laneways of Medieval Cork, a brilliant 20-part radio series exploring the history of Cork’s medieval laneways, Cock Pit Lane has been in existence since 1726 when it appeared on a John Carty drawing of the area.

That may have been because Mr Carty’s business premises was located on Cock Pit Lane, after all what’s the point in being the cartographer if you can’t put yourself on the map?

Listen to the full episode here.

 


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