Looking back at a few of Cork's former landmark bakeries

Looking back at a few of Cork's former landmark bakeries
O'Shea's Bakery at Fisher's Lane, Cork, 1952.

WITH Ireland under strict lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, households across the country are turning their attention to new or forgotten hobbies they can enjoy whilst at home.

Chief amongst these activities is the time-honoured practice of baking.

From the quintessential banana bread to more complex endeavours such as éclairs, baking has seen a surge in popularity in recent weeks.

Thompson's bread and cake factory, MacCurtain Street, Cork. 
Thompson's bread and cake factory, MacCurtain Street, Cork. 

Given the craze, we have trawled through the archives to unearth a plethora of incredible images from some former iconic bakeries in Cork.

Perhaps best known of these establishments was Thompson's Bakery on MacCurtain Street. 

The old Thompson's Bakery was a stalwart culinary institution established in 1826 and in its heyday produced a mile of its trademark swiss roll every day in the building’s dedicated swiss roll factory for the people of Munster.

Now the site of Glass Curtain restaurant, Thompson's was a major employer in the city and has been part of the character of Cork for generations.

Night workers at Hosford's Bakery, South Terrace, Cork in 1936. 
Night workers at Hosford's Bakery, South Terrace, Cork in 1936. 

With a 40-tonne main oven, as well as number of smaller ovens, Thompson's continued to churn out thousands of sweet treats until its closure in the 1980s.

Also in the city centre was Donnelly's Bakery, founded in 1920 by Joseph Donnelly.

At one stage it was one of 13 bakeries located on Shandon Street.

Bought for £620, Donnelly's became famous for the skull loaves and operated for over 70 years.

Donnelly's 102 to 103 Shandon Street
Donnelly's 102 to 103 Shandon Street

O'Shea's Bakery was another stalwart bakery in the city, founded by a former Lord Mayor of Cork, Henry O'Shea.

Mr O'Shea had emigrated to New York in the 1880s and worked in a bakery.

Returning to Cork newly married to Bridget Blewitte, Mr O'Shea set up his own bakery.

In 1978, the site became Sir Henry's nightclub - named in Henry O'Shea's honour.

O'Shea's Bakery, Cork, 1952. 
O'Shea's Bakery, Cork, 1952. 

Elsewhere in the city centre, bakeries such as Hosford's, Currans and Haddens will evoke many fond memories for the people of Cork.

Looking beyond the city, Houlihan's in Clonakilty was a favourite amongst locals for many years.

Located at the junction of Connolly Street and Casement Street, the landmark building was formerly the site of an 18th century Linen Hall.

Houlihan's Bakery, Clonakilty, 1959.
Houlihan's Bakery, Clonakilty, 1959.

It was built by the Earl of Shannon in 1817 to support the West Cork production of the era, but when the industry went into decline it later opened as a successful bakery.

Despite the closure of these bakeries over the years, new businesses have opened in their stead. 

Businesses such as the Alternative Bread Company (ABC), Fitzgerald's Family Bakery and Hassetts continue to cater to Cork's undying love of baked goods.

More in this section

Sponsored Content