Nostalgia: Looking back at one of Cork's most vibrant streets over the decades 

Nostalgia: Looking back at one of Cork's most vibrant streets over the decades 

Oliver Plunkett Street, pictured from Grand Parade, in December 1962.

Cork city's vibrant Oliver Plunkett Street has hit the headlines for various reasons in recent weeks. 

The busy thoroughfare was recently pedestrianised on a permanent basis along with 16 other streets in the city for specified hours, following the success of Cork City Council's 'Reimagining Cork City' programme, which implemented the measures on a trial basis last summer. 

Originally laid out in the early 18th century, Oliver Plunkett Street is home to both established and emerging businesses. 

Oliver Plunkett Street, in December 1962.
Oliver Plunkett Street, in December 1962.

Last week Guineys, which opened on the street almost three decades years ago, celebrated a milestone 50 years in business. 

The retailer, which operates 12 stores nationally, was founded by Limerick native Michael Guiney in 1971.

Guineys was solely Dublin-based from 1971 until 1992 when the Cork store was established.

It has since become a Cork institution. 

Liam O'Connell former manager of Guineys, Oliver Plunkett St.
Liam O'Connell former manager of Guineys, Oliver Plunkett St.

Speaking to The Echo last week, manager at the Cork store Pat Martin said he would attribute Guineys longevity in business to good value and service as well as ample choice for the consumer.

"Guineys has a very loyal customer base. It’s well known to be an Aladdin’s Cave - you go in for your tea towels and come out with a wheelbarrow!"

Originally named George's Street after George I, Oliver Plunkett Street was among the streets to be renamed following the establishment of the Irish Free State.

It was decided the street should be renamed after Oliver Plunkett, a 17th-century martyr and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh. 

Outside the General Post Office, Oliver Plunkett Street, during a postal strike in 1922. 
Outside the General Post Office, Oliver Plunkett Street, during a postal strike in 1922. 

The name change was gradual and the street was colloquially referred to as ‘Old George’s Street’ for decades after. 

Another landmark premises on Oliver Plunkett Street is the General Post Office (GPO). 

Originally the site of the Theatre Royal, the three-storey post office was developed at the site in 1877.

Last month, a protest organised by Sinn Féin members in Cork, was held outside the GPO calling on the Government to act urgently to maintain the Post Office Network.

Almost 100 years ago photos in the archives show another protest outside the GPO.

The former Liam Ruiséal's bookshop on Oliver Plunkett Street. 
The former Liam Ruiséal's bookshop on Oliver Plunkett Street. 

The Postal Strike of 1922 was the first major industrial dispute the new Government of the Irish Free State faced.

In Cork, workers joined the strike against wage reductions. 
Over the decades, other famous businesses have included Liam Ruiséal's bookshop which closed its doors in 2018 after more than a century in operation and the former Plunkett Fruit Stores. 

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