11 April 2018
By Elaine Murphy
Cork County Council will mark the 50th Anniversary of Cork County Hall next Monday with a lunchtime reception.
The 17 storey skyscraper was Ireland’s tallest for decades, until it was outranked by the Elysian Apartment Tower in the City Centre during the Celtic Tiger Boom.
County Hall today is very different from when it was built on the site of a former quarry in 1968, back then it had grass to the front, and a flat carpark. Now… not a blade of grass to be seen, it’s modern with paving and gravel.
It’s hard to find videos from that era, because – of course – it was a time before the camera phone and the internet, but there is one video from the early 70’s that’s worth a look.
In 1972 Ireland’s Eurovision entry happened to be selected in Cork, and hence the promo for her song was recorded there. That grainy video featured County Hall.
Ireland’s Eurovision entry for that year was entitled “Ceol an Ghrá”, a song performed in the Irish language by Sandie Jones.
TV Camera’s were a novelty back then, notice at 1:37 how a car stops on the road (The Carrigrohane Straight Road) possibly to rubberneck. and the car behind nearly crashes into it !
1972 was the first time Ireland performed its Eurovision entry in the Irish language. Unfortunately, Ireland finished in third place that year, with Germany winning the contest.
The preview video of the Irish song featured Cork landmarks including the fairly new County Hall, complete with the “Two Working Men” sculpture in front.
If County Hall was built in 1968 then where was the Council’s headquarters before that? City Hall perhaps?! Nope, the correct answer is The Courthouse, Washington Street, Cork City Centre.