Blackrock Castle

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Description:
Blackrock Castle, formerly Mahon Castle, is a 16th century castle located about 2km from the heart of Cork city on the banks of the River Lee. The "Cosmos at the Castle" project is a centre for scientific research, outreach and communication. The project is a joint venture between , and a private benefactor. A unique feature of the facility is the manner in which children and adults are encouraged to interact with science.

History

In the late 16th century, the citizens of Cork appealed to Queen Elizabeth I to construct a fort at Blackrock to "repel pirates and other invaders". In or around 1600, a round tower was constructed to safeguard against pirates "carrying away" vessels entering the harbour. Earliest remains today are a circular tower right on the water's edge, 10.5m in diameter, with walls 2.2m thick to withstand cannons.

Blackrock Castle was in the ownership of the City of Cork following a charter of James I to the City in 1608. The castle is later referred to in the Council Book of Cork in 1613 and 1614. In 1722 the old four-storey tower was destroyed by fire and new one built by the citizens, costing £296.

Throughout this period, the castle was used by the Corporation for banquets and 'convivial gatherings', some associated with the custom of 'throwing the dart'. This ancient custom was held every three years in August, where a dart (an arrow about four feet long) was thrown from a boat by the Mayor accompanied by officers of the...
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