The mid-eighteenth to early nineteenth century was a period of rapid expansion in Cork city, fuelled by a booming local economy based on industries such as brewing, dairy, textiles and shipping.
The city’s population grew rapidly and the moniker, ‘city of the merchant princes’ was often applied in reference to Cork.
Many canals and river channels that divided up the island city-centre were diverted or covered, and large stone warehouses began to spring up along the quays and docklands, ready to supply the constant flow of ships leaving Cork Harbour for destinations as far away as the West Indies.
Cork butter was considered to be of the finest quality and the butter market in the Shandon district grew to become the world’s largest.
During this time of prosperity, many fine buildings and facilities were added to the city’s fabric and during the 1860s, Cork’s first waterworks was constructed, drastically improving the quality of life for the citizens and providing a further boost to local industry