DR. MARY HEARN PARK [A REPURPOSED GRAVEYARD ON BOB AND JOAN’S WALK IN CORK]
There is a laneway named Bob And Joan’s Walk connecting the Kinlay House Hostel to Shandon Bells And Tower.
One of two public parks created on disused cemeteries in the Shandon area is known as the Dr Mary Hearn Park. It can be entered from Bob and Joan’s Walk at the south side of St Anne’s Church, Shandon. The park was named after the wife of Robert T. Hearn, rector of St Anne’s Cathedral from 1905 to 1939. A record of this graveyard dates back to 1722 but it was probably used as a burial ground as far back as the eighth or ninth century. Its last new burials were around the year 1900.
In 1985 the Church of Ireland handed over possession of the graveyard to the Lions Club in Cork to develop it as a memorial park. The graveyard continued to fall into disrepair however until the Church of Ireland handed it over to Cork City Council in 2006. While converting the cemetery to a public park, the City Council constructed new paths, new green areas, and repaired some gravestones. It was officially opened as the Dr Mary Hearn Park by Lord Mayor Michael O’Connell on 22 June 2011.
The Green Coat Hospital School was a charity school founded in 1716 to give an elementary education to poor children and to instruct them in the principles of Christianity as professed by the Church of Ireland. The Rev. Henry Maule was the driving force behind the establishment of the school. Forty children, twenty boys and twenty girls, attended the school which stood near Shandon. Statues of a boy and a girl stood over the gateway to the school. The statues were popularly known as ‘Bob’ and ‘Joan’. They are now kept in St Anne’s Church, Shandon. The path which ran down to the school was known as Bob and Joan Walk.