PHOTOGRAPHED IN MAY 2019 BUT PUBLISHED 24 MARCH 2023
Back in May 2019 I could not determine if this building was still occupied and as the gates were locked I could not gain access. A few days ago I checked Google Maps ant the building appears to be still intact but there is a warning indicating that it is temporarily closed but I do not know know what that actually means.
Skiddy’s Almshouse is the oldest inhabited building in the city of Cork. It was built in 1718 and finished in 1719.
It was the second almshouse built using a bequest from Stephen Skiddy for the city’s poor, either Catholic or Church of Ireland. The first building, located near North Gate Bridge, was replaced by the end of 1718 following complaints of its being a poor source for fresh air and being too narrow. Skiddy was a wealthy Cork-born wine merchant, who in his will of 1584 bequeathed an annual payment for the benefit of his Almshouse. This annual payment began when Skiddy’s wife died in 1606. The payment is made to this day by The Vintners Federation in London to Skiddy’s charity. The Almshouse was also funded by Roger Bettridge when he included it in his will in 1717.
The Almshouse was built on a corner of the medieval Saint Mary’s Churchyard, the building was once part of a campus including the Green Coat Hospital and School. The other buildings were demolished in the 1950s. The Almshouse was saved from demolition by the Cork Preservation Society in the 1960s with an award-winning restoration completed in 1975 by the architect Frank Murphy. In 2000, the CPS Sold the Almshouse to the Social Housing Development Company. This restoration, which saw Murphy (as architect) win an RIAI Europa Nostra award, was followed by a second restoration which completed in 2005. Skiddy’s Almshouse is now one of the very few surviving eighteenth-century institutional buildings in Cork.
The Almshouse is an L-shaped building with a stone arcade enclosed by a ten-foot wall with a large iron gate. As of 2011, it housed 15 people.
Cork Preservation Society was created in 1967, initially to lead the campaign to preserve Skiddy’s Alms House, an historic building in the Shandon area of Cork City, from threatened destruction. This long and ultimately successful campaign involved securing national monument status, purchase of the building on behalf of CPS, and its renovation and eventual resale. An exhibition highlighting the importance of Skiddy’s, and of the Tailor’s Hall building in Dublin, was organised and held in Dublin and London in 1969. A limited company called Robert Jones (Cork) Ltd was created to manage the Skiddy’s property on behalf of CPS, and its directors and members included many prominent CPS figures. The CPS was also active in efforts to preserve other prominent Cork buildings, including Vernon Mount House and the Alms House in Youghal, as well as the Shandon Area Project, in conjunction with Bord Failte, the Irish tourist board.
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