Passage West

Passage West

Passage West (An Phasáiste in Irish) is a town in County Cork, Ireland. situated east of Cork City, facing Cork Harbour. Passage West is a village nearly incorporated into the urban sprawl of Cork City. It has a seafaring atmosphere from the Victoria Dry Dock Yards, which were originally bigger than they are now. They had a part to play in the ship building of Queenstown Ship Building Ltd. In Cobh. Queenstown Ship building Ltd. is now decommissioned in both areas. Passage West Docks now deal mainly with Scrap metal and dry building timber. One version of how Passage West gets its name is from being the last place in Ireland that people emigrating to North America during the famine saw. However, it is also possible that its name is a result of it being used as a ferry crossing point, similar to Passage East between county Wexford and county Waterford.

Sport famous hurling legend Gavin "Frankie" O'Connor hails from the area.

Business The town is quite close to the service centres of Douglas, and Carrigaline. As a result, there are few businesses. In recent years the town lost its AIB Bank, and filling station.

History History (as described in Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837) "Passage West sea-port and post-town, partly in the parish of Monkstown, and partly in that of Marmullane, barony of Kerrycurrihy, county of Cork, and province of Munster, 5 1/2 miles (E. S. E.) from Cork, and 131 1/2 (S. W. by S.) from Dublin, on the western shore of the estuary of the Lee; containing 2131 inhabitants. The period of the extension and improvement of Passage, which is not even mentioned in Smith's History of Cork, is uncertain; the cause, however, is sufficiently obvious in its excellent and sheltered situation, just at the termination of the deep harbour; in its great salubrity; and in its being the only direct communication between Cork and Cove, to each of which places it has a sub-post-office. It owes much of its importance to W. Parker, Esq.; but this spirited gentleman having engaged in foreign speculations, and for a time removed to the Cape of Good Hope, the improvements remained stationary, until a few years since, when further improvements were effected under the active exertions of Thos. Parsons Boland, Esq., proprietor of the western portion of the town, and Messrs. Brown and Co.: so that to the fostering care of these gentlemen, from an inconsiderable village, Passage has become a considerable mercantile town, much frequented during the summer for the fine air and sea-bathing. The town comprises one principal street, nearly a mile long, extending along the shore, and intersected by several smaller streets and lanes, which are mostly in a very dirty state. It contains 311 houses, of which 165 are in the parish of Monkstown, and the remainder in that of Marmullane; the parish church of Marmullane, a Wesleyan Methodist meeting-house, and a R. C. chapel, erected in 1832, a commodious and handsome building; two schools, and a dispensary. Petty sessions are held every Friday, and it is a constabulary police station. Its salubrity is attested by the longevity of the inhabitants: it is said to be no uncommon circumstance that people of 80 years of age are in rude health and earning their livelihood by labour; few have suffered during the visitation of contagious diseases; and, out of a large population, during the prevalence of cholera, in 1832, only 60, and those very aged and infirm, were afflicted. A large dry dock has just been constructed by Mr. Brown, by which it is expected that the trade, which principally consists in ship-building, will increase considerably; much employment is afforded to the labouring classes by the discharging of the cargoes of all large vessels bound for Cork, the river up to Cork not being navigable for those above 400 or 500 tons' burden. The ferry to Great Island and Cove is at the eastern extremity of the town, and the thoroughfare during the summer months is very great: the want of a steam-boat to transport passengers and carriages having been much felt, the St. George's Steam-Packet Company have lately built a very elegant pier, under the direction of G. R. Pain, Esq., of Cork, where their own packets can lie alongside in all weathers and discharge their passengers or cargoes at all times, even during the lowest ebb tide; and, at the quays adjoining the dry dock, the largest ships can lie or anchor in the channel in 20 fathoms of water. Connected with this dock is a shipbuilding establishment, where two or three vessels are always on the stocks, furnishing employment to a great number of men. Near the Ferry point is a rope-walk, with suitable buildings and machinery. Since the establishment of this dock and ship-yard, several spirited merchants of Cork have become shipowners, and now carry on an extensive trade in their own vessels, which, before, was principally done by strange ships. Spring tides rise 16 feet at the quay.

The intercourse between this place and Cove is kept up by the ferry; on the other side is an excellent level road all the way to Cove, a distance of two miles. A new and excellent line of road has been lately completed around the precipitous shores of the bay, leading to Monkstown. Many boats were formerly employed here in fishing, which has nearly ceased, being engrossed by the men of Cove, whence the inhabitants of Passage obtain their principal supply. Upwards of 100 covered cars, called jingles, are engaged almost daily in the communication between Passage and Cork; they carry four inside, and the charge is only 2s. 6d. for the entire vehicle, or in proportion for single passengers. Steam-boats sail and return several times daily, and several small boats constantly pass and repass. A fund has been established here for the support, or assistance, of poor room-keepers, whose rent is paid, and who receive coal, potatoes, &c., during the winter: it is liberally supported by voluntary subscriptions among the resident gentry"

Irish political leader Charles Stuart Parnell once made a speech from a building in the centre of the town. Later on in history the town was directly affected by the events of the Irish Civil War 1922-23. The dock was one of the contentious Treaty Ports which the British retained for use by the Royal Navy under the Anglo-Irish Treaty. While it was not directly named in the document, it was included in the Queenstown town docks (which are very near as the crow flies). The Ports were one of the areas of disagreement over the treaty that led to civil war breaking out between supporters and opponents of the treaty. In the war itself, Passage West saw a large scale landing of Free State (pro-treaty) troops on the 2nd of August 1922 as part of a wider offensive. These 1,500 men, well equipped with artillery and armour, went on to re-take Cork city from the armed republican troops who were holding it. 

Tourism Sections of the former railway line from Cork to Passage West and on to Carrigaline and Crosshaven have been converted to a walking and cycling route. Many sections, such as the rock near Monkstown are segregated from road traffic and the amenity is well used. 

Images of Passage West

Satellite image of Cork harbour showing the location of Passage West (© 2016 TerraMetrics , edited by

Glenbrook Hill, Passage West is quite scenic; the trees, inset postbox, differing house styles, and it is in a 50km speed zone, so it is comparatively safe for pedestrians (© 2016

The Carrigole (Great Island) - Glenbrook (Passage West) car ferry crosses only a few hundred metres of water, but saves up to 30 minutes, as the next "bridging point" of the River Lee is the Lee Tunnel (© 2016

During the rush hour a second ferry comes on duty, here it is seen travelling from the direction of Cobh to its station (© 2016

A modern railing seperates the two eras of Passage West; The modern stylish cobblestone that meets an apartment building, and the past functional bollard and steps (© 2016

More apartments (© 2016

County Cork (Contae Chorcaí in Irish) is the most southwesterly and the largest of the modern counties of Ireland. The county is often referred to as the "Rebel County" because it has often taken a position in major conflicts different to that of most of Ireland. The county's tourist attractions include the Blarney Stone and Cobh (formerly Queenstown) which was the Titanic's last port of call. The remote west of the county, known as West Cork, is a popular destination for tourists, who visit the small villages and islands including Sherkin, Clear, and Dursey and on the mainland Mizen Head which is the "southwesternmost point in Ireland".

Passage West is located in South Cork, near enough to Cork City to be a dormitory area.

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