An area of great historical significance
In mediaeval times, the North Main Street area was known as the suburb of Dungarvan. It occupied the north island of the city, while the South Main Street occupied the south island. The north and south islands were connected by a bridge built around 1190. The wall around the north island was not completed until the late 13th or early 14th century. Historians and archaeologists feel that the North Main Street area was not extensively inhabited until late in the 13th century. Over time, the North and South Main Streets together formed the central spine of Cork city, with lanes and plots running off the Main Street to the walls of the mediaeval city.
The raven banner was a flag, possibly totemic in nature, flown by various Viking chieftains and other Scandinavian rulers during the 9th, 10th and 11th centuries.
Since 1977, there have been several archaeological excavations in the South Main Street area which has revelaed Danish viking Age material. Among the most prominent of these finds are a trackway and oyster shell pits, discovered in 1977 on the site of what is now Bishop Lucey Park, foundations of a mid-twelth century sil-beam house, a central jearth, roof supports and broken pottery. Work by the Cork Main Drainage Scheme on the intersection of Washington Street and South Main Street in 2002 uncovered part of a late Viking Age Wattle house. In 2017 there was evidence found of a house dating from 1070 which places the development approximately 15 years before an urban layout began to emerge in Waterford making Cork ‘the oldest city in Ireland’.
Upper plaque, surviving from a time predating the premises standing there today, shows the Christian ‘IHS’ monogram above a coat of arms, and ‘Anno D[omi]ni 1606’.
Lower plaque has ‘Ireland Rising’, ‘Liberty Street’, and ‘1782’, celebrating the arching over of the nearby waterways and reflecting nationalist sentiments for political independence.
Interested in seeing images of the Raven Bar today