In 2014 Rubicon Heritage were commissioned by Cork County Council to undertake an audit of heritage assets owned by the County Council. The audit was intended to assess a wide variety of these properties by providing an overall background/description of the selected sites and identifying the main heritage characteristics and status/functionality of each. We have compiled a series of blogs based on the information gathered during the audit to highlight a number of the selected sites and the amazing archaeology in County Cork. This week we look at Midleton Library. The town of Midleton is situated 22km to the east of Cork City astride the main road N25 to Waterford. Midleton Library is located on the Main Street of the town. Although currently in use as a library, the building in question was originally constructed in 1789 by Viscount Midleton as a market house. It was also later used as a town hall. It is one of the most striking buildings in centre of Midleton.
It has five bays and is two stories in height. The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage describes the building as having a hipped-slate roof surmounted by a square-plan cupola, replete with cast iron weather vane. The roof also has a limestone parapet with a carved cornice. The walls at first floor level are of roughly dressed limestone, while those on the ground floor are of dressed limestone. The round-headed openings on the ground floor have cut limestone surrounds, while the south end bay also has a spoked fanlight over timber panelled double-leaf doors. Despite the fact that there have been some alterations to the structure, such as the extensions to the rear and the installation of uPVC windows, the building still retains the majority of its original character.
When George Broderick, the 4th Viscount Midleton constructed the building in 1789 it was originally referred to as the ‘Assembly-room and market’. The building appears to have been designed by architect John Morrison in 1784 (Dictionary of Irish Architects).
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