Christmas Party 2003

Kent Station
Lovers Walk
Country Club
Montenotte Care Centre
St. Lukes Cross
Arbutus Lodge
Lower Rd.

Roche's Buildings

Social and Resources Centre
Roche's Buildings
Richmond Hill

Many people within the Parish of St. Patricks would have heard of Roche's Buildings, but if asked, only but a few could say where Roche's Buildings are, who was Roche, how did this group of buildings come about and, what is the Social and Resource Centre.

Roche's Buildings and Sutton's Buildings are a group of Artisan dwellings located within a small district called Rathmore Park,street mass and situated off the Old Youghal Road. Directly above Rathmore Park are the sports grounds of Collins's Barracks, while to the North and immediately outside the Parish boundary, lies the military cemetery, Assumption Road, and the Convent of the Sisters of the Assumption. There are a further group of buildings in nearby Blackpool called Madden's Buildings, dated 1886.

Roche, Sutton and Madden were former Lords Mayor of Cork City. At the time of construction of these buildings, just post Famine years, the centre of employment in the area was Murphy's Brewery, where a church/chapel existed from 1829 to 1939. There was plenty of work at that time between the Brewery and Victoria Barracks as then named. Work could also be found in The Fever Hospital, which to those would can recall, was down the steps from the Marian Stores to Marian Court. This renowned hospital ceased in the mid 70's and is now demolished. Local residents also found employment in the former North Infirmary, now converted to Shandon Court Hotel. Those with interest in historical buildings should note the unusual and characteristic semi-circular, yellow brick extensions to the building erected during it's days as a hospital. This extension is known as the Gibbling Memorial Buildings, named after the benefactor. The buildings, known as Roche's Buildings had one small living room, a kitchen and two garret style upper bedrooms and were built by army personnel for their own use. The dwellings were on-street and had a small rear yard which contained a toilet outhouse. There are about 150 of these type houses in the community.

In 1914, at the outbreak of World War 1, this area was a hive of activity. A Recruiting Office of the British Army was established in Blackpool and many residents of the buildings went to a war for the ‘liberation of small nations'

Following the uprising of 1916, the subsequent Civil War, the withdrawal of the British, and the ending of Occupation, the Barracks was renamed Collins's Barracks in memory of Michael Collins.

Easter BonnetsThe residents of the community would be known as hardworking people, with a great sense of neighborhood values. The children of the area played in safety on the streets, the sports grounds associated with the Barracks, the undeveloped ‘Glen' and the local Christian Brothers Schools.

Following the 2nd. World War, and down through the subsequent years, the area began to slowly deteriorate. The Cork Corporation, who had obtained the properties under the Private Dwellings Act, were now the owners of the Buildings. In conjunction with other cities, Cork Corporation were beginning to develop their new Housing Estates. This type of low cost housing, using the Corporation's own direct labour, created employment, and also homes for a growing population. Many of the residents and family units of the Buildings obtained transfers to the larger Corporation houses. These houses were provided with front and back gardens and were obviously very attractive to those who in the past relied on concrete streets and yards as their recreational patch.

Sr. Patricia O'Donovan SRN, of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, returned from Wales to her native Cork City around 1982/83, and took up a position as a Community Nurse. At that time, the Southern Health Board provided area social grants, the Rathmore area being part of Sr. Patricia's responsibility. She found the area in a disturbing state, with many social, health and welfare issues and, associated loneliness, the former community pride and spirit having being disrupted with the supplanting of original families with new more transient families.

St. Patricia set about establishing a focal point for the Community. Her determined effort brought about a fusion of minds of both Southern Health Board and Cork Corporation officials and resulted in the allocation of number 61, Roches Buildings for social purposes.

Subsequently and by chance, it was found that this particular building was the birth place and former home of the noted Cork artist and sculptor, Fr. Aonghus Buckley O.P., (1913-78). A suitably inscribed plaque is now located in what was his family's original living room.

Since the initial acquisition of no. 61, a further three adjoining houses have been added to the Centre. All of the refurbishment works were undertaken under the auspices of FAS, the Employment and Training Authority, engaging the services of a number of building firms. This was all possible by virtue of Cork Corporation finance and the Southern Health Board grants. These authorities continue to financially assist in the maintenance and operation of the Centre

The Centre now comprises, on ground floor, a large meeting hall, a kitchen cum dining area, an adjoining room used alternatively as a preschool or creche and a small laundry/drying room. The amalgamated upper floor provides a committee room and storage facilities. Apart from the general upgrading, the joint building has been re-roofed, PVC lower windows and Velox roof lights inserted, rewired and the building heated by guarded gas fires.

Activities at the Centre are varied and wide and include a morning preschool, Bingo evenings, social events, local celebratory parties, outings, Women's Forum, Neighbourhood Watch and also, as the focus of democracy, a Voting Centre for General and Local Elections, and Referendum.

The whole development, for that is what it is, reflects great credit to the vision and determination of Sr. Patricia, the willingness of public authorities and the ever enthusiasm and spirit of the Centre's hard working Committee.

Dan Cullinane...............................................Ciaran Black



One would have to travel far to find a more diverse parish, from the Silversprings Hotel, through the lofty and affluent Montenotte, to the boundaries of historic Blackpool. And it is at that corner where the Roches Buildings Social and Resource Centre can be found.