Map of Katie's World

Cork or Corcaigh means “Marsh” in Gaelic,  and that is because the city of Cork is built on a primeval marsh in between the north and south branches of the River Lee.  Occasionally, when tides are high and there have been days of persistent rain, the streets still flood like Venice.

Some of the main thoroughfares, like Grand Parade and the principal shopping street St Patrick’s Street, were built on arches over minor tributaries of the river.  Cork is one of the deepest ports in the world, and has attracted seafarers for centuries,  including the Vikings in the year 820,  who first came to pillage and then to stay.  Sir Francis Drake regularly docked his fleet here.  From humble beginnings as a Celtic hamlet built around the abbey of Cork’s patron saint,  Saint Finbarr, it grew into Ireland’s second-largest city, with its merchants trading all around the world.

Because of this,  Cork’s slang and accent is a unique mixture of many different languages,  some of its historic, and distinctively different from other parts of Ireland.

There are extraordinary differences in social background within only a few kilometres, although some parts of the north inner city like Knocknaheeny are gradually becoming more gentrified.  To the north of the river, the terrain rises steeply, and as it does so, the house prices and the accents do, too.  The geography of Cork is a major factor in many of the crimes that Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire has to tackle, as this map illustrates.