Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power
Kilkenny is the county town of County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in south-east Ireland. It is built on both banks of the River Nore; the city is administered by a borough council, a level below that of city council in the local government of the state, although the Local Government Act 2001 allows for "the continued use of the description city". The 2016 census gave the total population of Kilkenny as 26,512. In 2009 the City of Kilkenny celebrated its 400th year since the granting of city status in 1609. Kilkenny is a tourist destination, its environs include historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House, Shee Alms House, Black Abbey, St. Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. Francis Abbey, Grace's Castle, St. John's Priory. Kilkenny is known for its craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums. Annual events include Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Cat Laughs comedy festival and music at the Kilkenny Roots Festival.
Kilkenny began with an early sixth century ecclesiastical foundation within the kingdom of Ossory. Following Norman invasion of Ireland, Kilkenny Castle and a series of walls were built to protect the burghers of what became a Norman merchant town. William Marshall, Lord of Leinster, gave Kilkenny a charter as a town in 1207. By the late thirteenth century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irish control; the Statutes of Kilkenny passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed to curb the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1609 King James I of England granted Kilkenny a Royal Charter giving it the status of a city. Following the Rebellion of 1641, the Irish Catholic Confederation known as the "Confederation of Kilkenny", was based in Kilkenny and lasted until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649. Kilkenny was a brewing centre from the late seventeenth century, still houses a number of breweries; the Heritage Council offices are at Church Lane. The seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossory is at St Mary's Cathedral and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossory is at St Canice's Cathedral.
Kilkenny is the anglicised version of the Irish Cill Chainnigh, meaning Cell/Church of Cainneach or Canice. This relates to a church built in honour of St. Canice on the hill now containing St. Canice's Cathedral and the round tower; this seems to be the first major settlement. The early Christian origin of the round tower suggests an early ecclesiastical foundation at Kilkenny; the Annals of the Four Masters recorded Kilkenny in 1085. Prior to this time the early 6th century territory was known as Osraighe, referring to the whole district or the capital; the Four Masters entry was the first instance. Cill Chainnigh was a major monastic centre from at least the eighth century. There is no mention of Cill Chainnigh in the lives of Cainnech of Aghaboe, Ciarán of Saighir or any of the early annals of Ireland suggesting that Cill Chainnigh was not of ancient civil importance. Kilkenny is described as a city in the Local Government Act 2001: Kilkenny's foundation began with an early sixth century ecclesiastical settlement, with a church built in honour of St. Canice.
Now St. Canice's Cathedral, this was a major monastic centre from at least the eighth century; the Annals of the Four Masters recorded the first reference Cill Chainnigh in 1085. Prehistoric activity has been recorded, suggesting intermittent settlement activity in the area in the Mesolithic and Bronze Age. Information on the history of Kilkenny can be found from newspapers, letters, drawings and archaeology. Kilkenny is documented in manuscripts from the 13th century onwards and one of the most important of these is Liber Primus Kilkenniensis; the Kings of Ossory had residence around Cill Chainnigh. The seat of diocese of Kingdom of Osraige was moved from Aghaboe to Cill Chainnigh. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, Richard Strongbow, as Lord of Leinster, established a castle near modern-day Kilkenny Castle. William Marshall began the development of the town of Kilkenny and a series of walls to protect the burghers. By the late thirteenth century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irish control.
The original ecclesiastical centre at St. Canice's Cathedral became known as Irishtown and the Anglo-Norman borough inside the wall came to be known as Hightown. A remarkable early trial for witchcraft was that of Kilkenny resident Alice Kyteler instigated by the Bishop of Ossory, Richard de Ledrede, in 1324; the Hiberno-Norman presence in Kilkenny was shaken by the Black Death, which arrived in 1348. The Statutes of Kilkenny passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed to curb the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1609 King James I of England granted Kilkenny a Royal Charter giving it the status of a city. Following the Rebellion of 1641, the Irish Catholic Confederation known as the "Confederation of Kilkenny", was based in Kilkenny and lasted until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649. James II of England spent most of the winter months from November 1689 until January 1690 at Kilkenny, residing in the castle; the Kilkenny Design Workshops were opened in 1965 and in 1967 the Marquess of Ormonde presented Kilkenny Castle to the people of Kilkenny.
Today, it has a lively cultural scene, with annual events including the Kilkenny Arts Week Festival in the last two weeks of August, the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival at the beginning of June. Kilkenny is where the Irish ale, Smithwick's, was first brewed. There is now a brewery tour on the foundations of the original brewery. Kilkenny is referred to as the Marble City, people from Kilkenny are referred to
Belltable Arts Centre
Belltable is a multi-disciplinary arts venue located at 69 O'Connell Street, Ireland. The facility houses a 220-seat theatre/cinema, art gallery, box office, meeting rooms, rehearsal studios and offices. Through "Belltable:Connect" it aims to support the professional development of theatre artists; this includes the hire of rehearsal spaces, hotdesking facilities and meeting room spaces and mentorship programmes. The facility opened in 1981 in what was known as The Coliseum and the Redemptorist Confraternity Hall, it was named after Henry Hubert Belltable, a Belgian army officer who founded the Holy Confraternity in Limerick. In February 2013 it was announced; the liquidation followed a major €1 million refurbishment of the centre. A budget overrun of €300,000 is believed to have been the cause of the company going into liquidation; the centre closed in January 2013. The Belltable theatre reopened in 2016 under management of the Lime Tree Theatre due to a grant from the Arts Council. Official website "Belltable:Connect"
Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included, it is home to the nation's capital city and the nation's most populous city, Ontario's provincial capital. Ontario is bordered by the province of Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, Quebec to the east and northeast, to the south by the U. S. states of Minnesota, Ohio and New York. All of Ontario's 2,700 km border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the west at Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system; these are the Rainy River, the Pigeon River, Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, Ontario, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall, Ontario.
There is only about 1 km of land border made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border. Ontario is sometimes conceptually divided into Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario; the great majority of Ontario's population and arable land is in the south. In contrast, the larger, northern part of Ontario is sparsely populated with cold winters and heavy forestation; the province is named after Lake Ontario, a term thought to be derived from Ontarí:io, a Huron word meaning "great lake", or skanadario, which means "beautiful water" in the Iroquoian languages. Ontario has about 250,000 freshwater lakes; the province consists of three main geographical regions: The thinly populated Canadian Shield in the northwestern and central portions, which comprises over half the land area of Ontario. Although this area does not support agriculture, it is rich in minerals and in part covered by the Central and Midwestern Canadian Shield forests, studded with lakes and rivers. Northern Ontario is subdivided into two sub-regions: Northeastern Ontario.
The unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast swampy and sparsely forested. Southern Ontario, further sub-divided into four regions. Despite the absence of any mountainous terrain in the province, there are large areas of uplands within the Canadian Shield which traverses the province from northwest to southeast and above the Niagara Escarpment which crosses the south; the highest point is Ishpatina Ridge at 693 metres above sea level in Temagami, Northeastern Ontario. In the south, elevations of over 500 m are surpassed near Collingwood, above the Blue Mountains in the Dundalk Highlands and in hilltops near the Madawaska River in Renfrew County; the Carolinian forest zone covers most of the southwestern region of the province. The temperate and fertile Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley in the south is part of the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests ecoregion where the forest has now been replaced by agriculture and urban development. A well-known geographic feature is part of the Niagara Escarpment.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the Atlantic Ocean as far inland as Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. Northern Ontario occupies 87 percent of the surface area of the province. Point Pelee is a peninsula of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, the southernmost extent of Canada's mainland. Pelee Island and Middle Island in Lake Erie extend farther. All are south of 42°N – farther south than the northern border of California; the climate of Ontario varies by location. It is affected by three air sources: cold, arctic air from the north; the effects of these major air masses on temperature and precipitation depend on latitude, proximity to major bodies of water and to a small extent, terrain relief. In general, most of Ontario's climate is classified as humid continental. Ontario has three main climatic regions; the surrounding Great Lakes influence the climatic region of southern Ontario. During the fall and winter months, heat stored from the lakes is released, moderating the climate near the shores of the lakes.
This gives some parts of southern Ontario milder winters than mid-continental areas at lower latitudes. Parts of Southwestern Ontario have a moderate humid continental climate, similar to that of the inland Mid-Atlantic states and the Great Lakes portion of the Midwestern United States; the region has warm to cold winters. Annual precipitation is well distributed throughout the year. Most of this region lies in the lee of the Great Lakes. In December 2010, the snowbelt set a new record when it was h
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000
Limerick is a city in County Limerick, Ireland. It is located in the Mid-West Region and is part of the province of Munster. Limerick City and County Council is the local authority for the city; the city lies on the River Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King's Island, bounded by the Shannon and the Abbey River. Limerick is located at the head of the Shannon Estuary where the river widens before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 94,192, Limerick is the third most populous urban area in the state, the fourth most populous city on the island of Ireland; the Limerick City Metropolitan District had a population of 104,952. On 1 June 2014 following the merger of Limerick City and County Council a new Metropolitan District of Limerick was formed within the united council which extended the city area; the Metropolitan District includes the city urban area and extends outwards towards Patrickswell in the west and Castleconnell in the east. The City Metropolitan Area however excludes city suburbs located within County Clare.
Limerick is one of the constituent cities of the Cork–Limerick–Galway corridor which has a population of 1 million people. It is located at a strategic position on the River Shannon with four main crossing points near the city centre. To the south of the city is the Golden Vale, an area of rich pastureland. Much of the city's industry was based on this rich agricultural hinterland and it is noted for Limerick Ham. Luimneach referred to the general area along the banks of the Shannon Estuary known as Loch Luimnigh; the earliest settlement in the city, Inis Sibhtonn, was the original name for King's Island during the pre-Viking and Viking eras. This island was called Inis an Ghaill Duibh, "The Dark- Foreigner's Island"; the name is recorded in Viking sources as Hlymrekr. The city dates from 812, the earliest probable settlement. Antiquity's map-maker, produced in 150 the earliest map of Ireland, showing a place called "Regia" at the same site as King's Island. History records an important battle involving Cormac mac Airt in 221 and a visit by St. Patrick in 434 to baptise an Eóganachta king, Carthann the Fair.
Saint Munchin, the first bishop of Limerick died in 652, indicating the city was a place of some note. In 812 the Vikings sailed up the Shannon and pillaged the city, burned the monastery of Mungret but were forced to flee when the Irish attacked and killed many of their number; the Normans redesigned the city in the 12th century and added much of the most notable architecture, such as King John's Castle and St Mary's Cathedral. In early medieval times Limerick was at the centre of the Kingdom of Thomond which corresponds to the present day County Clare, the Kingdom included North Kerry and parts of South Offaly. One of the kingdom's most notable kings was ancestor of the O'Brien Clan of Dalcassians; the word Thomond is synonymous with the region and is retained in place names such as Thomondgate, Thomond Bridge & Thomond Park. Limerick in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was called the most beautiful city in Ireland; the English-born judge Luke Gernon, a resident of Limerick, wrote in 1620 that at his first sight of the city he had been amazed at its magnificence: "lofty buildings of marble, like the Colleges in Oxford".
During the civil wars of the 17th century the city played a pivotal role, besieged by Oliver Cromwell in 1651 and twice by the Williamites in the 1690s. The Treaty of Limerick ended the Williamite war in Ireland, fought between supporters of the Catholic King James II and the Protestant King William of Orange; the treaty offered toleration to Catholicism and full legal rights to Catholics that swore an oath of loyalty to William III and Mary II. The Treaty was of national significance as it ensured closer British and Protestant dominance over Ireland; the articles of the Treaty protecting Catholic rights were not passed by the Protestant Irish Parliament which rather updated the Penal Laws against Catholics which had major implications for Irish history. Reputedly the Treaty was signed on the Treaty Stone, an irregular block of limestone which once served as a mounting block for horses; this stone is now displayed on a pedestal at Clancy Strand. Because of the treaty, Limerick is sometimes known as the Treaty City.
This turbulent period earned the city its motto: Urbs antiqua fuit studisque asperrima belli. The peace times that followed the turmoil of the late 17th Century allowed the city to prosper through trade in the late 18th century. During this time Limerick Port established itself as one of Ireland's major commercial ports exporting agricultural produce from one of Ireland's most fertile areas, the Golden Vale, to Britain and America; this increase in trade and wealth amongst the city's merchant classes saw a rapid expansion of the city as Georgian Limerick began to take shape. This gave the city its present-day look including the extensive terraced streets of fine Georgian townhouses which remain in the city centre today; the Waterford and Limerick Railway linked the city to the Dublin–Cork railway line in 1848 and to Waterford in 1853. The opening of a number of secondary railways in the subsequent decades developed Limerick as a regional centre of communications. However, the economic downturn in the European conflicts of the French Revolution and Napoleonic eras, following the Act of Union 1800, the impact of the Great Irish Famine of 1848 caused much of the 19th Century to be a more
Cork is a city in south-west Ireland, in the province of Munster, which had a population of 125,657 in 2016. The city is on the River Lee which splits into two channels at the western end and divides the city centre into islands, they reconverge at the eastern end where the quays and docks along the river banks lead outwards towards Lough Mahon and Cork Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world. A monastic settlement, Cork was expanded by Viking invaders around 915; the city's charter was granted by Prince John, as Lord of Ireland, in 1185. Cork city was once walled, the remnants of the old medieval town centre can be found around South and North Main streets; the third largest city by population on the island of Ireland, the city's cognomen of "the rebel city" originates in its support for the Yorkist cause in the Wars of the Roses. Corkonians refer to the city as "the real capital", a reference to its opposition to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in the Irish Civil War. Cork was a monastic settlement, reputedly founded by Saint Finbarr in the 6th century.
Cork achieved an urban character at some point between 915 and 922 when Norseman settlers founded a trading port. It has been proposed that, like Dublin, Cork was an important trading centre in the global Scandinavian trade network; the ecclesiastical settlement continued alongside the Viking longphort, with the two developing a type of symbiotic relationship. The city's charter was granted by Prince John, as Lord of Ireland, in 1185; the city was once walled, some wall sections and gates remain today. For much of the Middle Ages, Cork city was an outpost of Old English culture in the midst of a predominantly hostile Gaelic countryside and cut off from the English government in the Pale around Dublin. Neighbouring Gaelic and Hiberno-Norman lords extorted "Black Rent" from the citizens to keep them from attacking the city; the present extent of the city has exceeded the medieval boundaries of the Barony of Cork City. Together, these baronies are located between the Barony of Barrymore to the east, Muskerry East to the west and Kerrycurrihy to the south.
The city's municipal government was dominated by about 12–15 merchant families, whose wealth came from overseas trade with continental Europe – in particular the export of wool and hides and the import of salt and wine. The medieval population of Cork was about 2,100 people, it suffered a severe blow in 1349 when half the townspeople died of plague when the Black Death arrived in the town. In 1491, Cork played a part in the English Wars of the Roses when Perkin Warbeck a pretender to the English throne, landed in the city and tried to recruit support for a plot to overthrow Henry VII of England; the mayor of Cork and several important citizens went with Warbeck to England but when the rebellion collapsed they were all captured and executed. The title of Mayor of Cork was established by royal charter in 1318, the title was changed to Lord Mayor in 1900 following the knighthood of the incumbent Mayor by Queen Victoria on her Royal visit to the city. Since the nineteenth century, Cork had been a Irish nationalist city, with widespread support for Irish Home Rule and the Irish Parliamentary Party, but from 1910 stood behind William O'Brien's dissident All-for-Ireland Party.
O'Brien published the Cork Free Press. In the War of Independence, the centre of Cork was burnt down by the British Black and Tans, in an event known as the "Burning of Cork". and saw fierce fighting between Irish guerrillas and UK forces. During the Irish Civil War, Cork was for a time held by anti-Treaty forces, until it was retaken by the pro-Treaty National Army in an attack from the sea; the climate of Cork, like the rest of Ireland, is mild oceanic and changeable with abundant rainfall and a lack of temperature extremes. Cork lies in plant Hardiness zone 9b. Met Éireann maintains a climatological weather station at Cork Airport, a few kilometres south of the city; the airport is at an altitude of 151 metres and temperatures can differ by a few degrees between the airport and the city itself. There are smaller synoptic weather stations at UCC and Clover Hill. Due to its position along the west coast, Cork city is subject to occasional flooding. Temperatures below 0 °C or above 25 °C are rare.
Cork Airport records an average of 1,227.9 millimetres of precipitation annually, most of, rain. The airport records sleet a year; the low altitude of the city, moderating influences of the harbour, mean that lying snow rarely occurs in the city itself. There are on average 204 "rainy" days a year, of which there are 73 days with "heavy rain". Cork is a foggy city, with an average of 97 days of fog a year, most common during mornings and during winter. Despite this, Cork is one of Ireland's sunniest cities, with an average of 3.9 hours of sunshine every day and only having 67 days where there is no "recordable sunshine" during and around winter. The Cork School of Music and the Crawford College of Art and Design provide a throughput of new blood, as do the active theatre components of several courses at University College Cork. Important elements in the cultural life of the city are: Corcadorca Theatre Company, of which Cillian Murphy was a troupe member prior to Hollywood fame.