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Exhibitions at Cork Public Museum 2005

The Cork International Exhibition 1902-1903

Venue: The Dalton Gallery, Cork Public Museum

Date: 9 February – March 21 2005

The fish ponds at the Great Exhibition

The fish ponds at the Great Exhibition.

It is fitting that Cork was designated European Capital of Culture in 2005. The eyes of Europe and the world were on Cork and it provided us with the ideal opportunity to look back over our history of organising prestigious events of international importance.

The Industrial Hall 

The Industrial Hall

It was just over a century ago that the eyes of the world were last drawn to Cork. On May 1, 1902, The Cork International Exhibition was formally opened to the public. The brain-child of Edward Fitzgerald, the exhibition was the culmination of two years of work by Fitzgerald and the organising committee. It attracted exhibitors and visitors from as far away as the US, Canada and Japan. So popular was the event that it re-opened in 1903 and was visited by the King and Queen of England that August. Nearly two million people in total visited the exhibition. The exhibition site stood on the grounds of the present day Fitzgerald Park. It also included the grounds that are now the sports grounds of UCC as well as the Cork County Cricket Grounds.

Great Exhib: The Official Programme

The Official Programme.

The exhibition was spectacular and was unlike anything ever seen before in Cork. It contained such diverse displays as industry, art, horticulture, fisheries, and ceramics. There was also a huge social element to the exhibitions; extravagant lunches, gala dinners and balls were a very frequent occurrence. One of the biggest attractions of the Cork International Exhibition was the “Switch back Railway”, a pre-cursor of the modern day rollercoaster. Similar pleasure rides, in particular the “Water Chute” were also enormously popular with the Cork crowds at the exhibition.

Great Exhib: The Water Chute

The Water Chute.

In commemorating this event, Cork Public Museum attempted to give a flavour of the excitement, glamour and prestige felt by the people of Cork at the turn of the 20th century in hosting this spectacular exhibition.

Great Exhib: Menu


Great Exhib: Cup and Saucer Souvenir 

Cup and Saucer Souvenir.

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