Social and Resources Centre
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.
and Sutton's Buildings are a group of Artisan dwellings located
within a small district called Rathmore Park,
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.
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
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'
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.