The photograph shows Carey's Lane as it was in 1939. The Huguenot graveyard is behind the wall on the right. Carey's Lane was the site of the original church of SS. Peter and Paul's which was then known as Carey's Lane Chapel. It was opened for worship in 1776. During the time of the Penal Laws it was common for Catholic churches to be built on side streets. The Carey's Lane Chapel was later replaced by the present church of SS. Peter and Paul's.
Near the present church of SS. Peter and Paul's Bolster's bookshop stood in the early nineteenth century. On 9 August 1825 the bookshop was visited by Sir Walter Scott, the most famous novelist of his generation. He was accompanied by Maria Edgeworth, the distinguished Irish novelist, and his son-in-law and future biographer J.G. Lockhart. A young Cork artist, Daniel MacLise, sketched Scott and presented the sketch to him. Scott was so impressed that he was instrumental in having MacLise admitted to the Royal Academy in London. MacLise went on to become one of the greatest Irish painters. The shop visible in Paul Street is at number 39 which was owned by Angelo Bernardi who was a statue maker.
Carey's Lane and the nearby French Church Street were pedestrianized in the late 1980s and extensively redeveloped. The streets are now among the busiest in Cork city with many cafés, pubs and fashion stores, a marked contrast to the rather forlorn aspect depicted in the photograph. The area around Carey's Lane and French Church street is now called the Huguenot Quarter.
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