Watch: Historic bar demolished as debate on the future of Cork's docklands ignites

The Sextant opened in 1877, close to the West Cork railway line, and was run first as a hotel before becoming a pub in the early 1900s. 
Watch: Historic bar demolished as debate on the future of Cork's docklands ignites
The demolition of The Sextant Bar, Cork to make way for a 25 storey residential 'build to rent' scheme. Pictures: Larry Cummins

One of Cork's most famous pubs was demolished last night as the city prepares to build one of Ireland's tallest residential buildings.

The demolition of what used to be the Sextant has sparked debate locally on Cork's heritage and what the future of the city looks like. 

The Sextant opened in 1877, close to the West Cork railway line, and was run first as a hotel before becoming a pub in the early 1900s. 

There have been a number of modifications to its interior and exterior over the years and the building retained little of its original internal historic character. Last drinks were served in February 2019.

Crowds watched the demolition of The Sextant Bar
Crowds watched the demolition of The Sextant Bar

Historian and city councillor, Kieran McCarthy said people accept that the city needs to evolve.

“But a lot of the buildings with character are being demolished,” he said.

“This was one of several buildings which added to the character of the city. And as development moves into the docklands, we don’t want to see other buildings of character like it disappear.

“We need to have a bigger conversation about the city’s docklands, about retaining its architectural heritage and not just replacing it with glass boxes."

Green Party Cllr Dan Boyle said he was saddened by the demolition of the building in an Architectural Conservation Area.

“It is an important streetscape that will not be enhanced by what replaces it,” he said. “It’s too late for The Sextant but I will fight to ensure every structure listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) is automatically listed in the Cork City Development Plan.”

- With reporting from Eoin English

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