George Hook is something of an institution in Ireland. The Cork City native presents one of the best known drivetime shows on Irish radio, The Right Hook, which is broadcast each weekday on Newstalk. Aside from this George brings his larger than life character to our television screens in advance of each major rugby match, particularly Irish internationals. He has a lot of pedigree in this area, having coached Connacht, London Irish and perhaps most impressively the United States Eagles, a team he led to the first ever Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 1987. Know Thy Place director Colm Moloney travelled to Dublin yesterday to meet George for a pre-recording of his Saturday morning show, Hook’s Saturday Sit In, to present him with a chart for his place, and discuss the product on air. Colm takes up the story…
It was with some trepidation that this media newbie went off yesterday morning to meet the power and the glory (and indeed the National Institution) that is George Hook. We just completed George’s chart for the street in Cork City where he lived until the age of ten. I needn’t have worried. George is a great guy. His enthusiasm for both Cork and new business ideas is contagious.
George’s chart was an unusual one for us in that it is the first truly urban context that we have researched. The results are fantastic and demonstrate to us that the Know Thy Place product is the perfect means of tracing the origins and development of your street. In particular the historic maps available for urban areas tend to be better than for rural landscapes and can improve the resolution of our work for the post-medieval period. George lived in Albert Road in Cork which is just outside the Viking and medieval town centres. However it is in the post-medieval period when George’s street becomes prominent. In the mid 18th century the site of Albert Road was part of the south channel of the River Lee. A navigation wall was built to the north of George’s place and the resulting dredging operations led to the reclamation of the land on which Albert Road was built. The terrace of houses on Albert Road were built for ‘artisans’; tradesmen who worked on the docks. A major building which was constructed on the street in the mid 19th century was Cork city’s first electricity generating station, which powered the city’s trams and street lights. By a bizarre accident a community of Jewish emigrants ended up in Albert Road in the closing decades of the 19th century and the area became known colloquially as ‘Jewtown’. The Jewish community all came from the same small village in Lithuania and had intended to go to New York, but took the boat to Cork by mistake!
My interview with George went really well and I left the studio feeling enthused by our new business venture (Know Thy Place Ltd), that Cork is in fact the real capital of Ireland and that George Hook should be the President of both Cork and Ireland! The interview will be broadcast tomorrow morning (Saturday 5th March) 2011 between 10 and 11 am, click here to tune in.