Coordinates: The Mardyke (Irish: An Mhuirdíog) is an area in Cork city, on the northern half of the long western part of the island formed by the two channels of the River Lee near the city center. It was historically left as open space, because the land along the north channel of the river is prone to flooding. From east to west these open spaces are: Presentation Brothers College, a boy's secondary school; the Mardyke ground of Cork County Cricket Club; Fitzgerald Park, which includes Cork Public Museum; and the Athletic Grounds of University College Cork (UCC).
The original dyke was constructed in 1719 by Edward Webber, the city clerk, who owned what were then marshy islands west of the walled city. He drained and landscaped the area, building a dyke topped by a straight promenade leading to a redbrick teahouse in Dutch style. The area became fashionable and the promenade was dubbed the Red House Walk or Meer Dyke Walk after the Meer Dyke in Amsterdam. Dutch influence was strong among the Protestant Ascendancy in the decades after the Williamite War in Ireland. After Webber's death the land was bought and further developed by future mayor James Morrison. The route of the promenade corresponds to the modern streets Dyke Parade and Mardyke Walk.
The Mardyke is presumably meant in the first line of the second stanza of the well-known Irish folksong, I Know My Love, "There is a dance-hall in Maradyke [sic], Where my true love goes every night"
The Athletic Grounds includes sport and fitness facilities used by UCC's sports clubs, the general student body, and members of the public. The Mardyke Arena, an indoor sports centre opened in December 2001, contains a gymnasium, swimming pool and other facilities. It is the home court of UCC Demons, a basketball team affiliated with the College though not limited to students.
Outdoors, there are floodlit grass and all-weather pitches, used for soccer, rugby, Gaelic games, and hockey. Kayakers train in the adjacent North channel of the River Lee. There is a tartan track for athletics, where the Cork City Sports are held annually. The most notable performance came in the hammer throw on 3 July 1984, when Yuriy Sedykh and Sergey Litvinov broke the world record six times in one evening.
The Mardyke is also home to Sundays Well Lawn Tennis Club.
The Mardyke is the home ground of Cork County Cricket Club, who have played there since their formation in 1874. The ground has played host to three first-class matches in 1947, 1961 and 1973. All three involved Ireland playing Scotland. It too fell victim to the floods of 2009.
The Mardyke was formerly the chief venue in Cork city for association football (soccer), and home to Cork from 1929, Cork United, Cork Athletic and Cork Hibernians from 1957-62. A crowd of 18,000 watched a friendly match in 1939 between Ireland and Hungary, the first international played by the FAI outside Dublin. Later, the Mardyke was superseded by Flower Lodge and then Turners Cross.
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- "An Mhuirdíog". Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- About Cork County Cricket Club
- Cork Public Museum, Fitzgeralds Park, Cork
- McCarthy, Kieran. "4a. Challenges & Reclamation, Cork c.1690-c.1750". Cork Through my Eyes. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- Mardyke Arena official site
- UCC Demons Basketball Ireland
- Sports Facilities in UCC
- O'Brien, John (6 July 2008). "Cold War kings a world apart in record-breaking trip". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- Kelleher, Olivia (15 February 2010). "Cork sports centre damaged in floods to reopen today". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- "First-Class Matches played on Mardyke, Cork". CricketArchive. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- Niall Macsweeney (n.d.), A Record of League of Ireland Football 1921/2-1984/5. Basildon:Association of Football Statisticians.
- Byrne, Peter (1996). Football Association of Ireland: 75 years. Dublin: Sportsworld. p. 41. ISBN 1-900110-06-7.