Knocknaheeny (Irish: Cnoc na hAoine, literally Hill of Friday) is a working-class suburb in Cork city, located north of the River Lee on hills overlooking the city. Translated from Irish, the name means Hill of Friday, thought by some to reference the hill upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. The area consists mainly of various estates, with terraced council housing.
Apple's headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa is located in Cork between Knocknaheeny and Hollyhill, employing about 3,000 people.
The Knocknaheeny Crest is blue and black in colour and has the Irish title Cnoc na hAoine which translates to Knocknaheeny. The Crest contains three images: the reservoir, a windmill, and a swallow. The three stars represent Knocknaheeny, Hollyhill and Knocknacullen.
In 1862, Griffith's Land Valuation Survey reported that fifteen families formed the lands of Knocknaheeny, Knocknacullen. They paid rent to the Lord of Cork. One family, Forrest, still farms land near Clogheen. Cattle grazed on what is now Harbour View Road and a windmill stood on the site of the present Killala Gardens.
In the early 1970s, Cork City Council, known then as Cork Corporation, began to develop housing estates on the countryside of Knocknaheeney. These were used to house and rehouse people from slightly older areas of the city, including those who grew up in neighbouring Churchfield, Farranree and Gurranabraher, who wished to remain close to their families. The older townlands had been named after plants; for instance Knocknaheeny (the Hill of the Friday/Rushes), Knocknacullen (Hill of Holly), Knockfree (the Hill of Heather) and Shanakiel (Old Wood or Foxes Wood). The Corporation named the terraces and avenues of modern Knocknaheeney after harbours and coastal areas around the country.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Knocknaheeny had a very young population. The local primary school, Scoil Mhuire ar Cnoc na hAoine (St. Mary's on the Hill), was granted extensions to cope with over-populated classrooms. Scoil Mhic Shuibhne (now Terence McSwiney Community College) was opened in 1979, the first VEC (Vocational Educational Committee) mixed school. By the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s, the school had a population of over 800 students. Like other local schools, enrollment has dropped and stabilized at under half that number, mainly due to changing demographics of an aging population and the Celtic tiger – an economic boom in Ireland from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s fueled by foreign investment – which enabled many families to relocate and purchase homes in newer estates in the Cork county region. As of 2009, approximately 4,500 people lived in Knocknaheeney.
Unemployment was high, in particular in the early to mid-1980s, due to the closure of several local industries, including Sunbeam, in Blackpool. Opportunities were limited for many young people to further their education at universities at that time, however there was a greater success rate for those attending post-leaving certificate courses, and attending Regional Technical College, Cork – now known as Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).
The area suffered from negative press, due to social problems and the problem of joyriding. People who grew up in the area in this period often claimed that their applications for jobs were refused because of where they were from, and people from outside the area generally had misconceptions of them. There was a high turnover of tenants in the area, though many of the original families still reside there.
Some houses in Knocknaheeny have run into neglect. However over the past few years[when?] Cork City Council have made efforts to improve this situation and the area appears to be going through a revival. Development and improvement is now visible with a new Town Centre under construction on Harbour View Road. Residential areas are also popping up with housing now erected at the Reservoir (Rezza) stretching to Nash's Boreen and new affordable housing located on Hollyhill Lane and the Shanakiel Development at the top of the Blarney Road.
Work was put into keeping the houses up to standard, from the 1980s when the felt roof houses were changed to slate, and in the late 1980s when gas was connected for home heating. In the 1990s, the windows and doors of Council tenants were changed, and field areas and alleys that attracted anti-social behaviour were blocked off, incorporated into neighbourhood gardens, or built-in. However, it was felt by the council, according to local people, that money was being wasted in constantly upgrading and maintaining the area.
In recent years, plans were put in place to demolish the greater part of Knocknaheeny and rebuild it in phases. Locals were consulted on the plans, and there was some resistance and reluctance by many who felt that the Council held no regard for the strong sense of community and ties that were built up over the years. There was also some questioning of the City Council's relationship with Apple Inc., which planned expansion of their headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and wanted a new road built where houses stood. Concerns increased with Apple's subsequent plans to be allowed to buy land that included part of a very old pilgrimage route and a newer section of a main road circling the outside of the neighbourhood. Nevertheless, 2014 saw the first phase of rehousing. Those whose houses have to be demolished – both council and privately owned houses – were rehoused in neighbouring areas. Those who had purchased their houses from the City and who haven't agreed to, have to wait for the alternative housing that the Council has offered. They usually have to remain in their homes in Knocknaheeny with demolition occurring around them.
Knocknaheeny's primary school is St. Mary's on the Hill, opened in 1981, which admits both boys and girls. In its early years it was granted an extension to deal with the then-large numbers of students. The secondary school is Terence MacSwiney Community College (formerly Scoil mhic Shuibhne), which had approximately 800 students, and now houses, at its western end, a further education college now known as CityNorth College.
There has been a presence of Barnardo's children's charity in the area since the early 2000s. The Family Centre that was set up by the local Daughters of Charity, in the area's infancy, has been under the guidelines of the Health Service Initiative since the early 2000s. The Family Centre runs a pre-school through the high-scope method and a creche. In the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a nursery school operating in Ardmore Avenue, but for various reasons, including lack of a teacher, building unsuitability and lower child population numbers, it had closed.
The secondary school was home to the Cork City Council Library until it had to move to a premises in the shopping centre across the road. A new building for the library was built on the school's ground and was opened in mid-2015. Most of the secondary school's land has been used to accommodate The Family Centre and other community-based ventures in recent years.
Over the years, there have been a variety of sports introduced into the area, with many staying. One example would be that of tennis, with weekly children's tennis classes given every summer. These classes took place on the tennis court of the secondary school, which has since been built on. Martial arts clubs are also active in the community. Because Knocknaheeny is in close proximity to other neighbourhoods, there is easy access to other clubs not in the immediate area. For many years, the area ran a swimming club, supported by local volunteers. This was run from Cork City Council's public swimming pool in Churchfield, and many children started their lessons here and moved on to become lifeguards or sports and swimming tutors.
Soccer is a big part of the community, and local teams include Knocknaheeny Celtic, Central Rovers and Grattan United. Other sporting activities in Knocknheeny include Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) sports of Hurling and Gaelic football. In 1943, St Vincent's Hurling and Football club was founded to promote Gaelic games in the Blarney Street and Sunday's Well area, and later expanded to encompass Knocknaheeny, Gurranabraher and Churchfield. The club won the Minor Premier County competition in 1998. Some of these players joined with members of other underage teams from the 1990s to help the club win its first intermediate football title in 2006 and has ensured that the club retained Senior status for the first time since the 1970s.
Knocknaheeny is served by two bus routes:
- 201 Mayfield – Blackpool – Knocknaheeny – Sunday's Well – Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) – Cork University Hospital (CUT)
- 202 Knocknaheeny – Gurranabraher – Cork City Centre – Ballintemple – Blackrock – Mahon