Kent Station is one of Ireland’s major railway stations. The station was originally called Glanmire Road Station, but was renamed after Thomas Kent in 1966, one of fifteen railway stations to be renamed on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising.
In the early 1850s, the viaducts between Mallow and Cork were put in place along with the bridges over the old Dublin Road and Spring Lane. In July 1856, the passenger building and train shed at Penrose Quay was erected. The was designed by architect Sir John Benson. Its centre-piece was a covered way, just over 60 metres wide and was supported by twenty Doric columns. The problem of building the station on slob land was overcome by piling foundations. Six hundred beech piles, all just under eight metres in length were piled. Over these piles, concrete was laid.
In 1866, the Cork, Youghal and Queenstown Railway whose trains ran into Summerhill Station, immediately north of Penrose Quay became part of the Great Southern & Western Railway (GS & WR) Quay Terminus. By the end of the nineteenth century, it became necessary to replace the original Penrose Quay terminus with a larger station, Kent Station, which opened on 2 February 1893. Penrose Quay Station, was located directly in front of the portal of the tunnel through which the railway into Cork passed, while Cork Summerhill, the original C&Y terminus was above the tunnel portal. The purpose of the new station was to allow through running of trains after the 1865 takeover of the C&Y by the GS&WR. The station is the only one of the six Cork railway stations that still exists today. The original Penrose Quay Station later became a cattle depot and its Doric colonnade was demolished sometime between 1895 and 1896. A small number of associated buildings have survived. These comprise of the former station manager’s house near Penrose Quay of the shell at the former goods shed, adjacent to the Cork tunnel entrance.
The station served as a filming location for the 1979 movie The First Great Train Robbery starring Seán Connery, Donald Sutherland and Lesley-Anne Down. The Kent Memorial plaque which can be seen today was commissioned and erected by a committee of railway workers at Cork’s Kent station and was unveiled by Kathleen Kent, a niece of Thomas Kent in May 2000.