There are no remains of the medieval friary at the site on the North Mall.
After the friars landed at Youghal, they probably made their first permanent foundation in Cork about 1230. The city was the scene of a notorious Provincial Chapter in 1291. Late to adopt the Observant reform (about 1500), it was one of the first friaries to be suppressed. The friars lived on in hiding and there was a community of nine in their place of refuge in 1615.
After the Restoration, the friars lived in a thatched cottage in Shandon and worked quite openly until the Penal period. They then moved through a number of hiding places, e.g. in Cotner’s Lane, before settling in the present Broad Lane area sometime before 1759. A new friary was opened in 1813, following which the Franciscan novitiate was transferred to Cork for a number of years.
Problems arose between the friars and the bishop of Cork. These, and the fears that the religious orders in Ireland were about to be suppressed, delayed the building of a new church, which was not opened until 1829. A student hostel called St Anthony’s Hall was opened in 1909 but had to close after a number of years. By 1881 both friary and church were considered unsafe, but it was not until 14th July, 1953 that the present church was opened and blessed, soon to be followed by the new friary.