Blaze breaks out at former Cork hospital
Multiple units of Cork Fire Brigade are battling a blaze at one of Cork's most famous buildings.
Five units are attempting to bring a fire in a derelict part of a former St Anne's psychiatric hospital complex on the Lee Road under control.
The red brick building is one of Cork's iconic landmarks and dominates a stretch of the city overlooking the River Lee and the Carrigrohane Road.
The sprawling complex has been abandoned and derelict for many years.
St Anne's dates back to the early 19th century.
It is unclear how the fire began but it is believed to have started in the former St Kevin's unit of the complex.
Initial reports are that it erupted within a lower room in the middle section of the large complex.
It spread quickly within the four-storey building and, at one point, flames could be seen raging through the building roof.
The tall plume of smoke from the burning complex could be seen all over Cork's skyline.
Gardaí have a safety cordon around the building though no residential properties nearby are understood to be in any danger.
However, it is expected to be several hours before Cork fire brigade will be able to fully extinguish the blaze.
The building is unoccupied and has been the focus of various development proposals over recent years.
It is the second time in less than a year that an historic Cork building has been at the centre of a major fire.
In July 2016, the famous Vernon Mount mansion off the Kinsale Road was gutted in a blaze.
The 18th Century mansion - named in honour of the first US President George Washington and his Mount Vernon home in Virginia - was gutted in a suspected arson attack.
Priceless fittings, including ceiling paintings by renowned Irish artist Nathanial Grogan, were totally destroyed in the blaze which left Vernon Mount in Cork effectively a shattered hulk.
Seven units of Cork fire brigade, supported by units from Macroom and Carrigaline, fought that blaze for eight hours after it erupted.
It is suspected youngsters started a bonfire which quickly raged out of control in the 1784 structure, empty for several years.
The scale of the fire resulted in the mansion’s roof collapsing inwards – and all internal floors then failing.