Sir John Benson (1812-74)

Originally from County Sligo, Benson was appointed surveyor to Cork City and County in 1851 and spent the remainder of his short career there. In 1852 he designed the buildings for the Irish Industrial Exhibition in Dublin and was knighted on the exhibition’s opening. But the major body of his work was in Cork. He designed the Athenaeum which later was the much-loved Opera House; as well as the Shandon Butter Market; the Central Markets on Princes Street; and various churches.

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