Cork city is located on a large wetland area. In fact, this is where the city and county gain their common name. The Irish translation, Corcaigh, means ‘marsh’. The main area of the city is located on an island close to where the River Lee flows into Lough Mahon.
The River Lee flows through the city, where it separates into two channels that divide the north and the south of the city. It then continues through Lough Mahon before entering the sea at Cork Harbour. It plays an important role in the layout of the city and is integral to supporting the wide range of wildlife in the area.
Cork boasts a very strong natural heritage. Much of this is thanks to its wetland origins. Cork Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world, is a designated Special Protected Area (SPA) due to its ornithological significance.
The River Lee and Lough Mahon also maintain protected status.
The underlying rock type of Cork is red sandstone and white limestone, which is said to influence the county colours of red and white.
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