i agree with a lot of what has been said about the city. It does need a lot of T.L.C. I'm not sure that it lacks a role or a purpose as was suggested though. Lets be honest, what is a cultural quarter? And what would it do for a city. If Temple Bar is a model, then I think, Cork should avoid it at all costs. The city will be a good test of the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy although I think that Cork, and other Irish 'provincial' cities should not merely rely on central govt. to secure future development.
There are signs of significant changes for the city. New transport infrastructure for instance, new airport development beginning in April, bus station, and public-private partnership development for the railway station which is a v. large scale mixed dev. which may be a catalyst for Docklands. These three developments should impact on visitor's impressions and improve the image of the city. There is also a significant level of development pressure in city centre and on quaysides, where a few major devlopments are in, and through planning process. There are some interesting projects on the way.
The city has a very strong identity, i do not think it needs to manufacture one. Culturally, the city is extremely healthy, but this doesnt translate into tourist numbers or an international profile, yet. What Cork will need more than anything else, in order to become a thriving second city (regional capital not real) will be critical mass to underpin growth prospects, development and generate demand for changes.