The constituency was created in 1921 as an 8-seater, under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, for the 1921 general election to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland, whose members formed the 2nd Dáil. It succeeded the constituencies of Cork Mid, Cork North, Cork South, Cork South East and Cork West which were used to elect the Members of the 1st Dáil and earlier UK House of Commons members.
It was abolished under the Electoral Act 1923, when it was replaced by the new Cork North and Cork West constituencies, which were first used in the 1923 general election for the Members of the 4th Dáil.
Note: The columns in this table are used only for presentational purposes, and no significance should be attached to the order of columns. For details of the order in which seats were won at each election, see the detailed results of that election.
The constituency's most notable TD was Michael Collins, who was Minister for Finance in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. He was killed during the Civil War in an ambush on 22 August 1922 near the village of Béal na Bláth, days before the 1923 general election.