Bandon, located along the River Bandon between two hills, is a town in County Cork. The small market town is situated at a distance of 19 miles from Cork City on N71. Origin of the name of this enticing town can be traced to the Irish word ‘Droichead na Bandan’, which means ‘Bridge of the Bandon’. Name of the town is a referral to the origin of Bandon as a crossing-point on the river. Also known as the ‘Gateway to West Cork’, Bandon was founded by Richard Boyle, the great Earl of Cork. Boyle acquired vast Munster Estates and planted them with English and Scottish endemic flora.
Bandon Music Festival, a mix of contemporary, traditional and rock, has deservedly carved out a reputation for being one of the best music festivals in the country. The festival, organised in June Bank Holiday weekend every year, beckons the lovers of traditional and contemporary Irish music. Traditional, folk and rock sessions, along with outdoor concerts, are also organised as a part of this festivity.
Most prominent historical date in the history of Bandon is September 1588, when Plantation of Munster, Phane Beecher of London, gained possession over the seignory of Castlemahon. Town of Bandon was formed in 1604 by Henry Beecher and other English settlers, John Shipward, William Newce and John Archdeacon, in this seignory. The original town comprised of only the Protestant population. After the establishment of a protective wall around the town, buildings began to spring up on both sides of the river.
In 1798, Bandon was governed by Sir John Moore, leader of the British Army. Commerce of the town flourished during the 19th century, with the incorporation of brewing, tanning, distilling, corn and cotton milling industries. The socio-economic and cultural ecosystem of the area got an additional boost with the advent of the railways and the industrial revolution in the 1800s. During the Irish War of Independence, Castle Bernard, the seat of Lord Bandon was burned, and Bandon’s Protestant population drastically reduced.
The picturesque town of Bandon is famous for its brewing industry. Bandon Summer Fest, which is held during the August Bank Holiday weekend, also beckons tourists and foreigners to this enchanting town. This enthralling town also boasts Castle Bernard, which was constructed under the aegis of James Francis Bernard, 4th Earl of Bandon. The elegant castellated residence was once famed as one of the most hospitable houses in Ireland. Castle Bernard remained the home of Earl and Countess of Bandon. Till today, Lady Jenifer, who inherited the property, still lives on the grounds of the castle.
Bandon is a bustling market town, which boasts numerous restaurants, cafes, clothes boutiques, art gallery, supermarket and churches. River Bandon, which meanders through a beautiful tranquil and scenic valley near the town of Bandon, originates from the Maughanaclea Hills. Owing to the presence of this river, which enters the sea at Kinsale via a beautiful estuary and protected harbour, the town attracts people for salmon and trout fishing. The main N71 road from Cork makes this buoyant town accessible via buses and cars.
Although a busy market town and business centre today, Bandon has kept its historical roots intact and unspoilt with the passing time.
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All Imagery Courtesy of Panoramio
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