Mitchelstown, County Cork

mitchelstown-1-1936451mitchelstown-1-1936451mitchelstown-3-1415352 Mitchelstown, County Cork is one of the biggest cheese production centres of Ireland. Having the Irish name Baile Mhistala, the name of this town is inspired from that of the patron saint, St. Michael, of a prominent family that lived here in medieval times. This town is located in the serene Blackwater Valley, which is located south of the Galtee Mountains. River Gradoge flows by this town, and runs into River Funshion, a tributary of River Blackwater. It is considered one of the best planned Georgian towns throughout Ireland, with several streets being named after the members of King Family.

Just 12km away from this town is the Mitchelstown Cave, a privately-owned limestone cave that was discovered in the year 1833, and is a famous tourist destination now. This cave is well known throughout the country for the Tower of Babel column and the Concert Hall, the largest cavern that hosted the Celtic Tenors and other musical events.

Located north of the town is the imposing Mitchelstown Castle, a magnificent neo-gothic house that was considered the biggest in Ireland upon construction. It was refurbished and modernised to quite an extent in the first half of the 18th century. However, it was demolished in the second half, and the remains were integrated to form the Palladin mansion, which was termed ‘a house on wings’. In the 19th century, the Palladin mansion was itself destroyed and a new castle, which inspired the construction of other Irish castles, was built at the same site. Its ownership changed hands in the 20th century, and was bought by Mitchelstown Dairy Agricultural Society, while the Coats of Arms were held by a local writer.

The dairy industry, cheese-making in particular, provides a strong economic background to this town. However, the demand for its products has decreased in the past two decades, during which time focus shifted on agricultural and retail activities. Several retail stores have opened in the town in recent years, along with cafes, boutiques, restaurants, pubs, clubs, bars and cinemas.

One of the highlights of this town is the Indiependence Festival, a music festival that celebrates indie music. It is one of the three biggest music festivals of Ireland, and the biggest one held in southern parts of the country. Many prominent Irish bands have performed here, along with several recognisable international ones, like Super Furry Animals, Ocean Colour Scene and The Proclaimers. Guinness Mitchelstown Music Festival is another popular music festival, and held in the month of August. The other festivals, though not related to music, celebrated here are Festival of the Galtees and Mitchelstown Good Food and Arts Festival.

Sports are ardently followed in this town, with several exclusive clubs and associations being dedicated to popular ones. The most prominent soccer clubs of this town are Bally Rovers FC and Park United Soccer Club. Some of the most popular sports among the residents of Mitchelstown are camogie, triathlon, Gaelic football, rugby, hurling, badminton, fishing, game hunting, horse riding and karate. Golfing, too, is extremely popular in this town, with a sprawling 18-hole golf course located at the foothills of Galtee Mountains being a haven for the enthusiasts.

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