Cloich na Coillte
Clonakilty in 2004
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Clonakilty (Irish: Cloich na Coillte, Clanna Chaoilte), is a small town in County Cork, Ireland, approximately 45 minutes away by road to the west of Cork City. The town is located at the head of the tidal Clonakilty Bay and is surrounded by hilly country devoted primarily to dairy farming. The town's population is 4,721.
The town won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1999 and every year since has gained awards for its environmental efforts. The cleanliness is the result in part of the voluntary efforts of local shopkeepers and staff. In 2003, Clonakilty became Ireland's first ever official Fair Trade Town. In 2007 it was awarded the status of European Destination of Excellence by the European Commission at a ceremony in Portugal and is Ireland's first recipient of this prestigious title.
Clonakilty is extremely rich in the ancient monuments and dwelling places of its early and pre-celtic settlers. The Normans made the area their home and their castles and surnames survive to the present day. In 1292, Thomas De Roach received a charter to hold a market every Monday at Kilgarriffe (then called Kyle Cofthy or Cowhig’s Wood), close to where the present town now stands. The area was abundant in woods, as the Irish names of the town and surrounding townlands indicate.
In the 14th century a ten mile strip of fallow woodland called Tuath na gCoillte (the land of the woods) divided the barony of Ibane (Ardfield) and Barryroe and reached the sea at Clonakilty Bay. Here a castle called Coyltes Castell was recorded in a 1378 plea roll. This was subsequently referred to as Cloghnykyltye, one of the many phonetic spellings for Cloch na gCoillte (meaning the castle of the woods, from ‘cloch’, the Irish for stone or stone building and ‘coillte’ meaning woods).
Clonakilty benefited greatly from the patronage of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork ("the Great Earl"), who may properly be regarded as its founder. It was he who obtained its charter from King James I of England in 1613 with the right to return members to the Irish House of Commons. It returned two members from 1613 to 1801; it was disenfranchised under the Act of Union 1801.
Clonakilty is known as "the only place in all Munster where a blow of some sort had been struck during the Rising of '98" at the Battle of the Big Cross There is a commemorative statue celebrating the Battle of the Big Cross in Astna Square in the centre of Clonakilty.
Michael Collins, who was the Director of Intelligence for the IRA, which campaigned for independence from Britain in the 1920–1921 period, and later the Free State movement, lived in Clonakilty and attended the local boys' national school. He is widely regarded as one of Ireland's leading historical figures. He was killed by an Anti-Treaty ambush party during the Civil War. He gave many an oration from O'Donovan's Hotel on the Main Street of Clonakilty. A statue of Michael Collins by local artist Kevin Holland was erected in the centre of Clonakilty and dedicated in 2002. It can be seen at the junction of Bridge Street and Emmet Square.
- The nearest airport to the town is Cork Airport
- Bus Éireann provides frequent coach links from Clonakilty to Cork and Skibbereen.
- Clonakilty was one of the destinations on the West Cork Railway, an Irish mainline railway from Cork City to various parts of West Cork, shut down in 1961. Clonakilty railway station opened on 28 August 1886, but finally closed on 1 April 1961.
- During the summer months, there's a bus link to Killarney via the N71 road through Skibbereen, Bantry, Glengarriff and Kenmare.
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Clonakilty's position as a centre of music, both traditional and contemporary, has helped this small town to become a thriving melting pot of musicians. Clonakilty's bars host live music nights throughout the year and it is possible to find live music on most nights. Many famous musicians have found a welcome and a home here, and have contributed much to the energy and vibrancy of the town. The late Noel Redding made Clonakilty his home as has singer-songwriter Roy Harper. Currently, English novelist David Mitchell calls Clonakilty home. Monday Night Trad Sessions, O'Donovans Tuesday Trad and Shanley's Famous Music Bar main venues. Summer afternoon sessions in Scannells beer garden with Dave and Friends, De Barras Folk Club presents famous acts like folk legend Christy Moore and Sharon Shannon, Frances Black and Setmaker play here regularly. Clonakilty hosts several festivals every year, among these are The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival in mid-September, The Motion festival and The Waterfront Festival in August. The 2010 Waterfront Festival featured Irish acts, The Dublin Gospel Choir, Mundy, Aslan, The Heathers, Setmaker and Spanish Singer Paula Gómez and her band.
Clonakilty is also known for its black pudding. The famous Clonakilty Blackpudding originated in Twomey's butcher shop in Pearse Street. The secret spice recipe has been handed down through the generations since the 1880s. To this day, the secret recipe is only known to the Twomey family. 
"Irish Yogurts" is a well-known brand produced in the town from local milk.
The Model Village in Clonakilty is a leading tourist destination in the Clonakilty area, it is an excellent way to start a tour of the region. The village is a fully scaled model of a West Cork town that grew along the old railway line between 1930 and 1950. Built on a miniature of the Railway line, you can enjoy a unique overview of the character and history of a heritage town. Location: Inchydoney Road, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Clonakilty is the home of the famous and world's only "Random Acts of Kindness Festival" set up in 2012 by the local Clonakilty Macra na Feirme Club. The festival aims to celebrate the welcoming and warm hearted nature of not only the Clonakilty community but also of the Irish people as a whole. The Festival is held each year on the third weekend in July, with the motto: "Cut the Misery and Spread the Positivity". In its first year the festival was a major success with a large crowds turning out for the opening Street party and bubble blowing ceremony. Other events held included; children's sports Day, Voluntary organisation showcase, Speakers corner, Break dancing, Story telling, traditional Irish music, Kindness Zones (areas throughout the town where small free gift where given out), A free raffle and Jungle Picnic.
Clonakilty has a GAA club, two soccer clubs (Clonakilty A.F.C, Clonakilty Town), a rugby club and a Martial Arts club (Warrior Tae Kwon Do). The teams have been successful in recent years winning the Cork Senior Football Championship in 2009, 1996, and being runners up in the 2003 competition. Clonakilty RFC also became a senior rugby club in 2001 and spent 12 wonderful years in the All Ireland Rugby League until they were relegated to Division 1 of the Munster junior league where they currently play. Clonakilty won their first adult hurling county title when they won the Cork Minor B Hurling Championship in 2007. Clonakilty A.F.C. have won the Beamish Cup in 2008 & 1995 and in 2014 featured Australian international, Alex Swift. Students of the Clonakilty "Warrior Tae Kwon Do" club compete in a variety of Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and Freestyle tournaments and the club has produced 4 World Champions in various martial arts disciplines.
The Blue Flag beach at Inchydoney Island, just a few miles from Clonakilty, is renowned not only as one of the most family friendly beaches in West Cork but also as one of the most beautiful. With vast expanses of sand, dunes and excellent surfing conditions there really is something for everyone.
About 15 minutes from Clonakilty and looking out over the Galley Head lighthouse is the aptly named Long Strand. A mile and a half of sand bounded by waves of dunes this is the perfect place to stretch your legs and breath in the fresh Atlantic air. The top end is a haven for surfers but the rest of the beach is unsafe for bathing due to a dangerous undertow.
Dotted with rock pools, the Red Strand is only minutes from the Long Strand and offers a wonderful tranquil spot for the whole family.
Clonakilty is twinned with:
- List of towns and villages in Ireland
- Market Houses in Ireland
- Clonakilty (Parliament of Ireland constituency)
- Michael Collins (Irish leader)
- Census for post 1821 figures.
- Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
- Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.
- Clonakilty Agricultural College
- "The Battle of the Big Cross where one hundred Irish died". C.O. Ruairc
- Community pulls together to ensure it’s business as usual in Clonakilty Irish Examiner. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- Public service acknowledged by President at Clonakilty Town Council civic reception Southern Star Retrieved 20 May 2013
- "Clonakilty station". Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 17 September 2007.
- "Bassist for Jimi Hendrix Experience dies". USA Today, 13 May 2003
- Phelan, Eugene (24 February 2012). "Press 22 snapper wins portrait award at AIB Press Photographers event". Limerick Leader. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- 'Irish Central news web site' Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- "Warrior Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame". Warrior Tae Kwon Do Official Website. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Clonakilty.|
- Official Web site (Clonakilty town council)
- Awarded "EDEN – European Destinations of Excellence" non traditional tourist destination 2007
- Clonakilty Business site