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Kanturk (Irish: Ceann Toirc, meaning "Boar's Head" - also the town's emblem) is a town in the north west of County Cork, Ireland. Kanturk is situated at the confluence of the rivers Allow and Dallow (also Dalua), streaming further on as tributaries into the Blackwater. It is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Cork, Blarney and Limerick, and lies just north off the main N72 road, 15 km (9 miles) from Mallow and about 40 km (25 miles) from Killarney.
It is a small market town, which after many years with a static population has commenced to grow again.[when?] Apart from its creamery which produced casein from milk, a raw material for early plastics, its former knitwear facility now produces concrete flooring products. The town's schools include Coláiste Treasa and Scoil Mhuire.
A historic site close to the town is Kanturk Castle, known locally as the Old Court, a fortified house built in 1601 for MacDonagh McCarthy as a defence against English settlers. It was a limestone rubble Tudor mansion four storeys high, 28 metres in length and 11 metres wide, with four towers of five storeys high and a height of 29 metres. According to legend, the castle was never completed as word of its construction reached the Privy Council in England. They ordered MacDonagh to stop building works, as they feared it would be used as a base to attack English settlers. Macdonogh was allegedly so furious at this news that he smashed all the blue ceramic tiles for the roof and threw them into a nearby stream. The stream then became known as the Bluepool Stream because of the reflection of the tiles in the water. Due to its architectural and historic importance, it is owned by An Taisce (National Trust for Ireland), and is a designated National Monument.
Heritage tourists from the McAuliffe, O'Keeffe, O'Callaghan, Hartnett, Fitzpatrick, Sullivan, Walsh, O'Riordan, and McCarthy families visit Kanturk to investigate familial roots in the area. As families moved during wars and the plantations, some O'Neills, O'Donnells, and other families date their roots in Kanturk from the time of the Siege of Kinsale.
The Kanturk Library in the Main Street offers lending facilities, including books on tape, newspapers, and general reference books. Internet access is available and the library also organises cultural events.
Kanturk Town Park is a short distance from the town shopping centre, crossing the Kanturk Bridge and left into the O'Brien Street, then entering the park at the Unity Stone monument. The park has oak, beech, chesnut and ash trees, a children's playground, some cultural exhibits, and a walkway by the banks of the Dalua.
Kanturk GAA club has a hurling team and a football team, both men's and women's from underage to Intermediate level. The local pitch is located in Kilroe, just outside the town. Kanturk RFC is a rugby union club which is also located just outside the town, at Knocknacolan. Founded in 1927, the club play in the All-Ireland League. An eighteen-hole golf course is located on the Mill Road, where milling used to take place. A soccer pitch and facilities accommodates 6 teams from under 11s up to Junior level. Kanturk also has a cycling club with its own outdoor 250m velodrome, one of only two in the Republic of Ireland.
Kanturk has a trout fishing club which maintains the rivers that flow through the town. The Dalua from Newmarket flows into the Allow (Freemount River) in the centre of the town. A further 2 km (1 mile) south of the town the river Brogeen flows into the Allow. The Allow joins the River Blackwater; known for its salmon fishing, a further 3 km (2 mi) downstream at Leaders Bridge on the N72 Mallow to Killarney road. In recent years[when?] the club installed a salmon pass in Kanturk Park and repaired the damage done in previous decades aimed at flood prevention. The club is frequently represented on the international stage, with Kanturk Trout Anglers Association entering senior, ladies and juvenile members on the 2007 TAFI (Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland) world championship teams.
- Rail: Kanturk is served by the nearby Banteer railway station, which is 6 km (4 mi) from Kanturk. The town's one-time railway station opened on 1 April 1889, closed for passenger traffic on 27 January 1947 and finally closed altogether on 4 February 1963.
- Bus: Kanturk is served weekdays by four buses a day from Cork to Mallow, one of which continues to Cork. On Saturdays, there is a single bus service to Cork via Mallow. Kanturk is unserved by bus on Sundays.
- Air: Kanturk is 51 km (32 mi) from Kerry Airport. A wider range of air services is available from Cork Airport, which is 61 km (38 mi) away.
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Kerry Airport is accessed by rail from Banteer railway station. Cork Airport is accessed by taking the bus to Cork or the train from Banteer to Cork and switching to the city bus service at either Parnell Place Bus Station or Kent Station respectively. Otherwise both airports may be accessed by private car.
People of note from the area include:
- Barry Yelverton, 1st Viscount Avonmore (1736–1805), politician and judge.
- Thady Quill (1860–1932), historical rake.
- Patrick Guiney (1862–1913), agarian agitator & N. Cork nationalist MP from 1910 to 1913
- Philip Francis Johnson (1835-1926), politician, labour activist and local hotel proprietor
- D. D. Sheehan B.L. (1874–1948), labour activist and parliamentarian MP from 1901 to 1918
- Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington (1877–1946), suffragette and author
- Sean P. Keating (1903–1976), I.R.A. member, became Deputy Mayor of New York City.
- Pat O'Callaghan, Dr. (1905–1991), twice Olympic Gold Medal winner
- Pádraig A. Ó Síocháin S.C. (1905–1995), author and Irish language activist
- Edel Quinn (1907–1944), missionary worker declared Venerable in 1994
- The Old Court: The Story of Kanturk Castle
- Kanturk Library Homepage
- "Kanturk station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- 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. Volume 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.
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