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Mallow, County Cork

Coordinates: 52°07′52″N 8°38′29″W / 52.131°N 8.6415°W / 52.131; -8.6415
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Mala (Irish)
Main Street, Mallow, featuring the clockhouse and the junction of Spa Road and Bridge Street
Main Street, Mallow, featuring the clockhouse and the junction of Spa Road and Bridge Street
Latin: Per Ignem et Aquam (Through Fire and Water)
Mallow is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°07′52″N 8°38′29″W / 52.131°N 8.6415°W / 52.131; -8.6415
 • Urban8.2 km2 (3.2 sq mi)
74 m (243 ft)
 • Town13,456
 • Density1,517.9/km2 (3,931/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)22
Irish Grid ReferenceW549982

Mallow (/ˈmæl/; Irish: Mala[3]) is a town in County Cork, Ireland, approximately thirty-five kilometres north of Cork. Mallow is in the barony of Fermoy.

It is the administrative centre of north County Cork, and the Northern Divisional Offices of Cork County Council are located in the town. Mallow is part of the Cork East Dáil constituency.


The earliest form of the name is Magh nAla, meaning "plain of the stone".[4] In the anglicisation "Mallow", -ow originally represented a reduced schwa sound (/ˈmælə/), which is now however pronounced as a full vowel //.[5] In 1975, Mala—a shortening of Magh nAla—was among the first Irish placenames adopted by statute,[6] on the advice of the Placenames branch of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.[7][8]

In the Annals of the Four Masters, compiled in the 1630s, Magh nAla is misrepresented as Magh Eala, the County Donegal-based authors being insufficiently familiar with County Cork places.[9] P.W. Joyce in 1869 surmised that in Magh Eala [sic], Ealla referred to the river Blackwater, and connected the name to the nearby barony of Duhallow.[9] Professor T. F. O'Rahilly in 1938 interpreted Magh Eala as "plain of the swans".[9] This false etymology remains widely cited and has caused resentment by some of the official Mala as being a gratuitous simplification of Magh Eala.[9] However, the name Mala has been used in Irish for more than 300 years.[4]


Evidence of pre-historic settlement is found in Beenalaght (13.6 km/8.5 miles south-west of Mallow), where an alignment of six standing stones lie on a hill to the west of the Mallow-Coachford Road.[10] (grid ref: 485 873, Latitude: 52.035818N Longitude: 8.751181W).[11]

The first Mallow Castle was first built in 1185 on the orders of King John.

Williamite War in Ireland (1690)[edit]

On 16 September 1690, shortly after the failed Siege of Limerick but before the Siege of Cork, Colonel Moritz Melchior von Donop, commanding of the second regiment of Danish cavalry, reconnoitred Mallow and destroyed the bridge. He reported encountering a group of Jacobite raparees in Mallow, perhaps 3000 strong.[12] Following his return Major General Ernst von Tettau and Major General Scravenmore devised a ruse whereby a small force of 100 cavalry and 50 dragoons was detached from the overall force of 1200 Horse, 300 Dragoons, and 2 Companies of Danish Foot. These acted as bait and successfully lured out the Jacobites commanded by Patrick Sarsfield, 1st Earl of Lucan and routing them, with 300 raparees dead. Some accounts claim that only Sarsfield and five companions escaped the battle.[13]

Irish War of Independence[edit]

During the Irish War of Independence, the town served as the headquarters of the North Cork Militia (also known as North Cork Rifles), a unit in the Irish Republican Army (IRA). On 27 September, IRA commanders Ernie O'Malley and Liam Lynch led the Cork No. 2 Brigade in an attack against the military barracks in Mallow, which was garrisoned by elements of the 17th Lancers. The successful attack saw the IRA capture large quantities of firearms and ammunition, partially burning the barracks in the process. In reprisal, angered soldiers from Buttevant and Fermoy went on a rampage in Mallow, burning several main street premises, including the town hall and creamery, on the next day.[14][15][16]

On February 1921, the IRA killed the wife of RIC Captain W. H. King during a botched assassination attempt on her husband near the Mallow railway station. In retaliation, a detachment of the Black and Tans briefly occupied the station, arresting and killing three of its occupants- Patrick Devitt, Daniel Mullane and Denis Bennett, all of whom were railway workers. The killings prompted an industrial action by the National Railworkers Union in Britain and Ireland.[17][18]


Mallow lies on the River Blackwater, and developed as a defensive settlement protecting an important fort on the river. Mallow, as with other parts of North Cork, is in an area "likely to have high radon levels".[19] A 2007 reading, at one building in the town, was one of the highest levels of the gas ever found in Ireland, being more than 60 times above the acceptable limit.[19][20]


Historical population

As of the 2016 census, the town had a population of 12,459.[1] In the same census the population was reportedly made up of 76% white Irish, 1% white Irish travellers, 12% other white ethnicities, 4% black, 2% Asian, 2% other, with 3% not stating their ethnicity.[26]


Irish statesmen such as Thomas Davis and William O'Brien were both born in Mallow in the 19th century. The main street in Mallow is called Davis Street (although commonly referred to as Main Street), and joins with William O'Brien Street outside Mallow Town Hall. At the point where Davis Street meets O'Brien Street there is a monument to J.J. Fitzgerald, a little-known local politician who was involved in establishing both Mallow Urban District Council and Cork County Council.[27]

The town developed an industrial base in the early 20th century, based largely on its agricultural capability, with dairy produce and sugar beet supplying a sugar factory, operated by Greencore.[28]

Transport and communications[edit]


Mallow lies at the convergence of several important routes: National Primary Route 20 (N20) north-south road between Cork (35 km) and Limerick (70 km), National Secondary Route 72 (N72) east-west between Dungarvan (51.5 km) and Killarney (41.5 km), National Secondary Route 73 (N73) northeast to Mitchelstown and the M8 motorway (21 km).

Mallow looking southwest from the railway station


Mallow is a stop on the Bus Éireann 51 bus service from Cork to Galway and 243 bus service from Cork to Newmarket service. Mallow is also serviced by the TFI Local Link buses, connecting the town with Fermoy, Mitchelstown and Charleville via three separate routes, with stops in intermediary villages.[citation needed]


The Mallow railway viaduct which straddles the Blackwater, commonly known as the "Ten Arch Bridge", was bombed and destroyed during the Irish Civil War. It was rapidly rebuilt in girder form due to its importance in connecting the Cork, Tralee and Dublin lines. An additional line east through Fermoy and Lismore to the Waterford South station closed in 1967. Mallow railway station was opened on 17 March 1849 by the Great Southern and Western Railway.[29] It is served by trains to via Limerick Junction to Dublin Heuston, Cork and Killarney, Farranfore and Tralee.

Onward connecting trains link Mallow via Limerick Junction to Limerick, Ennis, Athenry and Galway as well as Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford.


The nearest airports are Cork Airport (42.5 km), Kerry Airport (70 km) and Shannon Airport (84 km). Kerry Airport is accessible by train from Farranfore railway station.[citation needed]

There is a flying club at nearby Rathcoole Aerodrome, and a helicopter charter company in nearby Dromahane.[citation needed]

Mallow Racecourse, now known as Cork Racecourse, became an emergency airfield on 18 April 1983, when a Mexican Gulfstream II business jet piloted by Captain Reuben Ocaña made a precautionary landing. A temporary tarmacadam runway of 910 m (3,000 ft) in length which was paid for by the plane's insurers was laid to enable the aircraft to leave five weeks later. In the meantime, Captain Ocaña became a local celebrity. On 23 May 1983 just before the plane departed, the captain said his farewell to the people of Ireland in the Irish language.[30] The runway was subsequently used for parking during race meets and for learner driving. Light aircraft have occasionally landed at the racecourse on the grass area. The F3A World Model Aircraft Aerobatic Championship was held there in 2001. The 1983 incident formed the basis of the 2010 film The Runway.[31]


Founded in 1882, Mallow Rugby Club is one of the oldest rugby clubs in the country.[32] Former players include Munster Second Row Ian Nagle, who played juvenile rugby for Mallow and Ulster Prop Jerry Cronin, who played juvenile and Junior Rugby for the club.[citation needed]

The town's association football club, Mallow United Football Club, was founded in 1926 and fields senior, junior, schoolboy, and schoolgirl football teams in the Munster Leagues.[33]

The local racecourse, Cork Racecourse, now renamed "Cork Racecourse Mallow",[34] plays host to large horse racing events.

Mallow GAA is the town's GAA club, and fields teams in hurling and Gaelic football. The club won the 2017 Cork Premier Intermediate Football Championship.[35]

Mallow Golf Club, founded in 1947, is located just outside Mallow and has 18 holes.[36] Mallow AC is a local running club.[37]


Mallow is home to a branch of the Gate Cinema as well as a county library with an exhibition space.[citation needed] Other community amenities include a youth centre and a public swimming pool. The town also has several gyms and pubs. A farmers' market is held in the grounds of St James' Church on Friday mornings. Mallow Castle also hosts seasonal events.[citation needed]


Thomas Davis Street (Main Street), Mallow in August 1903

International relations[edit]

Mallow is twinned with the towns of

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Population Density and Area Size 2016". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Census 2022 | Profile 1 - Population Distribution and Movement | F1015 - Population". data.cso.ie. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  3. ^ "Mala/Mallow". logainm.ie. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Mala / Mallow". logainm.ie. Placenames Database of Ireland. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  5. ^ Gazetteer of Ireland / Gasaitéar na hÉireann. Government of Ireland. 1989. ISBN 0-7076-0076-6.
  6. ^ "I.R. Uimh. 133/1975 – An tOrdú Logainmneacha (Foirmeacha Gaeilge) (Uimh. 1) (Postbhailte) 1975" (in Irish). Government of Ireland. 22 July 1975. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2008. Mallow (33) Mala (g. Mhala)
  7. ^ "Placenames Orders". Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008.
  8. ^ "The Placenames Commission". Archived from the original on 24 September 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d Ó hÚrdail, Roibeárd (1 March 1996). "Marshmallows". The Irish Times. p. 15.
  10. ^ Weir, A (1980). Early Ireland. A Field Guide. Belfast: Blackstaff Press. p. 113. ISBN 0-85640-212-5.
  11. ^ "Beenalaght". The Megalithic Portal. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  12. ^ Childs, John. "The Williamite Wars in Ireland, 1688-91". www.bloomsburycollections.com. Bloomsbury Collections. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  13. ^ "A True and faithful account of the present state and condition of the kingdom of Ireland together with the intire defeat of a body of Irish under the command of Colonel Sarsfield by a detached party of 1200 horse and 300 dragoons by Lieut. Gen. Scravenmore within 14 miles of the city of Cork". Bodleian library. April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  14. ^ Rebel Cork's Fighting Story, 1916-21: Told by the Men who Made it : With a Unique Pictorial Record of the Period. Mercier Press. 2009. ISBN 9781856356442.
  15. ^ Magill, Christopher (2020). Political Conflict in East Ulster, 1920-22: Revolution and Reprisal. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 9781783275113.
  16. ^ O'Malley, On Another Man's Wound, pp. 239–247
  17. ^ Keane, Barry (2017). Cork's Revolutionary Dead. Mercier Press. ISBN 978-1-7811-7496-8.
  18. ^ O'Donoghue, Florence (1954). No other law: the story of Liam Lynch and the Irish Republican Army, 1916–1923. Irish Press. p. 132.
  19. ^ a b Browne, Bill (31 May 2022). "New interactive EPA map reveals vast swathes of Cork are radon 'hotspots'". The Corkman. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  20. ^ "Record radon levels found at Mallow office". RTÉ News. 20 September 2007. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  21. ^ Census for post 1821 figures. Archived 9 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website". www.histpop.org. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016.
  23. ^ "Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency - Census Home Page". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  24. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. (eds.). Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  25. ^ 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. hdl:10197/1406. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Mallow Demographics". Census 2016 - Small Area Population Statistics. CSO. 2016. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  27. ^ "J.J. FitzGerald Monument, Thomas Davis Street, O'Brien Street, Mallow, Mallow, County Cork". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  28. ^ "Sugar factory closure needless". The Irish Times. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2023.
  29. ^ "Mallow station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2007.
  30. ^ Hegarty, Mandy. "Interview: 'The Runway' Writer/Director Ian Power On His Debut Feature Film". Irish Film and Television Network. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  31. ^ Wilkinson, Ron (25 July 2012). "The Runway – Movie Review". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  32. ^ "Official Mallow Rugby Website". Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  33. ^ "Official Mallow United FC Website". Archived from the original on 9 January 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  34. ^ "Cork Racecourse Mallow". Archived from the original on 6 September 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  35. ^ O'Callaghan, Therese (16 October 2017). "Heartbreak for St Michael's as Mallow win Cork Premier Intermediate final". irishexaminer.com. Irish Examiner. Archived from the original on 25 November 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  36. ^ "Mallow Golf Club". Archived from the original on 4 March 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  37. ^ "Mallow AC". Archived from the original on 10 June 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  38. ^ Lunney, Sheila (2009). "Bowe, Catherine Mary (Sister Celeste)". In McGuire, James; Quinn, James (eds.). Dictionary of Irish Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  39. ^ "My Weekend". echolive.ie. The Echo. 28 February 2020. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  40. ^ Hutton, William Holden (1885–1900). "Davis, Thomas Osborne". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  41. ^ "Donovan: Call him Mallow yellow". Irish Examiner. 18 September 2017. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  42. ^ United States Congress. "John Hogan (id: H000691)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  43. ^ Harper, J. Russell (1972). "Paul Kane". In Hayne, David (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. X (1871–1880) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  44. ^ "Obituaries - Joe Lynch". The Independent. UK. 13 August 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2020.[permanent dead link]
  45. ^ "Joan Denise Moriarty: Mother of the dance". independent.ie. Independent News & Media. 11 March 2012. Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
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  47. ^ William O'Brien at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  48. ^ "Stephen O'Flynn interview". extratime.com. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  49. ^ "Sullivan, Sir Edward, first baronet". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26774. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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External links[edit]