Baile na mBocht
Old Youghal Road, Mayfield
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Origins of Name
The town was originally called Baile na mBocht, which scholars believe translates from the Gaelic more properly as "Town of the Poorly" rather than "Town of the Poor", as Baile na mBocht was the site of a medieval Leper Colony. While a wide array of skin diseases were called Leprosy in Ireland, it is doubtful the victims actually had Leprosy itself. The "Poorly" would walk from Baile na mBocht down to the River Lee to bathe their diseased skin, along a path that was known as "Leper's Walk". However, when the beauty of the area between Baile na mBocht and the River began to attract the wealthy to the area this was changed to "Lover's Walk", the name it retains today. A legend of local girl Sarah Curran, daughter of John Philpot Curran, walking this path with her boyfriend, the Irish patriot Robert Emmet, emerged to explain this new name. Baile na mBocht became Mayfield because a mansion was built there with that name, Mayfield having also been the name of the owner's previous house in West Cork.
Mayfield is bounded to the north by the Glen River Valley, an aquiferous geological formation produced by a receding glacier during the last Ice Age. This area contains some unique habitats, flora and fauna, including the small cudweed and the sand martin, a migratory bird species that returns from North Africa each spring to breed in the porous sand cliffs along sections of the river valley north. In recent years, these endangered birds have been studied by the European Union which found that the local planning authorities and the Irish Government had violated various EU Bird and Habitats Directives in 2004 following the destruction of nesting sites and ecosystems by building developers.
- James Coughlan, Irish rugby union player for Munster
- Roy Keane, the footballer was born in Mayfield, and married there
- Dara Murphy, the 2009-2010 Lord Mayor of Cork was born in Mayfield
- Kieran 'Fraggy' Murphy, the former Cork senior hurling captain attended Mayfield Community School
- Placenames Database of Ireland (see archival records). Retrieved: 2010-10-15.