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Europe > Britain and Ireland > Ireland > Southwest Ireland > County Cork > Macroom

Macroom

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Macroom is a small market town in County Cork, Southwest Ireland.

Understand[edit]

Macroom is situated halfway between Cork and Killarney at a point where the fertile Lee valley around Cork City gives way to poorer (and more picturesque) uplands. The main road west leads over the mountains to Killarney, it's mountains and lakes. Another road west leads to Bantry, Glengarriff, Gougane Barra and Beara. Both roads pass through the Irish-speaking area of Muskerry.

Visitors can't fail to notice the handsome castle entrance dominating the town square. Unfortunately the castle has been largely destroyed and what is left is unsafe. By way of consolation there is a pleasant walk along the river.

Get in[edit]

By Bus[edit]

  • Take the Cork-Killarney-Tralee bus route, about halfway between Cork and Killarney.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Gearagh at sunset
  • The Gearagh (3km from Macroom on the N71 to Bantry road). This is the name given to an inland delta with the remains of an ancient alluvial oak forest. The area was flooded when the river Lee was dammed in the 1950s by the Electricity Supply Board. Thousands of stumps of oak trees and field boundaries illustrate the past. The area is also of interest to botanists and bird watchers, and was declared a nature reserve in 1987. Visitors can walk across the causeway when the reservoir level is low. Visitors are advised to remain on the paths, and not to enter the forest, due to the fast flowing river channels. Coarse fishing is permitted, but difficult due to the submerged branches. Note though that pike are a protected species in Ireland.
  • Carrigaphooka Castle. This is a small and quite well-preserved tower house 4km west on the Killarney road. It is on private land and access is not too easy. The name means Rock of the Fairy.

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

Hardware shop, Inchigeelagh
  • Farmer's Market. Held in the Main Square on Tuesdays. Excellent organic, locally produced vegetables and cheeses.
  • Prince August (around 5km outside the town, in the village of Kilnamartyra, signposted from the Macroom to Killarney road). Toy soldier factory. The factory was the first officially licenced manufacturer of die-cast, Lord of the Rings collectibles. If you call during mid-week, you may even get a factory tour.

Eat[edit]

  • Number 57, Main St. Home-made cakes and coffee.
  • Vaughans Cafe, North Square, Macroom, Co. Cork (In the middle of town), +353 26 20544. Owned by the Vaughans and the O'Connells, this is a cafe that is part of Macrompian tradition. This is a great spot to go for a Full Irish Breakfast, with good sausages, puddings and rashers to be had, along with gallons of tea to wash it down. But there is also other good meals and salads to be had, along with tasty cakes, especially the meringues and eclairs. Plus a lovely morning chat to be had with some of the locals, along with the walls being full of reminders of Macroom's proud heritage. .

Drink[edit]

  • Goldens (Gerards) (On the main street next to the Briery Gap Theater). One of west cork's best known pubs, and for good reason - it's reputed to serve the best pint of Guinness in Ireland! Along with enjoying your pint you can purchase anything from a milking bucket, Wellington boots, holy picture, teapot, kids toys and many more everyday things. You are also guaranteed meeting some interesting characters.
  • TP Cotters (Jacksies), Main Street, Macroom, Co Cork (On Macroom's mainfayre!!), +353 26 41560. A pub that has earned 5 star status, it has been opened since 1902, and there is always good beer, good food, and a beautiful, old world atmosphere. There is great banter to be had, especially at match days, weekends and local festivals and events, and there is usually live music there. There is also a beer garden, where events can be held, and there is also mementos of the Macroom Mountain Dew Festival of the late 1970s with tributes to the late Rory Gallagher prominent. Has been given positive reviews, so go there; the Guinness is always great!! .
  • Dineens Bar (Lars), Main Street Macroom, +353 26 41909. A real Irish bar, this is an excellent place to get down with the locals at the weekend nights! Average sized, there is Macroom's only jukebox and pool table, and when the mood is right and the crowds are big, the jukebox, when the right tunes are on, can close the pool table and have the protective cover placed over so the revellers can dance the night away!! But for those who want something quieter, there is back areas in this very premises so they can have a quiet moment alone or an intimate moment as a group. Stylish smoking area, and lots of photos from award-winning and acclaimed Dineen Photography, harking back to a Macroom of yesteryear. Mighty place to be had. .

Sleep[edit]

  • Castle Hotel, Main St, +353 26 41074, fax: +353 26 41505, . A fine place to stay, or drop in for some food and a pint. The hotel also boasts a leisure center with facilities such as a gym and Macroom's only swimming pool. Expect to pay around €75pp including breakfast, or take advantage of one of the many package deals on offer.

Go next[edit]

  • Beal na mBlath site of the fatal ambush on August 16th 1922, of Irish revolutionary leader, Michael Collins. Follow the N22 to Cork city and turn right at the R585 to Dunmanway. There is a monument erected at the side of the road, and an annual commemoration is held on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary.
Gougane Barra
  • Gougane Barra remains of a monastic settlement dating from the 6th century, now part of a forest park. The small church on the island dates from the 19th century. Look for the grave of Tim Buckley, subject of the book by Eric Cross "The Tailor and Ansty", banned in Ireland in the 1940s.
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