Bandon, County Cork

Droichead na Bandan

Oliver Plunkett Street

Motto: Auxilio Dei Parva Crescunt  (Latin)
"With the help of God small things grow"


Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 51°44′46″N 8°44′06″W / 51.746°N 8.735°W / 51.746; -8.735Coordinates: 51°44′46″N 8°44′06″W / 51.746°N 8.735°W / 51.746; -8.735
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Cork
Elevation 30 m (100 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
  Town 6,640
  Urban 1,917
  Environs 4,723
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference W488551

Bandon (/ˈbæn.dən/; Irish: Droichead na Bandan) is a town in County Cork, Ireland. It lies on the River Bandon between two hills. The name in Irish means Bridge of the Bandon, a reference to the origin of the town as a crossing-point on the river. In 2004 Bandon celebrated its quatercentenary. The town, sometimes called the Gateway to West Cork, had a population of 6,640 at the 2011 census.


In September 1588, at the start of the Plantation of Munster, Phane Beecher of London acquired, as Undertaker, the seignory of Castlemahon. It was in this seignory that the town of Bandon was formed in 1604 by Phane Beecher's son and heir Henry Beecher, together with other English settlers John Shipward, William Newce and John Archdeacon. The original settlers in Beecher's seignory came from various locations in England. Originally the town proper was inhabited solely by Protestants, as a by-law had been passed stating "That no Roman Catholic be permitted to reside in the town".[8] A protective wall extended for about a mile around the town. Written on the gates of Bandon at this time was a warning "Entrance to Jew, Turk or Atheist; any man except a Papist".[9] A response was scrawled under the sign noting: "The man who wrote this wrote it well, for the same thing is writ on the gates of hell." [10] Buildings sprang up on both sides of the river and over time a series of bridges linked both settlements. Like other towns in Cork it benefitted greatly from the patronage of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, although he was not, as he liked to claim, its "founder". In 1689 it was the scene of a clash between Jacobite and Williamite forces during the War of the Two Kings. After an uprising by Protestant inhabitants who expelled the Irish Army garrison, a larger force under Justin MacCarthy arrived and retook the town. Sir John Moore, later leader of the British Army, who was killed in the Peninsular War at Coruña in Spain in 1809, was governor of the town in 1798.

In the 19th century, the town grew as a leading industrial centre which included brewing, tanning, distilling, corn and cotton milling. The now closed Allman's Distillery produced at one point over 600,000 gallons of whiskey annually.[11] The industrial revolution in the 1800s and the advent of the railways had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural ecosystem of the area. Local weaving operations could not compete with mass-produced cheap imports.

Main Street, Bandon, c.1900

Major General Arthur Ernest Percival was commander of the British garrison in Bandon in 1920–21 during the Irish War of Independence. He was subsequently the commanding officer of the British troops who surrendered Singapore to the Japanese forces in 1941. In 1945 he was invited by Douglas MacArthur to witness the surrender of Japanese forces in Tokyo in 1945 which ended the Second World War. Irish army leader Michael Collins was killed in an ambush at Béal na Bláth, about 9.6 km (6.0 mi) outside Bandon.

Between 1911 and 1926, the non-Catholic population of Bandon dropped from 688 (22% of the population) to 375 (13% of the population), a decline of 45.5%.[12][13] Peter Hart argued in The IRA and its Enemies (1998) that during the Irish War of Independence, Bandon's Protestant population, which was largely unionist, suffered from Irish Republican Army (IRA) reprisals. In particular, ten Protestant men were shot over 27–29 April 1922 (two months before the start of the Civil War), "because they were Protestant."

Niall Meehan argued, however (2008,[14] 2014[15]), that Hart was mistaken. The killings were not "motivated by either land agitation or by sectarian considerations." In Peter Hart , the Issue of Sources, Brian Murphy noted a British intelligence assessment, A Record of the Rebellion in Ireland in 1920–1921, that Hart cited selectively.[16][17] Hart wrote, "the truth was that, as British intelligence officers recognised, "in the south the Protestants and those who supported the Government rarely gave much information because, except by chance, they had not got it to give.””.[18] Murphy observed, "Hart does not give the next two sentences from the official Record which read":

an exception to this rule was in the Bandon area where there were many Protestant farmers who gave information. Although the Intelligence Officer of the area was exceptionally experienced and although the troops were most active it proved almost impossible to protect those brave men, many of whom were murdered while almost all the remainder suffered grave material loss.

Murphy therefore concluded in a 1998 review of Hart's research, "the IRA killings in the Bandon area were motivated by political and not sectarian considerations". He amended this in 2005 to "Possibly, military considerations, rather than political, would have been a more fitting way to describe the reason for the IRA response to those who informed." [19] In 2013 Bandon Mayor Gillian Coughlan described a song about these historical events by Professor David Fitzpatrick of TCD as "insulting to the memory of people who fought and to people who died".[20]

Castle Bernard, the seat of Lord Bandon, was also burned in the Irish War of Independence.


Twin city

Bandon has a twin city agreement with Bandon, Oregon in the United States. That city was founded in 1873 by Lord George Bennet, a native of the Irish Bandon who named the American one after it, and who is known especially for having introduced gorse into the US ecology with some disastrous results.

Transport and communications


Notable local figures include :

Sports and Community Groups


There are four secondary schools in Bandon. One of these, Bandon Grammar School, is a fee paying Church of Ireland-ethos boarding school. The other schools include Hamilton High School, St. Brogan's, and Coláiste na Toirbhirte (formerly known as Presentation Sisters College).[22] Bandon Grammar School and St. Brogan's are both mixed schools, Hamilton High School is a boys only Catholic school, and Coláiste na Toirbhirte is a girls only school.[23] Hamilton High is now situated in a building near where the grammar school originally was before moving across the river to its current location in the 1950s.

In Popular Culture

In Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart claims to have defeated the 'Bandon Banshee'.

See also


  2. "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
  3. Census for post 1821 figures.
  5. "NISRA – Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013". 2010-09-27. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter by Meda Ryan (ISBN 1-85635-480-6), page 25
  9. "Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle". Volume 24. 1816. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
  10. "The Church Under Attack".
  11. "An Amazing Past". Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  12. 1926 Census of Saorstat Eireann (Vol III, Table 7)
  13. General report, Ireland, 1911, Page 222
  14. Brian P Murphy osb and Niall Meehan, Troubles in Irish History: A 10th anniversary critique of The IRA and its Enemies, Aubane Historical Society (2008)
  15. Niall Meehan, Examining Peter Hart, Field Day Review 10 2014)
  16. A Record of the Rebellion in Ireland in 1920–1921, Jeudwine Papers, 72/8212, Imperial War Museum.
  17. Brian P Murphy osb and Niall Meehan, Troubles in Irish History: A 10th anniversary critique of The IRA and its Enemies, Aubane Historical Society (2008), ISBN 978-1-903497-46-3 p.47
  18. Hart, pp.305, 306
  19. name="Irish Political Review' V20 N7 July 2005 (ISSN 0790-7672), pp.10–11", also in Meehan, Murphy, 2008, p48./
  20. Lecturer Ballad insults victims of Dunmanway, Justine McCarthy, Sunday Times, 17 February 2013.
  21. "The Opinion | opinion magazine". Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  22. "Coláiste na Toirbhirte – Presentation College, Bandon, Co. Cork". Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  23. "Bandon Parish". Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.

External links

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