Local Knowledge: North Cork
Where should you go? We ask the localsCal McCarthy, retired farmer and keen walker from Kilbyrne, on the village of Doneraile
How would you describe the local area?
I suppose if I am honest, since the Celtic Tiger left, Doneraile village is not doing as good as it was. When I was growing up every house and every little premises in the town had a small business. There were bakers and butchers and local grocery shops. I think there were seven bakeries and 13 public houses and three or four grocery shops. We have no bakery left now, and just one butcher shop and three pubs left.
About four years ago all the wires were put underground. It is looking good though and has stayed true to its past appearance. We have a very committed tidy towns committee here.
What are your favourite places in the local area?
We have a monument to Canon Sheehan in the area that I think is worth visiting. He was a great writer at the turn of the century and he died in 1913, so his 100th anniversary is coming up next year. He wrote several books and the one we are interested in is called Glenanaar. He wrote all his books while he was here from 1895 to 1913 and his house and grave are here also. We put in a walkway about four or five miles north of Doneraile and called it the Canon Sheehan Loop Walk.
There’s a Mass rock on the route and we have mass there the first Monday night in July every year. It’s a lovely walk.
Where would you bring a visitor?
Springfort Hall (pictured) near Mallow is a big house and a great place for weddings and family celebrations. The food is very good there.
There is no place really in Doneraile even though they are trying to get one opened. I lead walks and it is the one thing people ask me – where can we get a cup of tea? I’d be ashamed to say we have no little restaurant in Doneraile.
People have tried it, but we are off the beaten track and there isn’t enough business. Thousands come, walk or play here and then they go home again. We must change that.
On a nice summer day, anywhere good for a swim?
As youngsters, we swam in the Awbeg river, and there were three or four places along it where you could swim safely. There was a place by the mill, on the northern side of the town. Further down the stream there were two or three more natural swimming pools. I haven’t seen anyone swim there in recent years, but there is some fishing on the river. If people want to go for a swim now, they go to the indoor pool in Mallow.