Things to do, in and around Macroom
The castle was probably erected in the 12th century by the O'Flynn family, as its Irish name of Caislean-i-Fhlionn suggests. The O'Flynns owned land in this part of what was then the Kingdom of Muskerry, but were overcome by the McCarthys, who were to occupy the castle until the middle of the 17th century. Tiege MacCarty, father of Lord Muskerry, restored and enlarged the castle and died there in 1565. In 1602 the then owner, Cormac McDermot Carthy, Lord Muskerry was arrested and the castle subjected to siege, during which it caught fire. During the rebellion of 1641, Donough MacCarty, 2nd Viscount Muskerry was visited at the castle by the Papal Nuncio, who stayed for four days.
In 1650 Boetius MacEgan, Bishop of Ross, assembled a Confederation army at the castle, but when the Cromwellian troops of Lord Broghill arrived, the castle garrison again set fire to the building before joining the rebel army in the castle park. During the ensuing battle the Bishop and the High Sheriff of Kerry were taken prisoners, the Sheriff shot and the bishop offered his freedom if he could persuade the garrison of Carrigadrohid Castle to surrender. However, on arrival at Carrigadrohid he chose instead to exhort the garrison to hold on and was hanged from a nearby tree. Later in the war Macroom Castle was said to have been burned yet again by General Ireton.
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Toy Soldier Factory, Kilnamartyra Village, Macroom
A jewel of West Cork, this is the only Toy Soldier factory in Europe, and well worth a visit ! A visit to their new exhibit of the famous Battle of Waterloo is a must. It depicts the historic and monumental battle of Waterloo, displaying the thousands of men and their cavalry in fine detail during the courageous battle. The huge Diorama totalling 26 x 13 feet (8×4 Metres) in size, houses 15,000 hand cast and hand painted Prince August Model Soldiers by Andre Rudolph from Germany. It took Andre eight passionate years to cast, paint and complete his creation.
The Gearagh is a submerged glacial woodland and nature reserve two kilometres east of Macroom, County Cork, Ireland. It is located at the point where the River Lee descends from the mountains and widens at an alluvial plain, and stretches for roughly five kilometres, bounded by the townlands of Toonsbridge, Illaunmore and Anahala.
It was until recently densely populated with ancient oak trees and the last surviving full oak forest in western Europe. Its Irish name, An Gaoire, is derived from the Irish word Gaorthadh, roughly the Wooden River. It was flooded in 1954 to facilitate the building of two hydro-electric dams in Carrigadrohid and Inniscarra, which provide electricity for the nearby city of Cork. The area is now part of the plants' upper reservoir. The development required that the region was flooded, and so lead to the felling of hundreds of trees and the removal and relocation of tracts of people. Many of the trees were centuries old and had grown since the medieval period. Today only their stumps survive, in flood land, giving the area a ghostly and almost lunar appearance.
The Gearagh is primarily of interest and importance due to its rich and rare diversity of wildlife, and it represents the only extant extensive alluvial woodland in Western Europe. It hosts numerous rare plant species including marsh marigold, meadowsweet and nightshade, and 62 species of moss and liverwort. While oak and ash trees once pre-dominated, today there are a number of willow and alder trees on the higher islands and inlets. It hosts a large diversity of birds and wildfowl and attracts both summer and winter migrants. Examples include mallards, wigeon, Greylag geese, herons and coots. It also hosts Atlantic salmon and the near extinct freshwater pearl mussel. The area is protected under the international Ramsar Convention.
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Macroom Golf Club
Founded in 1925, Macroom Golf Club has been a long-standing fixture in Irish golf. It starts at the Castle and stretches as far as the Riverside Hotel. It is so convenient for a weekend stay in Macroom.
At 6,200 yards, the parkland course winds through the banks of Sullane, while taking golfers on a journey of rolling terrain in the shadows of the Kerry Mountains.
Mature trees and the River Sullane, which comes into play on the first five holes of the Back 9, add obstacle and beauty to Macroom Golf Club.
Located on castle grounds, there is what was once a women's "bathing house" that stands across the Sullane from the 12th hole. The 18th hole is considered a real test by players -- the Par-4 features out of bounds on both sides but does set up the golfer for a birdie opportunity with a well placed drive in the fairway.
After a round, guests can relax in the Restaurant at Macroom Golf Club, which features a full-service bar and menu.
Farran Forest Park
Farran is a small Park that has a lot to offer in terms of activities and features. It has a diverse mixture of tree and shrub species that make it attractive all year round for visiting. It’s location on the southern shore of Inniscarra lake offer fantastic views of the reservoir and the many rowers at every level who train here, from amateur to Olympian. The lake or reservoir was created in the mid-1950’s by flooding agricultural lands to store water for the nearby Inniscarra hydroelectric generating station.
The Park is a mere fragment of the vast Farran estate that was owned by a Captain Clarke who was involved in the tobacco industry. The demesne passed onto Captain Mathews who converted some of the pasture land to forest. Being a keen sportsman, the Captain planted some carefully sited clumps of broom, laurel and rhododendron to provide cover for game birds as well as planting conifers and broad leaves and creating the lake and hunting lodge.
(€5 fee in coins on entry)
Park opening / closing hours
08.00 – 21.00 (April to September)
08.00 – 05.30 (October to March)
Walk: There are two walking trails to suit moderate levels of fitness. The Enclosure Trail (1.2 kms, 25 mins, Easy) will take you around the perimeter of the deer enclosure and duck pond offering clear viewing of the mammals and birds; the Woodland Loop (3kms, 1hr, moderate) gives the walker a chance to experience the full park which include the homeward leg beside Inniscarra Lake. The National Rowing Centre is based here, and is where our famous O'Donovan brothers regularly train.
Aerial Trails: Zipit offers an aerial trail that has 86 activities and over 800 metres of Ziplines for you to enjoy. Click here for more about Zipit.