The abbey is commemorated in the Irish name for Midleton, Mainistir na Corann, or “Monastery at the Weir”, and of the local river Owenacurra or Abhainn na Cora meaning 'River of the Weirs'. St John the Baptist’s Church, belonging to the Church of Ireland was erected in 1825 and today still stands on the site of the abbey.
Scene: Main St
Date: circa 1905
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Read about Midleton below
Midleton (Mainistir na Corann in Irish) is a town in south-eastern County Cork, in Ireland. The town is situated 22 km from the City of Cork on the N25 between Cork and Rosslare and on the Owenacurra River. As it is a satellite town of Cork City, it is officially part of Metropolitan Cork.
In the 1180s advancing Normans led by Barry FitzGerald established an abbey at a weir on the river to be populated by Cistercian Monks from Burgundy. The abbey became known as “Chore Abbey” and “Castrum Chor”, taking its name from cora or weir in Irish, although some say that “Chor” comes from “Choir” or “Choral”. The abbey is commemorated in the Irish name for Midleton, Mainistir na Corann, or “Monastery at the Weir”, and of the local river Owenacurra or Abhainn na Cora meaning 'River of the Weirs'. St John the Baptist’s Church, belonging to the Church of Ireland was erected in 1825 and today still stands on the site of the abbey.
Captain, and later Sir, Walter Raleigh had an association with Midleton living for periods in nearby Youghal between and 1585 and 1602. His presence was due to a distribution of land in reward for helping suppress the Second Desmond Rebellion of 1579-1583. As part of this suppression he was ordered to seize Barry’s Castle at nearby Cahermore. The Seneschal, or steward of Imokilly, on being expelled from the castle, took refuge in the Abbey, but was again forced to flee by Raleigh.
Raleigh is credited with planting the first potatoes in Europe, also at Youghal.
The town, now named Midleton or “Middle Town” because of its stop-off status between Cork and Youghal was incorporated as a market town and postal depot in 1670 receiving its charter from Charles II, as the “borough and town of Midleton”. Later it would become a post town of the Great Southern and Western Railway.
Alan Brodrick, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and Lord Chancellor of Ireland was made the first Baron and Viscount Midleton in 1715 and 1717, respectively. He is commemorated by Broderick St in the town.
A private school named as Midleton College was founded by Elizabeth Villiers, former mistress of William of Orange in 1696. The school, traditionally associated with the Church of Ireland, names Isaac Butt founder of the Home Rule League and John Philpot Curran, lawyer and father of Sarah Curran amongst its past pupils. Rachael Kohler, an Irish International field hockey player, was also educated there. A number of other schools are now also located in the town.
The town is the site of Cork Distilleries, formed in 1825, merged into Irish Distillers in 1967, and now owned by French spirits group Pernod Ricard. Distilling of whiskey, vodka and gin now takes place at the new Midleton distillery complex opened in 1975. The Old Midleton Distillery which boasts the world’s largest pot still – a copper vessel with a capacity of 140,000 litres, has been restored as a visitor centre and hosts a number of attractions including Ireland’s largest working water wheel at a diameter of 7m. Paddy Whiskey, produced in the town, takes its name from Patrick J Flaherty, a salesman for Cork Distilleries in the 1920s. The world-famous Jameson Whiskey is produced in the town.
At the top of the main street stands a monument to 16 Irish Republican Army men killed on February 20 of 1921 during the Irish War of Independence. Twelve of the IRA men were killed in fighting with members of the British Army at nearby Clonmult while four more were captured and later executed. The incident was the biggest single loss of life for the IRA during the war.
The town is located in a fertile valley below hills to the north with Cork Harbour and the coast to the south. In times past, the channel from the Harbour to nearby Ballinacurra (Irish: Baile na Cora, meaning “Town at the Weir”), was navigable by barges up to 300 tonnes.
The town caters for a rural population of 26,663 that come from the surrounding areas of Midleton.
Transport & communications
Included in Ireland’s National Development Plan is the re-opening by 2008 of the former railway to Cork which was closed for regular use in 1963. Occasional use (mainly transport of beet from Midleton to the Mallow Sugar Factory) continued for many years afterwards, but even the sporadic usage of the line came to an end in 1988, with the final train to use the track being a passenger excursion for Midleton GAA supporters to Dublin for the final of the All Ireland Senior Club Hurling Champion (in which Midleton played). Iarnród Éireann is currently undertaking surveys of the route in advance of an application for a Railway Order.
Nearest airport Cork International Airport
Midleton has a growing population, employed locally in retail, light manufacturing, food production, tourism and distilling. At nearby Whitegate is the state’s first gas-fired power station as well as Ireland’s only oil refinery. Many Midleton residents also commute to jobs in Cork, Carrigtohill and Little Island. In recent years the commercial part of Midleton has expanded to the old site of Midleton Mart, the development consists of a shopping centre called Market Green anchored by Tesco. Recently opened is the Gate Cinema consisting of five screens.