(Droichead na Bandan
) is a town in County Cork
. With a population of 5,161 as of census 2002, Bandon 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
. Bandon is sometimes called the "Gateway to West Cork
Bandon has deep historical roots which began in Elizabethan times as far back as 1588. It was founded in 1604 by Phane Becher or Beecher as an English settlement for plantation settlers with the first settlers arriving from Somerset
. Originally it was inhabitated solely by Protestants
. A protective wall extended about a mile around the town. Buildings sprang up on both sides of the river and over time a series of bridges have linked the two settlements. Sir John Moore
later leader of the British Army who was killed in the Peninsular War
Spain in 1809, was governor of the town in 1798.
During the 19th century the town grew as a leading industrial centre which included brewing, tanning, distilling, corn and cotton milling. The industrial revolution in the 1800s and the advent of the railways had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions in the area. Local weaving operations could not compete with mass produced cheap imports.Clon took over and still owns most of Bandon.
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 mBláth, about 6 miles outside Bandon.
Decline of Protestant population
During the Irish War of Independence
, Bandon’s Protestant
population, which was largely unionist
, suffered from Irish Republican Army
(IRA) intimidation and attacks. Between 1911 and 1926 the Protestant population of Bandon dropped by 4.5% [sources: 1911 Census of Ireland; 1926 Census of Saorstat Eireann].
During January-March 1921, the IRA in Cork engaged in a serious of violent attacks on the Protestant community, and during this period at least five Protestants were killed in Bandon by the IRA: Thomas Bradfield, James Coffery, Jimmy Coffey, Alfred Cotter, Donovan (Christian name unknown) (source: Southern Irish Loyalist Relief Association papers). On 29th June, the Protestant social hall in Bandon was burned to the ground (source: Liam Deasy: “Towards Ireland Free”).
- Bandon Summer Fest is a family orientated festival run by a volunteer committee held over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
- The Bandon Music Festival takes place every June Bank Holiday weekend. In 2008 acts will include the Blizzards, Republic of Loose and Delorentos.
The 'Bandon Festival of Lights' took place on Dec 1st 2007. This event saw the illumination of the brand new state-of-the-art Christmas Lights. People came from far and wide to celebrate in this memorable event.
Bandon has a twin city
agreement with Bandon, Oregon
in the US. 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 & communications
Notable local figures include :
- George Bennett was born in Bandon in 1822 and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with degrees in Arts and Law. His history of Bandon, which was released for public sale in 1869, has been a great source of information for this article. He went to Oregon in 1873 and founded a town which he named Bandon.
- Author Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, who wrote numerous Victorian era novels, lived in Bandon until her death of typhoid fever on 24 Jan 1897.
- Dr James Murphy was born in Bandon in 1844. He devoted a large part of his career to the study of political history and economics. In 1919 he was invited to Buckingham Palace to give a talk to leading surgeons on a new method of amputation.
- Comedian/ TV presenter Graham Norton, who was raised in Bandon.
- Eugene O'Keefe (1827-1913), a brewer and businessman, emigrated to Toronto in and established the O'Keefe Brewery, which would later be bought by the Carling Brewery. O'Keefe was a philanthropist to Catholic institutions.
- Cornelius O’Sullivan, the ‘founder of the science of bio-chemistry’, was born in Bandon in 1842 and in 1866 he was appointed assistant brewer and chemist to Bass & Co. He later became the head brewer in 1894. He died in 1907 and was buried in Ballymodan graveyard.
- Sir George Strickland Kingston, who emigrated to Australia and became a prominent civil engineer, architect and politician, was born in Bandon in 1807.
- Sir Richard Cox, Lord Chancellor Of Ireland was born in Bandon, March 25 1650
- Joseph Brennan, (1887-1963),Chairman of the Currency Commission and Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland
Sports and Community Groups
- Bandon Tidy Towns is a group of volunteers who meet up on Tuesday evenings at 7pm at Hartes Car Park from April until the end of the season. The group is actively seeking new volunteers to help with planting etc.
- Bandon Rugby Football Club were the inaugural winners of the Munster Senior Rugby Cup in when they defeated Garryowen Football Club in the final in 1886.
- Bandon AFC play at the Town Park on the Macroom Road. The club has active men's, juveniles and ladies teams. The ladies team play in the West Cork winter league and in the [Cork Ladies Soccer League] in the summer.
- Bandon GAA are affiliated to the Carbery GAA division of Cork GAA.
- Bandon Tennis Club has three courts at the Bandon Golf Club. The club has active mens, ladies and mixed teams that participate in leagues throughout the year. The children's section of the club is also vibrant with members on the Junior Irish Tennis Squad.