Some things to see in Mitchelstown July 2014


Some things to see in Mitchelstown July 2014

Swing in off the M8 which bypasses Mitchelstown and rewind time by visiting these historic places.

The Statue of John Mandeville in New Square made by the Parlanti Foundry of London who also made the Canon Sheehan Statue in Doneraile. Erected in 1906 this is undoubtedly the work of Alessandro Parlanti himself. John Mandeville was a patriot and leader of the land league war in the 1880s who died in Tullamore gaol as a result of his land agitation campaign.

The statue was cast by Allesandro Parlanti in his foundry in London. The Parlantis were Roman craftsmen. Allesandro’s brother, Ercole, cast the statue of the famous author Canon Sheehan which is located on the grounds of the Catholic Church in Doneraile (23 km away to the west). An interesting feature of the statue is the holes in the shoes to avoid staining and rusting of the statue. The names of the 3 men shot dead by the RIC on the 8th of July 1887 are named on the plinth- John Casey (Kilbehenny), Michael Lonergan (Galbally) and John Shinnick (Fermoy) as are the words "Go Saoraidh Dia Eire" (God Save Ireland), Cuimhnighidh ar Bhaile Mhisteala (Remember Mitchelstown). These mark that fateful day when thousands flocked to Mitchelstown in support of John Mandeville and William O Brien ML who were to be put on trial that day. The statue was unveiled by William O Brien MP in 1906. Thousands of ex patriots living in America contributed to the cost of the statue. 

This building is the location of the the first trading outlet of Mitchelstown Co-operative Agricultural Society, formed in 1919 when Con O Brien, Rodger Kiely and other Board members sought assistance from local Merchant John Casey to source grain and seeds at wholesale prices when markets were exhorbitantly high. In 1919 they sold their first crop inputs and profits received helped to sustain further development. By the mid 1960s it had become the largest multi purpose Co-op in Ireland and included Mitchelstown Creameries, Galtee Foods and Galtee A.I. In 1991 it amalgamated with Ballyclough Co-op Mallow to form Dairygold Co-op. After the amalgamation to Dairygold Co-op it employed 3000 people at its peak. The building subsequently was used as a drapery department for the retail side of the co-op and laterally was leased to Super Valu as storerooms.

Built in 1823 as a Market and Courthouse, the Market House operating on the ground floor and the Courthouse on the first floor. Built by the King Family.  This was also the location where John Mandeville was tried, so it is fitting his statue looks across at the Courhouse, and later the inquest into his death occurred here. 

These Georgian houses were built in the mid 1700s and the Kingston College Trust founded in 1761 for housing of impoverished gentlemen and women and they received a financial inducement to relocate to Mitchelstown. Today the college is a thriving retirement community.

The word college does not denote an educational establishment in this instance but a place in which residents had to obey the rules. These rules pertained to not leaving the college without permission, being back by a certain time, daily attendence at church service etc..These rules were strictly enforced. Presently tenancy of the college does not require membership of the Church of Ireland as it did in the past. The present administrator of the college is Carole Bradley who as part of her role supervises the beautiful heritage garden. Currently all but two of the thirty one houses are occupied. When the college was first built these 31 houses were actually 15 larger houses, later converted. 

We met Carole on our tour as she returned, glowing from her regular training session in the local gym and she kindly offered to show us the heritage garden which is currently being rejuvenated in the college.

This blog post is written with contributions from Michael Bermingham, Seamus Fox, Amanda Slattery & Peter Langley as part of a training project funded by Ballyhoura Development Ltd. If you would like a tailored tour of the town please contact ….