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Magh Ealla
Main street of Mallow, featuring the clocktower and the junction of Spa and Bridge streets
Main street of Mallow, featuring the clocktower and the junction of Spa and Bridge streets
Per Ignem et Aquam
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County Cork
74 m (243 ft)
 • Town 11,605
 • Urban
 • Environs
Irish Grid Reference W549982
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1821 4,114 —    
1831 5,229 +27.1%
1841 6,851 +31.0%
1851 5,439 −20.6%
1861 4,841 −11.0%
1871 4,165 −14.0%
1881 4,439 +6.6%
1891 4,366 −1.6%
1901 4,542 +4.0%
1911 4,452 −2.0%
1926 4,562 +2.5%
1936 4,948 +8.5%
1946 5,215 +5.4%
1951 5,583 +7.1%
1956 5,729 +2.6%
1961 5,649 −1.4%
1966 5,845 +3.5%
1971 6,506 +11.3%
1981 7,482 +15.0%
1986 7,685 +2.7%
1991 7,521 −2.1%
1996 7,768 +3.3%
2002 8,937 +15.0%
2006 10,241 +14.6%
2011 11,605 +13.3%

Mallow (Irish: Mala) is a town in County Cork, Ireland, about thirty-five kilometres north of Cork. Mallow is in the barony of Fermoy.

It is the administrative centre of north County Cork and has been nicknamed the "Crossroads of Munster". The Northern Divisional Offices of Cork County Council are located in the town.

Name in Irish

The earliest form of the name is Magh nAla, meaning "plain of the stone". In the anglicisation "Mallow", -ow originally represented a reduced schwa sound, which is now however pronounced as a full vowel. In 1975, Mala—a shortening of Magh nAla—was among the first Irish placenames adopted by statute, on the advice of the Placenames branch of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

In the Annals of the Four Masters, compiled in the 1630s, Magh nAla is misrepresented as Magh Eala, the Donegal-based authors being insufficiently familiar with Cork places. P.W. Joyce in 1869 surmised that in Magh Eala [sic], Ealla referred to the river Blackwater, and connected the name to the nearby barony of Duhallow. Professor T. F. O'Rahilly in 1938 interpreted Magh Eala as "plain of the swans". This false etymology remains widely cited and has caused resentment of the official Mala as being a gratuitous simplification of Magh Eala. However, the name Mala has been used in Irish for more than 300 years.


Evidence of pre-historic settlement is found in Beenalaght (13.6 km/8.5 miles south-west of Mallow), where an alignment of six standing stones lie on a hill to the west of the Mallow-Coachford Road. (grid ref: 485 873, Latitude: 52.035818N Longitude: 8.751181W)

During the Irish War of Independence, the town was the HQ of the North Cork Militia – known as North Cork Rifles. The town's RIC barracks was the only one captured nationwide during the war. In retaliation, several main street premises were subsequently torched by the British Army.

Mrs King, wife of Captain W H King, RIC was killed during an attack on her husband near Mallow Railway station. In retaliation, British military and Black and Tans killed three railway workers-Patrick Devitt, Daniel Mullane and Bennett. The killings prompted industrial action by the National Railworkers Union in Britain and Ireland.

Natural occurrence of radon gas

Some of the highest naturally occurring readings of radon ever have been recorded in Mallow, prompting local fears regarding lung cancer.


The urban area has a population of 7,864 (2006 census) and with improved road and rail since the mid-1980s, has developed significant student and worker commuter traffic with Cork city.

Transport and communications


Mallow lies at the convergence of several important routes: National Primary Route 20 (N20) north-south road between Cork (35 km) and Limerick (70 km), National Secondary Route 72 (N72) east-west between Dungarvan (51.5 km) and Killarney (41.5 km), National Secondary Route 73 (N73) northeast to Mitchelstown and the M8 motorway (21 km).

Rth Mallow Town 02.10.12R edited-2
Mallow looking southwest from the railway station


Mallow is a stop on the Bus Éireann 51 bus service from Cork to Galway and 243 bus service from Cork to Newmarket service.

Mallow is also served by the Citylink Galway-Cork Airport service.


The Mallow railway viaduct which straddles the Blackwater, commonly known as the "Ten Arch Bridge", was bombed and destroyed during the Irish Civil War. It was rapidly rebuilt in girder form due to its importance in connecting the Cork, Tralee and Dublin lines. An additional line east through Fermoy and Lismore to the Waterford South station closed in 1967. Mallow railway station was opened on 17 March 1849. by the Great Southern and Western Railway. It is currently served by trains to via Limerick Junction to Dublin Heuston, Cork and Killarney, Farranfore and Tralee.

Onward connecting trains link Mallow via Limerick Junction to Limerick, Ennis, Athenry and Galway as well as Carrick-on-Suir and Waterford.


The nearest airports are Cork Airport (42.5 km), Kerry Airport (70 km) and Shannon Airport (84 km).

Kerry Airport is easily accessed by train from Farranfore railway station whilst Shannon Airport requires a train via Limerick Junction to Limerick railway station for a connecting bus.

There is also a flying club at nearby Rathcoole. There is also a Helicopter Charter Company in nearby Dromahane.

Mallow Racecourse, now known as Cork Racecourse, became an emergency airfield on 18 April 1983, when a Mexican Gulfstream II business jet piloted by Captain Reuben Ocaña made a precautionary landing. A temporary tarmacadam runway of 910 m (3,000 ft) in length which was paid for by the plane's insurers was laid to enable the aircraft to leave five weeks later, whereas in the meantime Captain Ocaña became a local celebrity. On 23 May 1983 just before the plane departed, the Captain said his farewell to the people of Ireland in the Irish language. The runway was subsequently utilised for parking during race meets and was a popular facility for learner driving. Light aircraft have occasionally landed at the racecourse on the grass area. The F3A World Model Aircraft Aerobatic Championship was held there in 2001. The 1983 incident formed the basis of the 2010 film The Runway.


The West End is definitely the place to go ... in Mallow! (26139647536)
Thomas Davis Street (Main Street), Mallow in August 1903
  • Birthplace of Thomas Osborne Davis (1814–1845), nationalist, politician, author, poet and patriot. Author of the famous Irish rebel song "A Nation Once Again".
  • Birthplace of William O'Brien (1852–1928), nationalist, journalist, agrarian agitator, social revolutionary, politician, party leader, newspaper publisher and author.
  • Birthplace of John Francis Moriarty (1855–1915) Attorney General for Ireland and judge of the Irish Court of Appeal.
  • Birthplace of Sir Edward Sullivan, 1st Baronet (1822-1885), Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
  • Birthplace of Seán Sherlock (Labour Party TD) for Cork East Constituency, elected to Dáil Éireann 2007 General Election.
  • Donovan, singer
  • Stephen O'Flynn, NIFL Premiership footballer currently with Institute F.C.
  • John Hogan (1805–1892) was a United States Representative from Missouri born in Mallow.
  • Ancestral home of US Congressman Tip O'Neill
  • Joe Lynch, actor
  • Elaine Crowley, TV3
  • Paul Kane (1810–1871) Canadian painter

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Mallow is twinned with the towns of

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