Walking

For those who enjoy a pleasant walk or an evening stroll, several can be taken around Macroom whereby you can enjoy the beautiful views in the area. Here are some of the popular routes:

1]
Sullane River walk. Length 3 miles [extension would be 5 miles].
Starting at the Castle Gate in the centre of the town, pass through the Gate entrance and follow the road for approx. 100 metres past the school. From here a narrow path winds down to the river bank and then meanders alongside the river through the beautiful Castle grounds ( shown above). This section is particularly beautiful in early summer when the area is a blaze of purple from the colour of the rhododendron bushes. After approx. half-a-mile the path splits and you have a choice of either following directly along the river bank with the golf-course on your left, or following a narrow road along the top of the golf course which would then be on your right. Both routes re-join just above the Weirs where a new metal bridge spans the river. Here again you have a choice whether to cross the bridge and return to the town alongside the river or continue on further up the right-hand bank of the river to Raleigh Bridge, where again you cross the river and return to town along the opposite bank through the Town Park. NOTE: the upper section of this walk is not always passable due to flooded streams.


2] Coolehane Road walk. Length 3 miles.
Starting in the town square follow Castle Street down the hill and cross over the bridge (shown viewed from the Coolehane side). Turn right into Masseytown Road and continue on until the next right, which is the start of the Coolehane Road. This road follows the River Sullane to the new bridge. On your left you will see the old Bealick Mill which is being fully restored to its old glory, together with a fully working water wheel. Cross over the new bridge and return to the town square along the main road.

3] The Two Valleys Walk. Length approx. 6 miles.
Again starting in the Town Square, take the Sleaveen Road which exits from the south-west corner of the Square. Climb up the steep hill and turn to the right, from here you can overlook the Sullane Valley and the town of Macroom below (shown on left). Continue along this road for approx. 300 metres and take the second exit to the left and again you are climbing to the top of Sleaveen Hill. As you descend on the far side you are greeted with some magnificent views of the Gearagh and the Lee Valley. Continue down to the valley floor until you reach the main road, from here turn right, followed by a left turn 100 metres further on. This takes you over a white metal bridge which crosses the River Lee as it exits the Gearagh. Continue along this road for approx. a mile and turn left past the Ballyclough Milk Factory, follow this road until you come back onto the main N22 road heading into Macroom. Turn left and just over the brow of the hill you will again cross the River Lee at Coolcower where it meets the River Sullane. The lake to your right is the head of the reservoir which supplies Cork City with water. Follow the main road and you will return to the Town Square where you started.

4]
The Gearagh Walk. Length approx. 7 miles.
As with the previous walk start in the town square (pictures above show the Town Hall by day and by Night), and follow the Sleaveen Road over the hill down to the Lee Valley. This time when you turn right on to the main road continue on alongside the Gearagh. Approx. three-quarters of a mile further on you will see an old broken bridge extending across the lake. Cross the stile and follow the path over the bridge across the lake. This is an ideal walk for those seeking peace and tranquillity amongst nature. There are several picnic areas along the route with several interesting marked paths diverting into the Gearagh, continuing on for a further 2 miles you will have reached the far side of the lake and a narrow country lane. Turn left and follow this road along the far side of the lake until you come to a T-junction. Turn left and this road will return over the white metal bridge mentioned in the previous walk. When you reach the main road you have the choice of re-climbing Sleaveen Hill back to town or, turning right and following the main road back to Hartnetts Cross, where you turn left back into town.



 

Bird/Nature Watching

Just two miles south of Macroom in the Lee Valley you will find the Gearagh Wild Life Nature Reserve. Here are the last remains of a primeval oak forest to be found anywhere in Europe.Every year hundreds of thousands of birds of many different and rare species migrate and remain here for the winter. You will be able to see everything from Hooper Swans to Kingfishers; there is also a wide range of fauna and flora from otters, foxes and badgers to rare and delicate marsh flowers. It is an area of great unspoilt beauty.

Elsewhere in the locality, there is much river, bog and mountain habitats to be studied, where you can see hawks, stoats, rabbits and even rare dragon-flies. Further details and information can be obtained from the Macroom Environmental Group located over the Castle Gate.

 


 

Canoeing

Canoeing is popular in the River Sullane and canoes, life-jackets and other equipment can be hired at the local Sports Centre.

Cycling
There are a maze of small roads and trails in the area which, because of the undulating countryside, makes it ideal for cycling. You can see so much more of the countryside this way than you can when travelling by car. With roads bordered by high ditches every turn or crest of a hill invites you to explore more beautiful views of the Irish countryside. The hedgerows are full of flora and fauna; it is nothing unusual to see a rabbit in the middle of the road as it has not been scared by the approaching car. Due to the low population density road traffic is very light once you are off the main routes so cycling is safe and pleasant. Mountain bikes can be hired at the Castle Hotel in Macroom.

 


 

Equestrian

For those who enjoy horse riding and pony trekking there are two centres located within a few minutes drive from the town centre, at Raleigh and Carriginima.

 

 

 


 

Events and Parades

At certain times of the year Macroom becomes a hive of activity when the town celebrates National Holidays and Festivals. The biggest celebration is St. Patrick's Day on March 17th - every town on this day has its own parade and festivities. Although the biggest parade will be in Cork City, Macroom also has a fine parade led by the soldiers of the local F.C.A. [similar to the National Guard in America]. The soldiers are followed by marching bands and floats created by local various companies.

The next biggest parade will be that celebrating the religious holiday of Corpus Christi; this is again led by the soldiers of the F.C.A., and the towns people congregate in the town Square where Mass is celebrated. In early summer the Macroom Agricultural Show is held in the Castle grounds on the G.A.A. field which draws big crowds, with many side shows such as Best Dressed Lady, Irish dancing, competitions, etc. Finally, in late summer, there is the Wild West weekend in Macroom, where country and western music and line dancing is to be found in all the local pubs and hotels. There are open air concerts in the Square and generally everyone gets involved in the Western type atmosphere. For further details on these and other events check our Events Listing.


 

Fishing

Macroom is surrounded by lakes and rivers which are abundantly stocked with many varieties of fish. Depending on your choice you can game fish for trout [when in season] or course fish for pike, perch, roach, bream, etc.

There are many well-known fishing spots and competitions are held regularly in the area. Boats and fishing equipment can be hired and several locals often act as ghillies. Ask your accommodation host for further details.


 

Fitness and Exercise

For those interested in fitness a superb Leisure Centre is located within the Castle Hotel. Here you can find the latest in exercise equipment, join an aerobics class or use the Swimming Pool.

 

Football/Hurling Matches

There are several G.A.A. pitches in the locality where matches are held, competitions between local clubs can be very exciting, and details of times and places where these will be held will be found in the local newspapers.

During the year major matches are held at county level. Thousands of people normally attend these, especially the semi-finals, and final [which is normally between Cork and Kerry]. Tickets for these matches are usually sold well in advance so if you require tickets you will have to book very early. If you have a chance to see one of these matches they are not to be missed as they are our equivalent of the Super Bowl!


 

Golf

Within the town of Macroom there is an excellent 18-hole golf course which follows the path of the River Sullane; this can be pre-booked using our Reservation Form. Or this can be booked, if you so wish, from the hotel or guest-house. Click here for further details.

 

Library/Cinema Complex

Opened in 2000. The Briary Gap Cinema Theatre & Library at the Back Square is a large cinema and library complex.

 

Market Day

On the Tuesday of every week a market day is held in the town square. Here you will find many stalls selling clothes and shoes, some of which would be an excellent buy; tools, music tapes,vegetables and fruit, and also the odd "second-hand" stall where many a bargain can be found, like the "very piece of material" you have been looking for, and sometimes a rather good piece of lace work. It is expected that you haggle and bargain over the prices!

On the Cork side of town you will find the Mart where cattle, calves and sheep are auctioned - this gets underway early in the morning, from about 9 a.m. This can be a great experience for those not used to rural life. Remember not to wave your arms around or make signs during an auction as it is hard to pass off a three hundred kilo cow as Duty Free on the way home! Please note that the taking of photographs is generally unwelcome.


 

Pitch and Putt

A superb 18-hole pitch and putt course is located within the town park, which is alongside the River Sullane. Golf clubs and balls can be hired from the Clubhouse and Green Fees are minimal.



 

Road-Bowling

A traditional Irish sport which takes place most Saturday mornings. The concept of this sport is to throw a 28 ounce solid steel ball, called a bowl, along a narrow twisty road over a distance of three miles, with the winner being the person who completes the distance in the least number of throws. A road-bowling match is called a score. It may sound like an easy sport in which to play, whereas in reality it takes great skill and judgement. A bouncing metal ball, travelling at speed, can easily leave the road and bounce over a ditch. A top player can easily cover two or three hundred metres with each shot, before the ball finally rolls to rest, and can judge the position of the first bounce of the ball to within a couple of inches. Details of all matches are normally posted in the Classified Ads section of Saturday's "Cork Examiner" newspaper. If you wish to take part in a "friendly" match [score] details can be found at Mary-Ann's Bar, located at Masseytown, Macroom.






 

Shopping

View fromthe centre of Macroom
There are many shops in Macroom, such as the modern and classic clothes shops to the older type of shop found in the Back Square. There is also a unique reminder of olden days with a shop and a pub together. There are shoe shops; from the casual cheaper type of shoes, to those shops that sell up-to-the-minute footwear. A "must" to visit is the Craft shop in New Street - there are a variety of unique and beautiful Irish made goods to buy [you can even get a cup of coffee here too!]





 

Swimming & Water Skiing

The River Sullane is perfectly clean all year round with the water perfectly safe for drinking. There are several well-known swimming spots used by locals during the summer, at the Weirs and at the Diving Board. Never swim alone.
A 25-metre indoor swimming pool is to be found in the town of Dunmanway, just fifteen miles away.

For those interested in more energetic water sports, water skiing is available at Farran just 12 miles away.



 

Traditional Irish Dance and Music

Macroom is located near the Gealteacht towns of Ballyvourney, Ballingeary and Coolea. Traditional Irish dancing and Ceilie music sessions are held most evenings in the local pubs and at weekends in the local dance halls in these towns.

In Macroom town itself there are several pubs where live music is played in the evenings.



 

Health and Beauty

Suffering from jet lag, or just tired out from taking part in all the local activities, there a number of places to visit to go and pamper and revitalise yourself! There are several hairdressers in Macroom, some of which also offer facials, manicures and sun-bed facilities. There are also reflexology and aromatherapy "clinics" within the town and, finally, there is a Health Clinic on Cork Street where the latest equipment and techniques are available for those interested in slimming, etc.

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