Bantry

Bantry

Infobox Irish Place
name = Bantry
gaeilge = Beanntraí
crest

motto =
map

pin coords = left: 55px; top: 80px
north coord = 51.679794
west coord = 9.45322
irish grid = V997488
area =
elevation =
province = Munster
county = Cork
town pop = 3,309
rural pop = 8
census yr = 2006
web = www.bantry.ie
|

Bantry ( _ga. Beanntraí) is a town on the coast of County Cork, Ireland, located on the N71 route at the head of Bantry Bay. The Beara peninsula is to the northwest, with Sheep's Head also nearby, on the peninsula south of Bantry Bay.

As with many areas on Ireland's south-west coast, Bantry claims an ancient connection to the sixth century saint, Breandán (Naomh Bréanainn) the Navigator. In Irish lore Saint Breandán was the first person to discover America.

History

Wolfe Tone Square in the town commemorates Theobald Wolfe Tone. Tone, a Dublin-born Irishman, led the United Irishmen in what he had hoped to be a re-run of the French Revolution ten years earlier, this was to be done with the help of French Republicans to overthrow British rule ("see 1798 rebellion"). The ill-fated French invasion force arrived in Bantry in 1796. For his efforts in preparing the local defenses against the French, Richard White, a local landowner, was created Baron Bantry in 1797. A Viscountcy followed in 1800 and in 1816 he became the 1st Earl of Bantry.

During the Irish War of Independence/The Tan Wars the 5th Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army was very active in Bantry, and many remained so during the "Civil War" that followed, and those who died between 1920 and 1923 'In Defence of the Republic' are listed on Wolfe Tone Square.

Opposite the coastline lies Whiddy Island. The remains of what was formerly an important oil terminal, owned by Gulf Oil, are on the island. On 8 January 1979 the oil tanker "Betelgeuse" exploded, killing all 42 crew members, as well as seven employees at the terminal. The jetty was seriously damaged at the terminal, but fortunately the storage tanks were not affected. Nevertheless, 250 employees at the terminal, one of the largest employers in the region, lost their jobs. There was significant environmental impact, and so the local fishing industry was also affected. Many former employees of the terminal began to grow mussels in Bantry Bay, and so another industry was formed and has enjoyed considerable success.

An injection of money by the Irish Government in the early 1990's led to the part of the terminal being restored. The Government arranged for oil to be stored here during the First Gulf War in case of a disruption to oil supplies. Further funding led to more and more of the terminal being made operational. By 1998 it was deemed officially 'open for business' once more. It passed from state ownership to several American oil companies, and is now part of ConocoPhillips Corporation. The terminal is working to full capacity once more and sees up to forty ships berth every year. The recent increase in the price of oil has led to some speculation about future expansion of the terminal.

Buildings of note

* Bantry House, home since 1739 to the White family, the former Earl of Bantry, is located south of the town
* Bantry Market House

Economy

The town is an important economic centre to the region. Apart from tourism (Bantry has many excellent beaches for surfing due to being located at the West of Europe), fishing is one of the main industries. Mussels in particular are harvested in the area.

Transport

* Nearest international airport is Cork Airport
* Bantry also has a small privately owned airfield called Bantry Aerodrome.
* Bantry Town railway station, the western terminus of the Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway, opened on 22 October 1892, but finally closed on 1 April 1961. [cite web | title=Bantry Town station | work=Railscot - Irish Railways | url=http://www.railscot.co.uk/Ireland/Irish_railways.pdf | accessdate=2007-09-12]

Town Council

Bantry Town Council has nine members. These members are elected by the town's residents every five years. The members elect a mayor and deputy mayor annually.

Famous people

*Bantry is the birthplace of William Martin Murphy, formerly a wealthy Catholic businessman and MP at Westminster. He gained notoriety in Irish history in his opposition to Jim Larkin and James Connolly and their trade union, the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, during the Dublin Strike and Lockout in 1913. By 1913 he was chairman of the Dublin United Tramway Company and owner of Clery's department store and Imperial Hotel. He also controlled the Irish Independent newspaper which is still in print today.
*Bantry is also the birthplace of Tim Healy (1855 - 1931). He was a prominent and controversial Irish nationalist, involved in the Whiteboys. Later he became a Home Rule MP in Westminster and led a faction of the party after it split in 1891. He became the first Governor-General of the Irish Free State.
*Legendary 19th century lightweight boxing champion Jack McAuliffe is a notable sportsman born in Bantry.

Sport

*Bantry Blues, Gaelic football club
*Bantry Bay Golf Club
*Bantry Bay Sailing Club
*Bantry Blues Gaelic Athletic Association
*Bantry Rowing Club
*Bantry Rugby union Club

Sister cities

*flagicon|USA La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
*

Further reading

*"Bantry in Olden Days": Richard S. Harrison (Published by Author)
* J. Kevin Hourihane, "Town Growth in West Cork: Bantry 1600-1900" in JCHAS (1977), LXXXii, no 236, 83-97.
*" Wild Gardens The Lost Demesnes of Bantry Bay" Nigel Everett Hafod Press.
*An Irish Arcadia "The Historic Gardens of Bantry House" Nigel Everett, Hafod Press 1999 ISBN 0-9535995-0-7
*"What the doctor ordered, a third Bantry anthology", compiled by Denis Cotter, Pooky Paw Press Bantry, 2000.
*"Speaking Volumes", Edith Newman Devlin, Blackstaff Press 2000 ISBN 0-85640-672-4, Bantry in early 1920s.
*"The Memoirs of John M. Regan, a Catholic Officer in the RIC and RUC, 1909–48", Joost Augusteijn, editor, District Inspector, Bantry, 1919,ISBN 978-1-84682-069-4.

See also

*List of towns in the Republic of Ireland
*Market Houses in the Republic of Ireland
*Bantry Bay
*List of Cork Archaeological sites including Bantry area.
*Durrus and District History, contains references to Bantry and Bantry Bay
*Cork (Parliament of Ireland constituency)

External links

* [http://www.bantryhouse.ie/ Bantry House]
* [http://www.bantrymusselfair.ie/ Bantry Mussel Fair]
* [http://www.westcorktravel.com/Towns/Bantry.htm Bantry History]
* [http://westcorkmusic.ie West Cork Chamber Music Festival]
*Cork Ancestors, [http://www.corkancestors.com/Bantry.htm] , [http://www.corkancestors.com/Bantry2.htm] , [http://www.corkancestors.com/Bantryrailway.htm]
* [http://www.bantry.ie Bantry.ie]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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