Bandon – Here and Now
If you’re looking for an active town where it’s all about quality of life, then Bandon has more than most. High quality schools, clubs, societies, a wide range of restaurants, cars, food stores, financial and legal services as well as an availability of high quality fashion retailers …… this is Bandon in the 21’st century. Then include the wide range of activities that are organised locally …Bandon Music Festival, the Summerfest, Christmas Lighting, St Patrick’s Day Parade as well as the many sporting activities… drag racing, pony trotting and recently, the All Ireland Road Bowling Championships…Bandon caters for all!
The best way to see Bandon is to experience what it has to offer. Walk the streets, meet the people and see for yourself as to what we mean.
Industry and Services
While there have been a number of new developments, much of the town’s economy is still based on the prosperous agriculture of the surrounding area. Local farmers have taken advantage of the Common Agricultural Policy to invest heavily and to modernize. Bandon Co-Operative Creamery formed about a century ago continues to produce butter and has become involved in cheese making locally and in the major milk processing factory at Ballineen. It caters for farm inputs, e.g. animal feed and fertiliser from a large site on the Macroom Road. It also has an extensive retail store selling various items of farm equipment and household goods. Located in the same area is the Anglo Irish Beef Packers factory which processes beef mainly for export. Bandon facilitates farmers by supplying and maintaining a variety of farm machinery. South Western Services is involved in cattle breeding, forestry and other farm services. It also maintains a national register of all cattle born in Ireland.
One of the effects of Ireland joining the EEC in 1973 was to encourage U.S. pharmaceutical companies to locate in Ireland in order to secure their markets in Europe. Bandon benefited as Schering-Plough set up a large manufacturing plant at Brinny. Not alone did this provide direct employment but it provided opportunities for local businesses. It also has made a significant contribution to local events and charities.
Business people in Bandon are leading the way with the creation of a bio fuel that can act as a replacement for diesel which is continuing to increase in price.
Bandon is often regarded as the motor capital of West Cork. There are many car sales outlets and they provide an extensive range of makes and models as well as excellent after sales service. Competition provides choice and value for the customer interested in buying a new or second hand car. Large numbers of customers are attracted from Cork city as well as West Cork. The pool of skilled workers available is essential to this industry and to other light engineering and electrical industries in the town.. Roughly 20 different car manufacturers sell their cars in Bandon. Customers travel from all over Munster to pick up a bargain in Bandon. The dealers have won awards at local and national level and the local competition is to the benefit of the consumer.
One of the most obvious changes in the last few years in Bandon has been the level of construction. House and apartment building has transformed the town. Shops and offices have been extensively renovated and a large shopping centre constructed. This work has been carried out almost entirely by local builders who along with local
investors show great enterprise. Not alone have they been active in Bandon but some have carried out extensive building projects throughout the country. This activity has stimulated the development of plumbing, electrical and joinery subcontractors as well as builders providers and hardware stores. Well known companies include both Fleming Construction and Coolfadda Developers.
The construction of the Riverview Centre and car park in the western part of the town centre has had a major impact on retailing in Bandon. This retail complex is now one of the, if not the largest in west Cork with free parking for hundreds of cars and a weekly footfall of c.50,000 people per week. Further changes in the retail sector are also in the pipeline. Bandon has a very large catchment area of customers. It can be said that Bandon has a lot of competition to deal with being close to Cork but it is also an opportunity for the investor being so close to Cork without the high rent and rates. For the knowledgeable consumer, they will know that Bandon has such a large range of shops that all tastes are catered for. Indeed, the introduction of many ladies clothes shops has made Bandon into a boutique and wedding town.
Bandon is a major financial centre. All the main Irish banks are represented in the South Main Street. It is probably the busiest and best served town in the South West in this respect. It is the financial capital of West Cork. There are also two mutual building societies and an expanding Credit Union. As well as catering for personal banking, these institutions provide finance for business activity. Other business services are provided by numbers of estate agents, accountants and insurance brokers. Legal services are well provided for by a number of offices in the town.
The public is well served by a number of medical clinics, dental practices, opticians and pharmacies. Southdoc on the Macroom Road provides ‘after hours’ GP services for the local area. Bandon is also within easy reach of Cork University Hospital which is less than 20 miles away. The newly opened ‘Fionnuisce’ health centre brings personal wellness to a new level. Locals are spoilt for choice with the range of health, beauty and complementary therapies available in the locality.
Bandon has a number of primary and secondary schools and others have been expanded. The high quality of the education provided equips students to go on to third level colleges. Many return to apply this knowledge locally. The awards won at national level have highlighted Bandon as a centre of excellence for enabling the youth of today to reach their full potential. It is a major reason why so many people have moved to the area in the last few years…quality of education, a large range of subject choices, a wide range of activities for young and old, affordable housing prices plus a good quality of life ….These tick all the right boxes when it comes to deciding the locality of one’s future.
Population and Society
The population has shown a significant growth in recent years. There has been some increase in the birth rate but the decline in emigration, the return of emigrants, the arrival of immigrants and the migration of Irish workers to Bandon are probably the more important factors. Bandon town has a population of c.6,000 while there are over 15,000 people who live within a 10 mile radius. Famous people of Bandon include – TV star Graham Norton, Brian Crowley MEP and Dr Clare O’Leary – adventurer. We are very lucky to have so many more well known business, sporting and community oriented people living in the area…. Too many to mention but their efforts are often recognised at the Annual Bandon Opinion Awards.
Living in Bandon
With a wide range of housing, a huge choice of clubs and societies to choose from and availability of top quality schools. Bandon has a lot to offer. Closeness to Cork city on one side while access to West Cork on the other, Bandonians are spoilt for choice. On the labour front, there is a mixed range of primary, secondary and tertiary activities all located in the Bandon area. Well known firms who employ locals include EMC, South Western Services, Schering Plough as well as the many busy retail outlets within the town and the other industries located on the outskirts.
Bandon Show, the Summerfest activity week, the very popular Music Festival are just some of the highlights. The town has set the standard for Christmas lighting in the country. Drag racing, pony trotting and road bowling have all had national competitions in the Bandon area. The Bandon Music Festival is now attracting some of the best bands in Ireland. Many of these activities are often publicized on the www.bandon.ie website.
Bandon has become a commuter town. Large numbers travel to work in Cork city each day. Most travel by car but a regular bus service on weekdays is quite well supported. Why do people choose to come to live here? Perhaps it is for some of the following reasons: There is adequate and expanding accommodation. While living in Bandon, there is the feeling that unlike suburbia, the place has a heart, a history and a tradition. These can be exploited to attract newcomers and tourists. New developments of houses have been cropping up throughout the town and the possible increase in local population should have many positive knock-on effects.
Societies and Clubs
There are endless opportunities for people to become involved in the community in non-sporting activities. Many people are active in their churches and in politics. Some organisations are very much involved in charitable work at local, national and international level. The Chernobyl Children’s Project is well supported in Bandon raising money, transporting aid and building facilities for disaster victims in Eastern Europe .Many homes in the Bandon area have opened their doors to children from this area. There are numerous clubs catering for art, music, flower arranging, public speaking and local history.
The annual ‘Richie O’Neill’ Cork to Bandon Walk’ has raised over one million euro to aid cancer treatment. This has now been superceded by the 'Make Your mark On Cancer Walk'. The efforts made by the Bandon branch of the Irish Cancer Society are to be commended. The Bandon Show Society organises a very successful agricultural show and equestrian events annually. There is a Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, Business Association and Tidy Towns Committee which actively promote the amenities and business life of the town. Representatives of many organisations come together to promote important occasions and events like the recent ‘Bandon 400’ and Bandon Summer Fest. The Funky Fish café has proved very popular with the youth of the town.
Bandon - A Proud Sporting Tradition
Bandon has a long and proud sporting tradition and that is still very much evident today. The town has something to offer everyone, whether it is in team or individual pursuits, and from the very young up to senior citizen, there is something for everyone. Over the years, various clubs and sporting organisations have built up tremendous facilities, and Bandon can now boast of having amenities that can rival any town throughout the country. Provincial, national and international champions can be found in a variety of sports, and each year sees the roll of honour growing! A comprehensive list of all sporting associations can be found by logging on to www.bandon.ie, or if looking for information on any Club, contact the site and a reply will be forwarded to you asap.
Bandon is superbly catered for when it comes to activities and training for kids of all ages. From gymnastics to dance, tennis to hockey, or soccer to hurling, Bandon has it all, and no child can say there is nothing there for them to do! Saturday morning in particular is an incredible sight around the various clubs’, with Bandon Rugby Club alone having up to 300 young boys and girls in action. The Club is one of the oldest in the country and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2008. It recently added an all-weather floodlit training pitch to its impressive facilities in Old Chapel, and the summer months sees tag rugby competitions in operation for all ages.
The other main sporting organisations are also very well supported in terms of numbers, with Bandon Athletic Club, Soccer Club, G.A.A. Club, Hockey Club, Tennis Club, and many others offering training once or twice a week. The local schools, both national and secondary, also see sport as an important part of their school programmes, and in recent years tremendous success has been achieved, with All Ireland titles won in athletics, basketball, football, hockey and hurling. Of course the adults are also looked after, with all of the above running very successful and vibrant clubs for those that have moved on from the kid stage, even if we all remain young at heart! Bandon Golf Club is another reaching a big milestone in its history, 2009 seeing it celebrate its centenary. The Club has a magnificent 18 hole parkland course situated in Castle Bernard, and having revamped and added new holes in recent years, it is now regarded as one of the top and most challenging courses in the county. Green Fees are accepted at the club throughout the week, with an open singles competition running during the summer months every Thursday.
Bandon Tennis Club is adjacent to the 1st tee on the golf course, and has grown from strength to strength in recent years. No town would be complete without its G.A.A. Club of course, with The Charlie Hurley Park in Bandon home to the local sides. Bandon Soccer Club and Athletic Club are both based in The Town Park, where a ‘pay as you play’ Pitch & Putt course is also located. If it’s the indoors you prefer, perhaps a call to Bandon Badminton Club, Bandon Karate Club, or one of the 2 Taekwondo Clubs would be in order! Perhaps it’s the equestrian world that tickles your fancy, or maybe a spot of fishing! How about greyhound racing, or perhaps road bowling! Maybe it’s sailing, surfing, or kayaking!
Bandon has it all, why not get in shape and check it out!
Bandon is an attractive tourist location but its’ potential has yet to be fully exploited. Those who choose to stay in the area are very satisfied with the location and the attention they receive. As the crow-flies, Bandon is ‘7 miles from 7 beaches’. The West Cork Heritage centre is a ‘hidden treasure’. Many people use the Heritage Centre to trace their ancestors as it holds copies of many of the birth and death records of the West Cork area from times past.
Quite apart from the places of interest in the town and its surroundings, for the motoring tourist it is convenient for visiting Cork City, Blarney, Clonakilty, Kinsale, Bantry, Glengarriff and other areas in West Cork as well as Killarney and Kenmare in Kerry.
The ‘Places of Interest’ section on this website has proven very popular and enjoyable for the visitor. There are also Tourism Information points located on Market St as well as the old gardens near the Allin Institute near the bridge.
In order to exploit the amazing history and tap into the huge potential tourism market available, a lot has been done but there is a lot yet more to do.
Details of what’s happening in Bandon are often posted on the calendar section of the www.bandon.ie website.