Midleton[2] (/ˈmɪdəltən/; Irish: Mainistir na Corann, meaning "Monastery at the Weir"), is a town in south-eastern County Cork, Ireland.[3] It lies some 16 km east of Cork City on the Owenacurra River and the N25 road, which connects Cork to the port of Rosslare. A satellite town of Cork City, Midleton is part of Metropolitan Cork. It is the central hub of business for the East Cork Area.


Mainistir na Corann
Old Distillery with copper pot still, Midleton

Coat of arms
Labore et Honore
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51.916°N 8.175°W / 51.916; -8.175
Dáil ConstituencyCork East
EU ParliamentSouth
5 m (16 ft)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)21
Irish Grid ReferenceW879736


In the 1180s advancing Normans led by Barry Fitz Gerald established an abbey at a weir on the river to be populated by Cistercian Monks from Burgundy. The abbey became known as "Chore Abbey" and "Castrum Chor", taking its name from the Irish word cora (weir), although some say that "Chor" comes from "Choir" or "Choral". The abbey is commemorated in the Irish name for Midleton, Mainistir na Corann, or "Monastery at the Weir", and of the local river Owenacurra or Abhainn na Cora meaning "River of the Weirs". St John the Baptist's Church, belonging to the Church of Ireland was erected in 1825 and today still stands on the site of the abbey.[3]

Captain Walter Raleigh (later Sir Walter) had an association with Midleton, living for periods in nearby Youghal between 1585 and 1602. His presence came about due to a distribution of land in reward for helping suppress the Second Desmond Rebellion of 1579–1583. As part of this suppression he was ordered to seize Barry's Castle at nearby Cahermore. The Desmond FitzGerald Seneschal, or steward of Imokilly, on being expelled from the castle, took refuge in the Abbey, but was again forced to flee by Raleigh.

Raleigh is credited with planting the first potatoes in Europe, also at Youghal.

The town gained the name Midleton or "Middle Town" as the main midway town, 10 miles between Cork and Youghal. It was incorporated as a market town and postal depot in 1670, receiving its charter from Charles II, as the "borough and town of Midleton". Later it would become a post town of the Great Southern and Western Railway.

Alan Brodrick, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and Lord Chancellor of Ireland was made the first Baron and Viscount Midleton in 1715 and 1717, respectively. He is commemorated by Broderick St in the town.

The town is home to the Old Midleton Distillery which was established by James Murphy in 1825.[4] The distillery operated independently until 1868, when it became part of the Cork Distilleries Company, which was later amalgamated into Irish Distillers in 1967.[4] In 1988, Irish Distillers was the subject of a friendly takeover by the French drinks conglomerate Pernod Ricard.[4] The Old Midleton Distillery, which boasts the world's largest pot still – a copper vessel with a capacity of 140,000 litres, was in operation until 1975 when production was transferred to a new purpose built facility, the New Midleton Distillery.[4] The New Midleton Distillery produces a number of Irish whiskeys, including Jameson Whiskey, Redbreast, and Paddy. In addition, it also produces vodka and gin. In 1992, the old distillery was restored and reopened as a visitor centre.[5] Known as the Jameson Experience, the visitor centre hosts a number of attractions, including Ireland's largest working water-wheel (with a diameter of 7m).[6]

At the top of the main street stands a monument to 16 Irish Republican Army men killed on 20 February 1921 during the Irish War of Independence. Twelve of the IRA men were killed in fighting with members of the British Army at the nearby Clonmult Ambush, while four more were captured and later executed. The incident was the biggest single loss of life for the IRA during the war. 'Captain' Sean O'Shea led the Clonmult gang and is buried as head of the Republican Plot at Midleton cemetery. Nearby stands a monument marking the 200th anniversary of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Two houses designed by Augustus Pugin, later the architect of the Houses of Parliament in London, stand at the bottom of Main Street. They now form one building and house a public bar.[7]

Midleton College

Elizabeth Villiers, former mistress of William of Orange, founded the private school named Midleton College in 1696. The school is traditionally associated with the Church of Ireland. Past pupils include Isaac Butt, founder of the Home Rule League, Reginald Dyer, perpetrator of the Amritsar Massacre and John Philpot Curran, lawyer and father of Sarah Curran amongst its past pupils. Rachael Kohler, an Irish International field hockey player, was also educated there. Today the school Principal is Dr Edward Gash.

Midleton today

Midleton has a growing population, employed locally in retail, light manufacturing, food production, tourism and whiskey distilling. At nearby Whitegate is the state's first gas-fired power station as well as Ireland's only oil refinery. Many Midleton residents also commute to jobs in the Cork city, Carrigtwohill or Little Island. Traditionally the main commercial and retail area of the town was on the Main Street and this continues to provide shopping - primarily with local ownership. In recent years the commercial part of Midleton has expanded to the old site of Midleton Mart, now called Market Green. A number of multinational retailers have outlets in Midleton, including Tesco, Lidl, McDonald's, Boots, Aldi and Subway. The Market Green shopping centre is located at the northern end of the town. This includes a five-screen cinema, Tesco and other stores and the Midleton Park Hotel is just across the road. A locally owned supermarket, Hurley's Super-Valu, is also located at the northern end of the town opposite the so-called 'Gooses Acre'. Lidl, Aldi and McDonald's are located in a new shopping and residential area alongside the river. On Saturdays the park next to SuperValu is the site for the Midleton Farmers' Market – one of the first such markets to be established since their renaissance in Ireland.

Midleton is also the home of the Old Midleton Distillery, a tourist attraction which includes the largest pot-still in the world. In 2015, the large steel sculpture Kindred Spirits was installed in Bailick Park.


The town is located in a fertile valley below hills to the north with Cork Harbour and the coast to the south. In times past, the channel from the Harbour to nearby Ballinacurra (Irish: Baile na Cora, meaning "Town at the Weir"), was navigable by barges up to 300 tonnes. Due to silting over the years, the channel is now extremely shallow.


As of the 2016 census, Midleton had a population of 12,496. Of these, 72% were white Irish, less than 1% white Irish travellers, 17% other white ethnicities, 4% black, 1% Asian, 1% other ethnicities, and 4% did not state their ethnicity. In terms of religion the area was 77% Catholic, 9% other stated religions, 11% with no religion, and 3% not stated.[8]



Midleton railway station is on the Cork Suburban Rail network and is one of two termini (the other being Cobh) into and out of Cork Kent railway station. Passengers interchange at Cork Kent for trains to Dublin and Tralee.

The railway line to Midleton was opened on 10 November 1859 by the Cork & Youghal Railway, a company that was later taken over by the Great Southern & Western Railway. Midleton was the location of the railway works for this company.

The line between Midleton and Cork was closed for regular use between 1963 and 2009. Occasional use (mainly transport of beet from Midleton to the Mallow Sugar Factory) continued for many years after 1963, but even the sporadic usage of the line came to an end in 1988, with the final train to use the track being a passenger excursion for Midleton GAA supporters to Dublin for the final of the All Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship (in which Midleton played). The reopening of the line was completed by Iarnród Éireann on 30 July 2009.[9]


The nearest airport is Cork Airport.


Bus Éireann run bus services to and from Midleton, including to Cork City Bus Station, Whitegate, Waterford, Ballinacurra, Carrigtwohill, Little Island, Glounthaune and Tivoli.


Midleton GAA is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club, and Midleton RFC the local rugby club. Martial arts groups include the Midleton Aikido Club [which has been teaching Aikido in East Cork since 2006] and Midleton Taekwondo Club. Midleton F.C. is the local soccer team, and there is also a cricket club.

Notable people

See also


  1. "Census 2016 - Small Area Population Statistics (SAPMAP Area) - Settlements - Midleton". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office.
  2. Ordnance Survey Ireland: Online map viewer (choose "historic")
  3. The illustrated road book of Ireland. London: Automobile Association. 1970.
  4. Townsend, Peter (1997–1999). The Lost Distilleries of Ireland. Glasgow: Neil Wilson Publishing. ISBN 9781897784877.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  5. "Taoiseach Officially Marks Irish Distillers' Expansion at Midleton Distillery". Irish Distillers. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  6. Shepherd, S; et al. (1992). Illustrated guide to Ireland. London: Reader's Digest.
  7. "McDaids, 55,56 Main Street, Midleton, County Cork". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
  8. "Midleton". Census 2016 - Small Area Population Statistics. CSO. 2016.
  9. Irish Rail – Projects – Glouthaune – Midleton
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