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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Cork County > Middleton
Midleton (Mainistir na Corann in Irish) is a town in south-eastern County Cork, Ireland. It lies some 22 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 officially part of Metropolitan Cork.

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 Cork, Carrigtwohill and Little Island. Traditionally the main commercial and retail area of the town was on the Main Street and this continues to offer varied 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 established themselves in Midleton including Tesco, Lidl, Boots and most recently Aldi. The Market Green shopping centre is located at the northern end of the town. This includes a five-screen cinema, Tesco and other stores. 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 and Aldi are located in a new shopping and residential area alongside the river. On Saturdays the park next to Super-Valu is the site for the popular Midleton Farmers' Market - one of the first such markets to be established since their rennaisance in Ireland. Midleton is also the home of one of Ireland's premier tourist destinations - the Old Midleton Distillery which includes the largest pot-still in the world.

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 cora or weir in Irish, 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.

Captain, and later Sir, Walter Raleigh had an association with Midleton living for periods in nearby Youghal between and 1585 and 1602. His presence was 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 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, now named Midleton or “Middle Town” because of its stop-off status between Cork and Youghal 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.

A private school named as Midleton College was founded by Elizabeth Villiers, former mistress of William of Orange in 1696. The school, is traditionally associated with the Church of Ireland. Past pupils include Isaac Butt, founder of the Home Rule League 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.

The town is the site of Cork Distilleries, formed in 1825, merged into Irish Distillers in 1967, and now owned by French spirits group Pernod Ricard. Distilling of whiskey, vodka and gin now takes place at the new Midleton distillery complex opened in 1975. The Old Midleton Distillery which boasts the world’s largest pot still – a copper vessel with a capacity of 140,000 litres, has been restored as a visitor centre and hosts a number of attractions including Ireland’s largest working water wheel at a diameter of 7m. Paddy Whiskey, produced in the town, takes its name from Patrick J Flaherty, a salesman for Cork Distilleries in the 1920s. The world-famous Jameson Whiskey is produced in the town.

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In: Cork
People: 6,422
Speak: English, Irish
Type: Market Town
GPS: -8.1747, 51.9088