Bandon Angling Association


Bandon Angling Association History

The Club was founded in 1931. At first members held meetings in each others houses, but soon the interest increased and so did membership.The first Chairman was Tom Tanner.

Some of the names recorded at that time were; Jack McCarthy, who also acted as Chairman many times over the next 20 years. Tom Carey was the first Secretary and his son Don is now our President.

Other names of anglers who fished with Bandon Club were; Morty Blanchfield, Roy Lee, Jerome and Denis O'Driscoll, Fergus Crowley, Gordon Richards, Jerm. O'Mahony(Gerards Dad), Denis O'Mahony, Ben Blake, Teddy Desmond, Murie Craig and his brother Melville, Wm. Scott, JJ. O'Leary, P Crowley NT.,and many others They fly fished most of the waters that members fish today.

Over the years the Club blossomed into the vibrant Association we have today, with approximately 260 adult members and yearly about 100 junior members. We manage approximately 11 kilometers of double bank fishing, giving a great variety for our anglers.

Visitors are warmly welcome on our Fisheries and visitors love the fact that we don't have any "beats". They can fish at leisure on our waters for wild Atlantic Salmon, Sea Trout and wild Brown Trout. Our subscriptions and visitors permits are kept to a minimum, as directed by our Constitution which was first instituted in 1958.

Bandon - A Quick History Lesson

To Elizabeth's plantation policy, after the Desmond rebellion, Bandon owes its origin. In the Bandon area the O'Mahonys, who supported this rebellion, were uprooted from their castle at Castle Mahon (later Castle Bernard). Their lands in the Bandon area in the barony of Kinalmeaky were confiscated. This land was given to the English undertaker Phane Beecher. In 1604 Phane Becher's son leased all this land to Captain William Newce and John Archdeacon. Newce's land was to the north of the river.

Around this time the town was being developed to the east of the castle. Houses were built on flat land on both sides of the river. The material used for the building of the houses was mainly wood as there was a plentiful supply of trees along the river valley. A stone gable was constructed. Later a street pattern developed. All the streets faced their backs to the river itself. Several bridges, over a period of time, were built crossing the river and the town became known as Bandon-Bridge or in Irish Droichead Na Banndan.

In 1613 and 1619 the First Earl of Cork, Richard Boyle, purchased the former owner's interest in the town of Bandon and by 1625 Boyle was the sole owner of the town on both sides of the river. He never lived in Bandon but in Youghal. In 1613 James 1 granted a charter to Bandon and a Council was set up consisting of a Provost and eleven Burgesses. Two members from Bandon attended the Irish Parliament in 1613. Boyle set about to develop his new town and induced several Puritan families from England, mainly Somerset, to Bandon. He built new houses and set about building the town walls and gates. The walls began in 1613 and were completed by 1625. Very few traces of the walls can be seen to day, as the original walls did not last long.

Boyle developed all his new lands in Ireland by promoting agriculture, mining and milling. The river Bandon and its tributary the Bridewell provided power for the mills. The first mill was at Coolfada where a weir was constructed to harness the water. To day this weir is used to generate electricity. There were many trades in Bandon and a lot of these were based on the rich fertile agriculture lands along the river valley. Bandon town was very dependent on agriculture. Agriculture based products such as meat, butter and corn were mainly exported through the port of Kinsale and merchants imported wines, spices, sugar and tobacco.) etc. The Bandon Militia was formed for the defense of the settlement. Bandon also had important juridical functions with courthouses on each side of the river.

In 1622 there were about 250 houses in Bandon. Boyle funded all the public buildings in the town such as the Market Houses.) the Churches, the schools, the prison and of course the town walls and gates.

As Bandon developed on both sides of the river it had two of every thing such as market houses, churches etc. The north side of Bandon was in Kilbrogan parish and the south side in Ballymodan parish.

In 1748 when Charlotte Boyle married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, part of the town became the property of the Duke of Devonshire. Their residence in Ireland is Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford. The Bernard family who later became the Earls of Bandon occupied Castle Mahon and renamed it Castle Bernard. It was burnt during the War of Independence in 1921. The eighteenth-century saw an upsurge of industries in Bandon such as cotton milling, woolen, brewing, distilling baking, printing etc. George Allman's very large but short lived cotton mill opened in c. 1804 at Overton outside Bandon. In 1825 George Allman and his sons began whiskey making at Monorone (now part of Bandon Mart). Religion and Education also played an important part in nineteenth Bandon. From 1820 onwards Bandon population began to fall.

The first train arrived in Bandon in 1849 and the West Cork railway closed in 1961.

Dundaniel Castle

The remains of this castle stands beside the main road between Bandon and Innishannon on the angle of the confluence of the Brinny and Bandon rivers. It was built by Barry Oge about 1460.The name "Dundaniel" may have come from: (a) "Dun Da abhainn" meaning the fortress of the two rivers. .(b) "the fortress of two backs" that is having its back to or protected by its two rivers.

About the year 1612 the East Indian Company established a depot for smelting iron ore on the castle grounds.This ore was shipped from England.The company needed alot of fuel for the smelter works so they purchased the woods around the area. The Irish resented the smelter from the beginning, when they saw the widespread destruction of their beautiful woods they decided to do something about it.They harassed and terrified the settlers so much so that they were forced to leave the area. The smelter closed shortly after. It is also believed that they built ships here.After some time it was decided that Kilmacsimon was a more suitable site for shipbuilding and was moved there.

Under the supression of the great rebellion of 1641 Dundaniel Castle, which was at the time belonged to Daniel Mc Carthy Reagh, was granted to Richard,Earl of Cork.

Local legend has it that this castle was once the scene of a competition between two local men for the hand of the daughter of the castle.The winner of the lady's hand had to be the first to climb the castle wall .Of course the man she loved never made it to the top and drowned in the river. A poem called "Eileen Barry Oge" was written about this romantic tale.

Where the Brinny swiftly flowing meets the Bandon's rapid tide,
The water, ere they mingle, wash the castle's rugged side,
Whose ivied walls and ruined tower, still beautiful and grand,
Are sad remants of the greatness of our once proud native land.

Three hundred years have passed away since Barry Oge did dwell,
In his castle at Dundaniel, 'mid the scenes he loved so well,
This his little daughter Aileen, his darling and his pride,
No fairer maid than she was thee in all that countryside.

Full many a high-born suitor came, whose castle and broad land
He'd lay with joy at Aileen's feet, if honoured with her hand;
But there was one she better loved than any of that throng,
For hand and heart she long had pledged to Roch of Poulnalong.

And oft when night was closing on the burning Summer's day,
From the shadow of his Castle's wall his bark would speed away,
Nor stayed his oar, nor stopped his hand, till one feeble ray of light,
Shot out from Aileen's window to guide him through the night.

But McCarthy Reagh, Kilgobbin's lord, the lady too, did claim,
And to him as to the others Barry Oge replied the same:
"The Chief who win's my daughter must bear the palm away,
From all the rivals for the prize on our next Lady's Day.

The day has come which shall decide whose bride will Aileen be,
And by the Bandon's pleasant stream the sight was fair to see.
For he who plucks the scarlet rose which grows on yonder tower,
Will call Aileen Barry Oge his own before another hour.

The proudest five of Munster's Chiefs are climbing high the wall,
But ere one-third its height is passed young Roch outstrips them all,
For love has nerved his arm and eye as he scales the dizzy height,
And now his hand has put forth to pluck the rose so bright.

But cruel fate has ordered that his touch it ne'er shall fell,
One loving glance at Aileen, and his fearful brain doth reel.
The treacherous stone has given way whereon his foot had stood,
And his mangled body plunges in the river's rapid flood.

On Aileen's face no smile was seen since Roch sank 'neath the wave,
She joined him ere a twelve month in the land beyond the grave,
And when another week its course o'er Barry Oge had sped,
He was gathered to his fathers in their home among the dead.

Castle Bernard

In 1788 Francis Bernard, who became the 1st Earl of Bandon demolished much of the old O'Mahony castle on the site, and built an 18th century castellated mansion in front of it and slightly to the east.The old O'Mahony castle had been renamed Castle Bernard in 1715 by "Judge" Bernard.

The new building was not strictly a castle, but rather an elegant castellated residence even though it continued to bear the name of a castle in the fashion of the time.

James Francis Bernard (nicknamed Bucksot Bandon), the 4th Earl of Bandon (1850-1924) was a British Deputy Lieutenant in Ireland and Representative Peer. Lord Bandon was a cousin of the Earl of Middleton, who was head of the southern Irish Unionists at the time of the Anglo-Irish War (1919-1921). Castle Bernard became known as one of the most hospitable houses in Ireland and the house parties held by the fourth earl and his wife were legendary. In an early morning raid on 21 June 1921 during the days of the Black & Tans, a party of IRA under Sean Hales called. They intended to kidnap Lord Bandon, but Buckshot Bandon and his staff had taken refuge in the cellars. Apparently disappointed in the first object of their call the IRA decided to burn the house. Hales was heard to say- " well the bird has flown, so we'll burn the nest".

At that the Earl and his party appeared from the cellars, but it was too late, the fire had started. Ironically the IRA carefully took out all the furniture and piled it on the lawn before setting the building on fire. The Lady Bandon of that time had to sit and watch the flames for some hours, when the flames were at their height, she suddenly stood up in her nightgown and sang God save the King as loudly as possible, which disconcerted the incendiaries, but while they may not have stood to attention, they let her have her say and did nothing about it.

Lord Bandon was then kidnapped by the local IRA and held hostage for three weeks, being released on 12 July. The IRA threatened to have him executed if the British went ahead with executing IRA prisoners of war. During his captivity, Bandon coolly played cards with his captors, who treated him well. Tom Barry later stated he believed the kidnapping helped move the British towards the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 and the cessation of hostilities.

The elderly Earl Bandon never recovered from the experience and died in 1924.Some years later, when the last of the IRA burning party died, the late Lord Paddy Bandon was asked to go to the funeral, which he did - in full funeral regalia of top hat and morning coat. Castle Bernard continued to be the home of the Earl and Countess of Bandon - they built a small house within the Castle boundary walls.The Earl died in 1979, and as they had no son the title became extinct. Lady Bandon died in 1999 aged 102.Lady Jenifer who inherited the property still lives on the grounds of the castle today.

Salmon Hatchery at Innishannon

"At Bandon, the earliest record of fishing was found in the accounts of the “wards and escheats” held by de Courcy and given by Walter de la Haye, Escheator of Ireland, for the period from 29th September 1305 to 3rd February 1306. Rent for the operation of “the third part of a wear (head weir) at Tisaxon, on the left bank of the river amounted to 9s. 6d.

In the 21st century the freshwater owners embarked on the construction of a salmon hatchery at Inishannon. Though the nearby river Ilen depended on getting salmon eggs exclusively from the Rhine (Weser), the Bandon relied on its own runs with G.C.Browne turning out 45,000 and M. Frewen releasing 40,000 in 1898. A further 20,000 were released in 1899. Mr Frewen put his captured adult salmon to good use for having stripped the fish of their eggs he attached an external tag to the base of their dorsal fin and released them.

This was part of the Departments first tagging trials and was featured at the Cork International Exhibition in 1902. Thanks to Mr F. Stenning exactly 100 years ago Bandon tagged salmon were at sea exactly 100 years ago. The tags were large by today’s standards but show remarkable initiative in the area of salmon research.