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Mitchelstown

Mitchelstown is a town in County Cork, Ireland with a population of approximately 3300. Mitchelstown is situated in the valley to the south of the Galtee Mountains close to the Mitchelstown Caves and is 28 km from Cahir, 50 km from Cork and 59 km from Limerick. The River Gradoge runs by the town into the River Funshion, which in turn is a tributary of the River Blackwater. The town is best known as a centre for cheese production.NameThe name of Mitchelstown originates from the Anglo-Norman family called 'St Michel' who founded a settlement close to the site of the present town in the 13th century. The village was originally known as 'Villa Michel'. The modern name comes from the Anglicized version of the later Gaelic derived Ballyvisteala or Ballymistealy. A nearby earlier settlement was established in the townland of Brigown, it was known by this name and had monastic origins being founded in the 7th century by Saint Fanahan (Fionn Cú = White Hound), a warrior monk famed in medieval times for his fiery temper.HistoryThe town evolved as a hotchpotch of cabins and laneways beside Mitchelstown Castle. Evidence would suggest that the castle was built first and that the village and town came later, probably in late 13th or early 14th centuries. In the 1770s, the medieval town was replaced by the present town which is situated east and south of King Square. It was laid out in a grid pattern of two main streets intersected by a number of smaller streets. The medieval town was demolished, and the then owners of Mitchelstown — Robert, Viscount Kingsborough (later 2nd Earl of Kingston) and his wife Caroline — built a new palladian styled mansion to replace the earlier castle which had stood on the site. Mitchelstown is today regarded as one of the best planned Georgian towns in Ireland. Some of its streets are named after members of the King family, namely Robert, George, Edward, James, Thomas and King (the family name). The other streets of the Georgian town are Church Street, Baldwin Street, Alley Lane, Chapel Hill, Convent Hill, King Square, New Square and Mulberry Lane.
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