For other uses, see Fermoy (disambiguation).
Mainistir Fhear Maí

The weir on the Munster Blackwater through Fermoy
Motto: Seasaigí Go Buan
Let you (pl.) stand forever

Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 52°08′28″N 8°16′34″W / 52.141°N 8.276°W / 52.141; -8.276Coordinates: 52°08′28″N 8°16′34″W / 52.141°N 8.276°W / 52.141; -8.276
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Cork
Elevation 50 m (160 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
  Total 6,489
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference W808987
Website www.fermoytowncouncil.ie

Fermoy (Irish: Mainistir Fhear Maí, meaning "monastery of the Men of the Plain") is a town on the River Blackwater in east County Cork, Ireland. Its population is about 5,800, environs included (2006 census). It is located in the barony of Fermoy.

The town's name comes from the Irish and refers to a Cistercian abbey founded in the 13th century.


Mick Davis's sculpture from 2001 referencing Cistercian monks in Fermoy

Medieval Times

A Cistercian abbey was founded in Fermoy in the 13th century. At the dissolution of the monasteries during the Tudor period, the abbey and its lands passed through the following dynasties: Sir Richard Grenville, Robert Boyle and William Forward. However, the site could hardly have been regarded as a town and, by the late 18th century, was little more than a few cabins and an inn.

18th and 19th century

In 1791, the lands around Fermoy were bought by a Scotsman, John Anderson. He was an entrepreneur who developed the roads and started the mail coach system in Ireland. He designed the town and the streets remain much the same as they were originally built. In 1984, some of his descendants, living in Australia, named a winery, Fermoy Estate, after the town he established.[7] A plaque and bust in his honour were unveiled by the town park in 2001.

Garrison Town

Fermoy was the site of a major British Army barracks, when Ireland was under British rule. In 1797, when the army was looking to establish a new and permanent base, Anderson gave them the land as an inducement to locate in Fermoy. Anderson and the town received considerable economic benefit from the arrangement. In 1806 the first permanent barracks, the East Barracks, were built. They were located on 16½ acres of land and provided accommodation for 112 officers and 1478 men of infantry, and 24 officers, 120 men, and 112 horses of cavalry. A general military hospital of 130 beds was also built. In 1809 West Barracks was built. This also had a 42-bed hospital. When both barracks were complete there was accommodation for 14 field officers, 169 officers, 2,816 men, and 152 horses. By the 1830 s this was the largest military establishment on the island of Ireland. The town of Fermoy expanded around these facilities and retained its British military facilities until 1922, when the Irish Free State was first established.

20th Century – Present

During the War of Independence, Fermoy was the scene of the first attack for arms by the IRA against British troops, during which Private Jones was killed. This resulted in several reprisals, most notably when British troops looted and burned part of the town centre. One of those who led the raid, IRA Commandant Michael Fitzgerald, was subsequently captured but never tried for the offence. He later became the first IRA man to die on hunger strike during the War of Independence.


Fermoy is situated on the river Blackwater and therefore has steep hills corresponding to the river valley. The downtown area of Fermoy is located in a flood plain and has flooded relatively often in recent years, (approximately once a year on average).

Neighbouring towns and villages

Grand Hotel, Fermoy


Industries in and around the town include chemical production (by Micro Bio), ice-cream manufacturing (by Silver Pail), and power product manufacturing (by Anderson Power). The town's industries also include electronics manufacturing and assembly by Sanmina-SCI Corporation, formerly Space Craft Incorporated. Moorepark Research Institute, near Fermoy, is one of the Irish state's agricultural and food research institutes. Fermoy town is also a market town for the surrounding areas and has a number of supermarkets including SuperValu, Lidl and Aldi.


St. Colman's College is one of the best-known local secondary schools. Loreto Convent and Coláiste an Chraobhín are also located in the town. Primary schools include Gaelscoil de hÍde, Presentation Primary School, Bishop Murphy Memorial School, St. Josephs National School and Adair National School.


The Blackwater river is one of the town's major attractions and is very popular for its salmon and coarse fishing. The scenic river-side walk at Barnane is considered to be one of the town's most attractive amenities.

The town's two annual regattas – usually in early May and early September – are hosted by Fermoy Rowing Club and serve to attract over a thousand visitors each day. Fermoy Rowing Club celebrated its 125 th Anniversary in 2009 and Fermoy Regatta, by coincidence, celebrated its 70th Anniversary in the same year.

Fermoy hosted a poetry festival for the first time in 2012.[8]

Fermoy Weir Controversy

Since 2006, members of Fermoy Rowing Club and members of several of the local Angling clubs have been involved in an ongoing campaign against the Irish Government's controversial plan to radically alter the town's historic weir.

In December 2009 the then Minister of State for Natural Resources, Conor Lenihan TD, gave the owners of Fermoy Weir, Fermoy Town Council, a year to repair the damaged fish pass at the heart of the structure.

As of March 2013 the work has been completed


The R639 through Fermoy

For many years the main N8 CorkDublin road ran through Fermoy, and the town square was a major bottleneck on the route. However, the M8 motorway bypass, which included a new bridge over the Blackwater to the east of the town was opened in late 2006. The former N8 through the town is now a regional road, the R639, and Fermoy's traffic problems have been greatly eased. The town used to be connected to the Irish railway system, on a line from Mallow to Waterford, with a junction to nearby Mitchelstown through Ballindangan (see Irish railway history). Fermoy railway station opened on 17 May 1860, and finally closed on 27 March 1967.[9]

The nearest airport is Cork Airport, approximately 45 kilometres (28 miles) to the south, about half an hour off a quiet road.

A number of bus services serve the area, with the Bus Éireann services from Cork to Dublin and Dublin to Cork calling at Fermoy.


The Christian Brothers, the Presentation and Loreto Sisters, and Jehovah's Witnesses maintain a presence in the town.


The 1st Baron Fermoy was Lord Lieutenant of County Cork but was not from Fermoy. Diana, Princess of Wales was a granddaughter of Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy. The current Baron Fermoy is Maurice Roche, 6th Baron Fermoy, a first cousin of Diana, Princess of Wales and distant cousin to her sons, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Books written about Fermoy and surroundings


Some aerial scenes from 1966 war film The Blue Max were filmed near Fermoy, with the nearby Blackwater viaduct featuring prominently on screen.

In the 1980s, a well-received coming-of-age film called 'Clash of the Ash' was shot in Fermoy.[11]

See also

Twin towns

Fermoy is twinned with:


  1. "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  2. Census for post 1821 figures.
  3. http://www.histpop.org
  4. "NISRA – Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency". Nisranew.nisra.gov.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  5. Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  6. Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.
  7. Zekulich, Michael (2000). Wine Western Australia (all new ed.). Perth: St George Books. p. 159. ISBN 0867780614.
  8. "Fermoy poetry festival". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  9. "Fermoy station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 14 October 2007.
  10. Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840–1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 224. OCLC 154283103.
  11. "Clash of the Ash". TCD – Irish film and TV research. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  12. Infoveriti (2011). "KOMITET MIAST BLIŹNIACZYCH NOWA DĘBA – FERMOY – PLOEMEUR – KRS – InfoVeriti". infoveriti.pl. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  13. Nowa Dęba City Council (2011). "Oficjalna strona Miasta i Gminy Nowa Dęba / Organizacje pozarządowe". nowadeba.pl. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
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