Macroom (Maigh Chromtha) is a market town in County Cork, southwest Ireland. It stands halfway between Cork and Killarney at a point where the fertile Lee valley gives way to rugged uplands, and the road starts its climb over to County Kerry. Macroom has seen plenty of conflict, as shown by several tower houses and by the castle in town centre, the last major upheaval being the Anglo-Irish and Irish civil war of 1919-22. It's nowadays a quiet place, with a population in 2016 of 3765.
Expressway Bus 40 trundles right across Ireland from Rosslare (for ferries from Britain) via Wexford, Waterford, Dungarvan, Youghal, Midleton and Cork to Macroom, continuing to Killarney, Farranfore (for Kerry Airport) and Tralee. From Cork it takes an hour and from Killarney 50 min; this section runs hourly M-Sa and every 2 hours Sunday.
By road follow N22 which links Cork, Killarney and Tralee.
You need a car to get around this scattered rural area.
- 1 Macroom Castle: the best of it is the gatehouse on the main street. This looks like a Victorian cod-medieval invention but actually dates to 1450, though it's much restored and now holds offices. Pass through the gate (it's a public road) and the Desmesne beyond is just parkland and modern buildings, but there's the shell of the castle keep - you see it just as well from the bridge on the main street.
- 2 The Gearagh, 2 km southwest of Macroom, was one of the last primordial oak forests in Europe. In 1954 it was mostly destroyed by logging and flooding when the River Lee was dammed for a hydro-electric power scheme. It's now an extensive wetland, haunted by thousands of tree stumps and abandoned fields and farm buildings. Coarse fishing is permitted, but pike may not be taken.
- 3 Carrigaphooca Castle is a sturdy 14th century turret 4 km west of town. Carrigaphooca Stone Circle 200 m east is likely Bronze Age, circa 1000 BC; only three stones remain upright in the 5 m circle. Castle and circle are on private land and you can't see much from the wooded highway.
- 4 Prince August Toy Soldier Factory, Kilnamartyra P12 FN79 (5 km west of town), ☏ . Daily 10:00-16:00. Traditional toy soldiers and other warriors: Lord of the Rings, cowboys, footballers and so on. You can book a one-hour workshop - they make, you paint, for a €12 deposit off your order.
- 5 Michael Collins Monument marks the spot where "Ireland's lost leader" was killed on 22 Aug 1922 in an ambush at the tail-end of the Irish Civil War. See Clonakilty, Collins' birthplace, for the backstory.
- 6 Knocknakilla, 10 km north of town, is a megalithic complex from around 1500 BC. There's a stone circle and a nearby wedge tomb. Millstreet Country Park 1 km east has gone out business.
- Gougane Barra: see Bantry for this early Christian site in the hills 30 km west.
- Macroom Community Leisure Centre is just inside the castle gates. It's open M-F 09:00-22:00, Sa 09:00-18:00.
- Macroom Golf Club is along the riverbank south side of town. White tees 5594 m, par 71, visitor round €30-40.
- Briery Gap Cinema on main street has been closed since a fire in 2016.
- Zipit Forest Adventure Centre is closed until April 2021.
- Derrynasaggart Mountains are the range west of town on the Cork / Kerry boundary. There are various hikes and climbs: the highest is Mullaghanish at 649 m, with radio and TV masts on the summit.
- Aldi is the main supermarket, open M-F 09:00-22:00, Sa Su 09:00-21:00.
- Farmers' Market is held in The Square on Tuesday 09:00-14:00.
- There are ATMs outside the Bank of Ireland and the TSB.
- Macroom Oatmeal is a distinctive local stone-ground meal, produced at Walton's Mill.
- Granville's Bar & Grill, Castle St, ☏ . W-Su 12:30-21:30. Solid trad fare.
- Vaughan's Cafe, The Square, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-17:00. Great spot for the Full Irish Breakfast and midday light bites.
- Castle View Chinese is open daily 16:00-23:00.
- Mizzoni's Pizza is open daily 16:30-22:30.
- Andrew Golden's (Gerards), Main St, ☏ . Quirky trad pub, interior like a hardware store, great atmosphere.
- TP Cotters (Jacksies), Main Street P12 DX63, ☏ . M Tu Th 10:30-23:30, W 17:00-23:30, F Sa 10:30-00:30, Su 12:30-23:00. Slick friendly pub with beer garden.
- Dinneen's Bar, Main Street Macroom, ☏ . Normally a buzzing real Irish bar, but it doesn't serve food - it's too small for a kitchen - so it's been unable to open for most of 2020.
- Others in town centre are Murray's and JC Murphy's, with Mary Anne's north up Masseytown Rd.
- Top of Coom claims to be Ireland's highest pub. It's in the hills on the Cork / Kerry boundary along a lane to Kenmare, open M-Th 17:00-22:30, F-Su 12:00-22:30.
- There are no campsites or caravan parks hereabouts.
- 1 Castle Hotel, Main St, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Comfy welcoming hotel, good bar food. There's a leisure centre with gym and pool. B&B double €100.
- 2 Coolcower House, Coolcour, Macroom P12 E135, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Atmospheric hotel in quiet riverside location. It was built in the 19th century, burnt out in 1921 but rebuilt in traditional style. B&B double €100.
- 3 Cannaway House B&B, Lehenagh Carrigadrohid, Macroom (3 km east of town), ☏ . Charming B&B up a country lane. B&B double €110.
As of Nov 2020, Macroom has 4G from all Irish carriers. 5G has not reached this area.
- Bantry to the west is a good base for exploring Cork's three peninsulas: Mizen Head, Sheep's Head and Beara.
- Killarney northwest brings you to the scenic Ring of Kerry.
- Cork is the lively city to the east. With your own car, you can also cut across country to Blarney.