**Brief Background & History**
Fermoy (from the Irish Mainistir Fhear Maí, meaning Monastery of the Welcome Plain) is in County Cork, Ireland. It is a town of around 5,800 inhabitants situated on the River Blackwater in the south of Ireland. The name of the town comes from the Irish and refers to a Cistercian abbey founded in the 12th century and a form on the Blackwater, around which the town grew up.
In 1791, the lands 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
Fermoy was the site of a major British Army barracks when Ireland was under imperial rule. By the 1830s this was the largest military establishment on the island of Ireland. In 1791 John Anderson purchased two thirds of the manor. In 1797, when the army was looking to establish a new and permanent base, Anderson gifted them the land as an inducement to locate in Fermoy. Anderson and the whole town received considerable economic benefit from that gift.
During the War of Independence, Fermoy was the scene of the first of the British Government reprisals, when soldiers of the East Kent Regiment and members of the Royal Flying Corps looted and then burnt the main shops of the town, after one soldier had been killed and his companions relieved of their weapons (on their way to church) by the local IRA the day before under the command of local IRA Commandant Michael Fitzgerald.
Fermoy is in a very scenic location, in the Blackwater valley, nestled at the foot of the Galtee Mountains. The Blackwater river is the town's major tourist attraction, attracting fishermen, mainly from England. The river is abundant with salmon, which can be seen leaping up the salmon steps on the weir.
The town used to be connected to the Irish Railway System, on a line from Mallow to Waterford, with a junction to nearby Mitchelstown. Fermoy railway station opened on 17 May 1860 and finally closed on 27 March 1967.
The nearest airport to Fermoy is Cork International Airport which is around an hours car journey.
Fermoy is home to a famous US born Irish dancer, Michael Flatley who starred in the world renowned Riverdance and also his very own Lord of the Dance (a quick aside is that my mum saw him coming out of a church in Fermoy after his wedding recently!).
**Places to Eat**
As mentioned there are a few restaurants including a Chinese and the normal pubs. One in particular is called Charlie Brown's. Charlie Browne's is located on the north side of Fermoy bridge opposite Town Park. This pub is a family run pub and is renowned for its friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Bar food is served daily with superb sandwiches and snacks on offer. A la carte menu is available from 6.00 p.m to 10.00 p.m. I was told to have a steak when I went to Charlie Brown's and I must say I wasn't disappointed. It was a huge and very tasty piece and it was accompanied by a lovely mound of chips. The meal (for 3 adults) was around 60 euros, which I think was a fantastic price.
Corbett Court is another favourite, based in Kilworth just under 8km outside of Fermoy. Corbett Court was built in the early 1900's and has had many uses over the years. It was used by the British Army as an officers mess in its early days. It was also a bottling plant. In more recent times it has been a nightclub. It was extended and completely renovated in 1997 and is now a large family restaurant. Family owned and run it offers excellent value for families, individuals and commercial customers. It is famed for its fish and even if you are not keen on fish there are several tasty treats on the menu, including their ever changing specials board.
To be honest if you ask any locals they will be happy to tell you of any recommended and well loved places to eat.
The town has a few good shops, but isn't really that good for shopping as such. You have the local dvd/video rental store, the mini-supermarkets, the corner shops and the knick knack shops. There are a few clothes shops, but if you want to do some serious shopping I suggest going to Cork city centre or possibly the new Mahon Point Shopping Centre (which is like Bluewater or Lakeside).
Cork city centre is around an hours drive away, but once you are there it is fantastic. With lots of narrow winding streets and plenty of places to sit down, relax, and take in the sights.
Cork's Mahon Point Shopping Centre offers an exciting range of high street stores, restaurants, cafes, a 13 screen cinema and additional leisure facilities.
I have never stayed in any hotel/b&b accommodation in Fermoy as my mum lives there, but there are a few hotels around that look very lovely. One in particular is The Grand Hotel, which is exactly as it sounds, grand! An old style hotel with brass, mahogany and high ceilings located on the banks of the River Blackwater it is a lovely, warm, welcoming hotel. (we went in for some lunch once!)
**Things to Do**
As you can imagine, Fermoy a quiet town with not a great deal to do in the way that maybe Cork has. However there are lovely walks that can be taken from Fermoy, into the lovely countryside, and also walks from surrounding towns, such as Mitchelstown into the Galtee Mountains.
Foto Wildlife Park is a must for anyone with children (and without!). It's a fairly large wildlife reserve that you can walk around and see all manner of animals including wallabies, cheetahs, penguins and many, many more, it's a nature trail to remember.
Fermoy is also well known among anglers and golfers, with fantastic fishing in the River Blackwater and its own 18 hole golf course.
My mum moved to Ireland 7 years ago and chose Fermoy as her new home. She doesn't live in the town itself, but about a 15 minute drive outside (in the sticks!). When I first came to Fermoy I fell in love with it immediately. It is such a picturesque place with the beautiful River Blackwater running right through its heart and even the shops seem to have kept their charm. It really is like a postcard!
The locals are fantastic and are very welcoming and helpful, so if you have any questions about where to eat or what to do when you are there, ask them, they are brilliant.
Of course there are a number of pubs around the town and all of them have a welcoming atmosphere. One that I frequent with my family whilst there is just outside the town itself called The Final Furlong. It's a traditional Irish pub, with open fires, plenty of alcohol and a lovely mix of locals.
As you can tell I love Fermoy, and I have to say it's a brilliant place to visit.
More information about Fermoy and it surrounding areas can be found here:
My partner Gabrielle was raised in Fermoy and many of her family still live there. We live in England but visit from time to time.It is a very friendly town. There are many excellent B&Bs at about £20 (punts) per person per night. The high street has several shops for neccessities. The main supermarket has a small but excellent range of wines - new world and a fine range of Spanish. There is an excellent chinese restaurant upstairs in the main street leading to Cork. Several pubs of character. A good restaurant just outside towards Lismore at Ballyduff. Fermoy offers better value for money than places on the coast and yet you are only about 30 minutes from the coast at places like Youghal and Ballycotton and from Cork City. Kinsale is only a bit further. Fermoy itself is attractive with the famous River Blackwater and surrounding countryside. A great place for fishing! Stop if you are en route to elsewhere. Try it as a base for exploring County Cork.