Ballincollig is a growing town with a population of about 20,000 in 2006. The town is approximately eight kilometres to the west of Cork City, just off the Ballincollig By-Pass. Ballincollig Castle, set on a rocky limestone outcrop to the south west of the town, dates from at least the fifteenth century. Its curtain wall runs around the edge of the rock on which it stands, and inside is a slender central keep or tower. The castle, albeit a ruin, makes for a scenic view from the Ballincollig By-Pass. However, the castle is on private land.
The Barretts purchased Ballincollig Castle from a Robert Coll, a knight, in the fifteenth century. It is thought that Ballincollig got its name from the Irish "Baile an Chollaigh" (Coll’s town). The castle became the principal Barrett stronghold until the early seventeenth century and during that time, saw much fighting and was extensively damaged. The castle was garrisoned both by Cromwell and James II. It later belonged to William Wise. In fact, the Wise family repaired the tower in 1857 and a stone crest was inserted in the east wall of the tower with the letter "W" and the year "1857" on it.
Regional Park. This large area of scenic leisurely walks was opened by Cork County Council to the public. The land was originally part of the Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills. The Regional Park is accessed from the west end of the town at the picturesque eighteenth century, Inniscarra Bridge and there is adequate parking. This green area by the River Lee, is a wonderful asset to the people of Ballincollig and the many others who come to the area for a stroll by the river, near the old canals of the Gunpowder Mills. The eastern end of the park is the area once occupied by the Gunpowder Mills and this end is where the many ruins of the old Gunpowder Factory are still visible. The eastern end of the park is accessed at the GAA Club (follow the sign for the GAA Club from the Main Street) but it is possible to go from one end of the park to the other on foot.
Ballincollig new Shopping Centre in the heart of the village of Ballincollig is embraced by the historic walls of the old Military Barracks. Visitors to the shopping centre might wonder at these massive limestone fortifications and associated buildings and hopefully they will reflect on the past when they do so. An old limestone Coach House, beautifully preserved, built in the late nineteenth century, is in the foreground of the new Shopping Centre area. There are other buildings such as the Officer’s Mess in the locality and also a Military Graveyard. These were once part of the Military barracks set up in the early nineteenth century to protect the gunpowder. Later, the Irish Army took over the Barracks and named it the Murphy Barracks.
In general, the main street of Ballincollig, was the old village and it still retains some of the charm of bygone days. In recent years Ballincollig has seen a number of new shopping centres and cinema being built so there is lots to do doing the day if you are looking for retail outlets. You can also take in a great walk in Ballincollig's Regional Park