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Millstreet History

Millstreet(Straid a 'Mhuikinn in Gaelic) lies in the valley of the upper Blackwater in the North West of County Cork.

The present thriving community of c. 1500 people is a far cry from "the village consisting of a small inn, a mill and half a dozen cabins" as Millstreet was described in the 1750's. There was little thought then of hosting International Horse Shows or a Eurovision Song Contest.

Millstreet draws its unity from two traditions, from two great estates, the Wallis Estate (Church of Ireland) and the McCarthy-O' Leary Estate (Roman Catholic). In fact the McCarthey clan had been in possession of the whole area since c.1261 A.D. Their fortunes rose and fell with the various occupations of the English throne. Being on the "wrong" side in the 1641 Rebellion was their final mistake and by 1725 they had lost control of the Drishane part of their lands. Henry Wallis became the new owner.

The Wallis family were instrumental in the building of the Protestant Church in 1790 (only the tower now remains) and also a military barracks on the Main Street in 1798. At the West End of the town lay the McCarthy-O'Leary Estate. In 1811 this family donated land to the Roman Catholics for the building of a church, a convent girls' school, a boys' school and a cemetery. By 1840 these had been completed by the very energetic Fr. Fitzpatrick.

Recent history has not changed the character of the town but there have been subtle changes. The Carnegie Hall, built in 1912, is very much in character. In truth, residents of Millstreet in 1900 would feel "at home" in the Millstreet of today.

Millstreet went 'European' in October 1985 when it twinned with Pommerit-la-Vicomte, Brittany, France.

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