+353 (0) 63 91300 reception@ballyhoura.org

The town stands on the northern slope of Knockahur hill, which rises by a gentle slope from the river and gradually ascends to a rocky prominence. However, it was not this rocky prominence but one near the graveyard of Oldcourt which together with an ancient fort built thereon, gave the town its name, Doneraile, i.e. “Don ar Aill”, meaning “the fort on the cliff”.


The countryside around Doneraile is very scenic and has a wealth of historical associations.

The horse race known as the  steeplechase  originated in 1752 as a result of a race between the church steeples of the town and neighbouring  Buttevant  town.

There are only a few reported cases of women becoming Freemasons but one exception occurred in 18th century Doneraile.  Elizabeth Aldworth, was reported to have surreptitiously viewed the proceedings of a Lodge meeting held at Doneraile House; the private house of her father,  Arthur St Leger, 1st Viscount Doneraile. Upon discovering the breach of their secrecy, the Lodge resolved to admit and obligate her, and thereafter she proudly appeared in public in Masonic clothing.

In 1829 the shooting of a local doctor, John Norcott, led to rumours of a widespread conspiracy to murder local landlords, and on the word of an informer twenty- one local men were arrested and charged with the alleged crime. Most were fortunate enough to be defended by  Daniel O’Connell, who secured the acquittal of the majority of them.

Doneraile also has the distinction of being the town in Ireland where the first successful agricultural co-operative and creamery was established in 1889 by  Horace Plunkett.

During the early part of May 1853, a countryman ploughing in the neighbourhood turned up a large quantity of silver coins, amounting to more than forty-six ounces in weight, which were purchased by a silversmith in Cork. They consisted of English shillings and sixpences of Elizabeth, with a few groats, threepences and half-groats of the same queen; also a few groats of her predecessors, Mary, and Philip and Mary both having the bust of Mary; English shillings and sixpences of James 1, upon the union with Scotland and exclusively of the rose, thistle, and fleur-de-lis mint marks; with a large number of the quarter-dollars and smaller money of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Nearly all the coins were in the finest state of preservation, and appeared to have been but little used or in circulation.

Doneraile also achieved note in 1954 when a British journalist, Honor Tracy, condemned the local priest Canon Maurice O’Connell for spending the then exorbitant amount of £9000 on his parochial house while there was so much poverty in the village. Following  The Sunday Times‘ apology to O’Connell, Tracy sued it and was awarded £3000 in compensation. In response some 3000 of Doneraile’s parishioners marched in the village in support of Canon O’Connell.

John B. Keane, the well-known writer spent some years here in the 1950s working as an assistant for the antiques dealer and chemist Arthur H. Jones and occasionally attending at the petrol pumps outside.

Doneraile graveyard has yet to be digitally surveyed on Historicgraves.com

Byblox House B&B  : 022 24651 https://bybloxhouse.wordpress.com/

Springfort Hall: 022 21278  www.springfort-hall.com

Creagh House : 022 24433  www.creaghhouse.ie

Park South B&B : 022 25296  www.park-south.com

Doneraile Wildlife Park


The Park comprises approximately 166 hectares and is an outstanding example of an 18th century landscaped park in the ‘Capability Brown’ style. Mature groves of deciduous trees, several restored water features and a number of deer herds can be viewed along the many pathways within the Park. The pathways are generally accessible for people with special needs. Doneraile Court, the former residence of the St. Leger family, is situated within the Park. It is  opened to the public    following completion of   restoration   works there is a Tea Room onsite and New Large Childrens Playground.

Doneraile Wildlife Park Farmers Market

A farmers’ market is taking place fortnightly Sundays only.


May 5th and 19th.

June 2nd,16th and 30th.

July 14th and 28th.

August 11th and 25th

Sept. 8th and 22nd .


Car park, Picnic areas, toilets.

Restaurant/Tearooms: Tearooms Open – Winter 10am – 4pm; Summer 9.30am – 7pm.

Location: 11kms north-east from Mallow. 1. Turn 6kms off the Mallow-Limerick road into R581. 2. Turn 15kms off the Mallow-Mitchelstown road into R522
Bus Route(s): Contact Bus Eireann, Travel Centre +353 1 8366111

Admission Fees


Opening Hours


Monday – Friday 08:00-20:00 Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holidays 09:00-20:00


Monday – Friday 08:00-17:00 Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holidays 09:00-17:00

Average Length of Visit: 1 – 2 hours

Contact Details

Address: Doneraile, Co. Cork Telephone No: +353 87 251 5965


Doneraile Golf Club is a 9 hole parkland course located in Doneraile, Co.Cork.

Set in the Blackwater valley and in the backdrop of the Ballyhoura mountains, Doneraile Golf Club boasts beautiful scenery and is regarded as one of the most stunning parkland courses in Ireland.

With our mature deciduous trees and Bregogue river running through the course, this natural beauty adds to the  experience.
New members and visitors are always welcome. We can guarantee that our challenging course and relaxing bar will make the whole experience extremely enjoyable.

Walking Tours