Bandon, known as the Gateway to West Cork, is situated on the River Bandon. Its name in Irish, Droichead na Bandan, means 'Bridge of the Bandon'.
Initially built as a walled town to protect the Protestant settlers from the native Irish, it now has an integrated multicultural population of 7,000. During the nineteenth century, it was a prominent industrial centre with breweries, cotton mills and a large whiskey distillery amongst other industries.
Today it is a thriving market town with three weekly food markets and a growing sense of cultural identity. The essayist William Hazlitt spent some of his childhood in the town. In recent times there have been several arts festivals with readings by well-known poets such as Derek Mahon, Leanne O'Sullivan, Tom Paulin and others.