Mallow is located on the River Blackwater, some 20 miles north of Cork City. The town developed from a crossing-point on the river, and is known as the "Crossroads of Munster" because of its geographical location in the heart of the province and its importance as a road and rail junction.
The Town Coat of Arms
The illustrations on the town's crest reflect Mallow's historical and literary tradition.
Mallow Castle The original castle dates from 1185. When this fell into ruins in the 16th century a new castle was constructed nearby. This building remains a private residence to the present day; the older ruin is now a national monument. In the castle grounds can be seen the only herd of white deer to be found in Ireland.
Famous Writers A number of writers and poets have lived in the Mallow area. Among these were Thomas Davis (1814-1845) and Canon Sheehan (1852-1913) who was parish priest of the neighbouring town of Doneraile. Also near Doneraile can be seen "Spenser's Castle" where the poet Edmund Spenser wrote part of his work "The Faerie Queen", and Bowen's Court where Elizabeth Bowen was born.
The Dogs' Heads This fountain dates from the period when the town was noted for its spa. During the 18th century, crowds came to bathe in the waters which were believed to have curative properties. The town anthem The Rakes of Mallow dates from this period.
The Swan This refers to the Irish name Magh Ealla (the Plain of the Swan).
Motto The motto "Per Ignem et Aquam" refers to the sacking of the town carried out by British forces in September 1920 during the War of Independence, and to the fact that the lower parts of the town are subject to flooding from the River Blackwater.