Kanturk is the capital of the ancient barony of Duhallow, which covers approximately 1500 sqkm of North Cork, a larger area than county Dublin. The name Duhallow derives from the river Allow, which is a tributary of the famous river Blackwater, and is purported to mean “River of Swans”. Kanturk is a market town and is situated the junction of two of the Blackwater’s tributaries, the Allow and the Dallow.
Duhallow is a predominantly rural community. There are many acres of forestry, beautiful rolling hills and wonderful fresh air that blows from the Atlantic and the mountains of Kerry to the west. The terroir of Duhallow is more fertile, tree-covered and green than the rocky mountains of neighbouring Kerry or West Cork.
Kanturk, or Céann Tuirc, translates as the head of the boar. Wild boar roamed Duhallow until the 17th Century, living largely from the fruits of the extensive forestry; acorns, crab-apples, hazel and roots. The last Irish wild boar was reputed to have been killed in Kanturk and a plaque marks the spot at junction of Strand Street and Catherine’s Lane. The wild boar is commemorated in a lively festival every summer.