The River Allow

The river Allow rises about eight miles north west of Freemount at
Mullaghareirk, flowing into the parish at Raheen bridge. It eventually
meets the Blackwater river about 11 miles from Mallow. There are
varying translations of the name, from ‘echoing river’ to ‘Abhain eala’
(the river of the swans)
The river was undoubtedly an integral part of every day life in the
area through the centuries, being a valuable source of food and water
for the population of the locality as well as a recourse for farming &
industry.

The Allow is an extremely crooked river. In several places it flows in a
northerly direction as it continues on its southwards journey, lending
the phrase ‘As crooked as the Allow’

The first stone bridge was erected on the river in 1824 from cut
limestone, uniting both sides of the parish. This was destroyed during
the war of independence by republican volunteers to prevent the
movement of Black & Tans through the village. Some of the stones
from the ruined bridge were taken further along the river near
Coolbane mill to make a crossing known as Barrys Stepping
Stones’. This was used as a short cut from Freemount to Coolbane
and was used by those working in the nearby mill. They can still be
seen today.

Shaughnessy’s mill at Coolbane was one of the most important
industrial sites in the area, its giant water mill wheel was powered for
several generation by the Allow. The mill ceased to function with the
arrival of rural electrification when the mill converted to electricity.
Freemount Dairy Society’s creamery, now demolished, was one of
three creameries built beside the Allow. The others were Cleeve’s
creamery at John’s Bridge and the Ballybahallow branch of
Freemount dairy society south of this.

A couple of hundred yards west of Freemount is the popular
swimming hole ‘Pol a Wada’. In the days when there were no
swimming pools many a carefree evening or Sunday was spent
swimming in the river. Other swimming spots were ‘Babies Bend’ the
‘Saddle Hole’ and the ‘Key Hole’

Tradition tells us that a wooden footbridge spanned the river close to
Poll a Wadda, continuing a road which came through Browne’s from
the Clonsilla junction. Today Poll a Wada is of far greater significance
as the Allow water scheme pumps from here to the filtering station
just south west of the village.

In the 17th century charcoal was manufactured by the banks of the
river near Sean 0 Connor’s land. The charcoal was produced from
wood by the Marshall family in fields known as ‘lsreann’ & ‘Isreann
Beag’.

Part of the Allow at Ballybohallow is known as ‘Ath O’Sullivan’ where
Donal Cam O’Sullivan fought a battle against the Barry’s of Liscarroll
in 1602. Four of O’Sullivan’s men were lost in the battle and a nearby
deep hole on the river ‘Poul Dearg’ (The Red hole) was said to be so
called due to spilling of the blood of these men in the river. ‘Poul
dearg’ could also be associated with a former brickyard on the banks
of the river, the mud used was red in colour and could have leant
itself to the name.

The Stepping Stones
John's Bridge