Bandon, Cork seeks reconnection with younger sister Bandon, Oregon

Cork town would like to increase links with area of outstanding natural beauty on Pacific coast of the US
Bandon, Cork seeks reconnection with younger sister Bandon, Oregon

Port Orford Heads State Park near Bandon, Oregon. Pic: Gary Hayes for TravelOregon

With breathtaking scenery, lush golf courses, world-class cranberries, and the label of one of the coolest small towns in America, it's little wonder Bandon in Cork wishes to reconnect with its younger sister on the US west coast.

Bandon in the northwestern state of Oregon was named after its Cork counterpart by George Bennett, the formidable Cork historian who went to the US west coast in the summer of 1873 on the recommendation of a childhood friend.

Cranberry capital

A native of Cork's Bandon, George Bennett died in his new town in 1900, having established the new settlement which would become the cranberry capital of the west coast, providing the fruit for the likes of Ocean Spray.

Cllr Gillian Coughlan of the Bandon-Kinsale district of Cork County Council told the Cork Today Show on C103 radio that although the two towns were unofficially linked, there was no formal process established.

"In order for Bandon to thrive and look outwards, and to have that sort of connection which I have admired between Kinsale and Newport, I think it would be good for Bandon to formalise this.

"For example, schools, business organisations, sports organisations on the other side of the Atlantic to have relationships with each other, to have connections with each other, and perhaps when Covid is over, when things return to some sort of normality, that we will have opportunities for delegations from both Bandons to visit each other," she said.

There are huge opportunities for Bandon in Cork, while the state of Oregon is known for its world-class athletics, and is the home of Nike, she added.

There has been an enthusiastic response from a range of organisations in Cork's Bandon to the idea, Ms Coughlan said.

Culturally and from a tourism perspective, it could be "wonderful experience" for people on both sides of the Atlantic, she added.

Kinsale and Newport in Rhode Island on the US east coast have a strong connection, with delegations visiting regularly, while the likes of Mallow have equally strong bonds with Tinley Park, just outside Chicago, Illinois.

Bandon in Oregon, also known as Bandon-by-the-Sea, has a population of around 3,000 and is blessed with white sands, marine life, state parks, and sporting facilities.

Gorse fire

In a terrible irony, it was almost destroyed in 1936 by gorse fire (gorse had been introduced to the area by its founder).

Having rebuilt and thrived in the decades since through a mixture of industry and tourism, Bandon prides itself as the town where attractions stay open all year round, due to its mild climate.

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