Located in the Blackwater Valley on the main N20 highway, Mallow (Mala) is the county's largest town after Cork City. Visitors to its spa in the 19th century christened it the 'Bath of Ireland'. The comparison is far-fetched these days, though the architecture in the town centre hints at its former grandeur.
Up a flight of stairs in the town hall on the main street (opposite the statue of local politician JJ Fitzgerald), the tourist office can help with accommodation and activities.
You can spot white fallow deer around the imposing ruins of Mallow Castle, which dates back to 1585. Also look out for the distinctive Clock House, designed by an amateur architect after an Alpine holiday – you'd never guess.