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Bandon was founded in 1604 for English plantation settlers mostly from Somerset. The present West Cork Heritage Centre is located in Christ Church, one of the oldest protestant churches in the country. Parts of the old town wall erected in the 1600s are still visible. One of the best preserved parts of this wall is at the back of St Peter's Church of Ireland. The Shambles at the bottom of Kilbrogan Hill was an old meat market built in 1754.
The ruins of the Overton Cotton mill are still clearly visible at Old Chapel and the old Allman Distillery ruins can be viewed at the opposite end of the town.