The Macroom area is famous for milling - and these days it’s famous for one simple yet outstanding product: traditional stone-ground oatmeal made by Donal Creedon at Macroom Oatmeal Mills (Walton Mills) on the River Sullane.
Although unfortunately not open to visitors, the product appears on some distinguished breakfast menus, notably Ballymaloe House at Shanagarry - whose steadfast support for this special product has probably done more than anything else to help achieve its present status.
The mills’ proprietor, Donal Creedon, is descended on his mother’s side from the original owners, the Walton family. The present mills have been used for milling oats since1832 and the methods used are unchanged: the oats are toasted on cast iron plates over moderate heat for two days before being dehulled and then stone-ground. This process prevents heat damage to the grain which conventional roller grinding causes.
Macroom Oatmeal is most often used for porridge, but its fine texture also makes it particularly suitable for baking; it is ideal for making traditional oatmeal biscuits for cheese, and as an ingredient in soda breads and scones.
Macroom Oatmeal is on sale in selective outlets, including the Ballymaloe Cookery School shop (and their online shop), along with wholemeal flour from the mills.