April 26 – May 30, 2024

Welcome to the May edition of West Cork People, We got a small taste of summer last weekend with the rise in temperature so hopefully there is more of this on the way. Bealtaine, the ancient festival traditionally held on May 1, the midway point between Spring equinox and Summer Solstice, traditionally heralds the start of Summer. In more recent times, Bealtaine Festival is also Ireland’s National Celebration Of Arts And Creativity as we age. In a celebration of Bealtaine, this month Eugene Daly shares some of the folklore connected with this time; how our ancestors believed the spirits of the Otherworld intermingled with mortals on May Eve and May Day, and in the inevitable appearance of the fairies at maytime. In health and lifestyle we focus on positive aging: Hannah Dare shares her bone density story after going through early menopause, Lorraine Dufficey looks at the miracle of fascia, the thin casing of connective tissue that holds muscles and organs in place and Louise O’Dwyer says we’re never too old to wear what we want. First started in West Cork by a number of cafes and restaurants, the VAT9 campaign has gained momentum up and down the country, as small businesses in the hospitality sector unite to voice their frustration at the challenges they face on a daily basis to keep their doors open. Inside this issue Aisling O’Leary of Revel, a small vibrant cafe in the middle of Clonakilty shares some heartfelt words on why it’s so important for the government to sit up and take notice and lower the VAT rate for the hospitality sector to nine per cent. Last month I took a trip back in time when I travelled to Inchigeelagh to meet local hotelier and character Joe Creedon, who not only introduced me to the real Inchigeelagh, the land of poets and patriots, but also to the heartbeat of the village, the charming old-style hotel with a reputation for promoting the arts that has been in the Creedon family for generations. If you’re lamenting the lost art of conversation, then Creedon’s is the place where you’ll find it again! With local and European elections fast approaching, inside this issue we introduce you to a number of the candidates determined to create change in an Ireland where the current housing and homeless crisis has been highlighted as “a stain” on the country’s reputation in a report published by Amnesty International this week. As the race heats up, one can only hope that candidates will continue highlighting what they hope to – and believe they can – achieve rather than resorting to the desperation of political mudslinging, which certainly doesn’t serve in the interest of the public. As usual the paper is jam-packed with gigs, events and exhibitions to keep you occupied over the coming month. If you’re looking for something different, check out Lauren Guillery’s interview with Bob Log III in Arts and Entertainment. His gig promises a bizarre adventure of bouncing and banter… sure where else would you find it but in West Cork! I hope you enjoy the read, Until next month, Mary Letter from the Editor

Mary O’Brien Editor

Sheila Mullins Creative Director

Back in the late eighties, a member of the dynastic Kennedy family, Christopher, and his wife Sheila, were the fortunate recipients of the Creedon welcome, when they spent part of their honeymoon at the hotel. Christopher’s picture now hangs in Creedon’s. Creedons .... cont’d from previous page

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a lament for each of them so Eibhlín would have grown up around poetry.” In Daniel Corkery’s book ‘The Hidden Ireland’, which celebrates the Irish language poets of Munster, ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’ and other 18th century poetry is studied. A UCC lecturer, Daniel Cork- ery, 1868-1964, was a teacher, writer, poet, musician and propagandist of the Republican cause, who visited Inchigeelagh regularly in the 1920s, staying with Joe’s grandparents. The Daniel Corkery Summer School is now held every year in the village to celebrate his life. Comprising of music, work- shops and lectures, the School, which is funded by donations and grants, offers activities that are mostly free of charge and open to all. “The idea was to hold a free cultural gathering in the village each year with the subjects covered those which interested Corkery himself: painting, poetry, music, history and politics,” explains Joe. Carrying on in the tradi- tion of local wordsmiths like Eibhlín Dubh, over the years the School has fostered a love of literature and art in many of Inchigeelagh’s residents, in- cluding Joe who, in taking part in the classes at the School, has discovered a natural talent for painting. On a break from his post at the bar, he’s often to be found at the side of a mountain with his easel, arriving home with a painted landscape or two, crammed into a car filled with treasures collected along his route. “I’m known to be a bit of a magpie when it comes to antiques and books…oh and chairs” he says with a laugh. Every stone has a story to tell in Inchigeelagh, in particular

the stones of the old Protestant graveyard, where Joe gives guided tours. “It’s my favourite place in the village as it tells the whole story,” he shares. Michael Moore, the last RIC Sergeant of Inchigeelagh Barracks will be the subject of one of the talks at this year’s Summer School. Three of his children are buried in the graveyard. “He resigned after the War of Independence and moved to Macroom with his family after the IRA threatened to shoot them,” says Joe. One of their sons went on to work with Oppenheimer on The Manhattan Project.” He points to the street outside the hotel. “In 1920, an RIC man, Sgt. Daniel Maunsell, was shot dead right at that spot by the IRA,” he shares. Years later, past weaved with present, after Joe met his grandson at the Summer School: A reconcil- iation was arranged between Sgt Maunsell’s family and the families of the IRA men who had shot him. On the topic of lives past, local hero Michael O’Leary comes up in conversation. A member of the Irish Guards, O’Leary singlehandedly killed eight German soldiers, taking another two as prisoners during WWI. His act of bravery earned him the Victoria Cross, the highest military honour achiev- able in the British Army and today – like so many other local names remembered – you’ll find a plaque in the village to honour his memory. While Creedon’s Hotel still hosts the occasional wedding; good food, entertainment, and the warmth of its welcome is what it is best known for today. The hotel enjoys a bustling evening pizza trade from Mon-

day to Friday and is a popular destination for Sunday lunch and dinner. Over the years, so many people from all walks of life have passed over the thresh- old of this friendly country hotel. Back in the late eighties, a member of the Kennedy family, Christopher, and his wife Sheila, were the fortu- nate recipients of the Creedon welcome, when they spent part of their honeymoon at the hotel. “You come here for conversa- tion, unexpected conversation,” shares Joe, who loves nothing more than meeting people and exchanging stories. “I don’t drink, people are my wine,” he adds laughing. A home away from home, in today’s rapidly changing world, Creedon’s offers a welcome dose of nostalgia. “We are always reinventing ourselves however,” emphasises the hotelier with a smile. Still, an old favourite like Joe’s warm apple pie will always stand the test of time.

Contributors Kate Arbon Karen Austin Hannah Dare Tina Pisco Louise O’Dwyer

John Hosford Sean Creedon Shane Daly Kieran Doyle

Sherna Malone Tommy Moyles Dr Rosari Kingston Eugene Daly James Waller Liz O’Mahony Mark Grace Lauren Guillery Melissa Murphy Leo Muckley Dr Michael Crowley Dr Jeremy Dorman Dr Paula Stanley Lauren Guillery Susan O’Regan Lorraine Dufficey Niamh Coughlan

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