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April 26 – May 30, 2024, Vol 22, Edition 261


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West Cork ancient arrowhead adventure televised on RTÉ T en-year-old Darragh Ken- ny’s discovery of an ancient arrowhead on a West Cork the tide receded. After carefully removing the interesting item, he washed the sand off in sea water. ”At first I thought it Fr. Robert Young, Parish Priest of Kinsale, blessing the fleet at the annual Kinsale Sea Sunday commemoration. Picture. John Allen

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ed to be around 5,000 years old! Darragh handed the arrowhead into the care of the National Museum and Assistant Keeper Matthew Seaver. Two years later, the archaeology-obsessed boy, was thrilled to be invited by Seaver to experience catalogued and stored. Tune in to see Darragh go be- hind the scenes in the National Mu- seum and perhaps, if he is lucky, hold his ancient arrowhead again. The episode airs on RTÉ One on Sunday, April 28, at 6.30pm. a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Museum, to see how his arrowhead is

beach two years ago and his ensu- ing adventure will air in ‘Ireland’s Hidden Treasures’ on RTE this Sunday. The show, which demystifies the world of museums, making Ire- land’s rich history not just accessi- ble but irresistibly engaging for all, shows Darragh and his mum Grace behind the scenes at the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology in Dublin. Two years ago Darragh was exploring on Dunworley beach in West Cork when his sharp eyes noticed something small and unusual sticking out of the sand, as

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April 26 – May 30, 2024

Take a step back in time at Creedon’s of Inchigeelagh If a warm Irish welcome could be bottled then Joe Creedon would surely be on the label. Ne’er a weary traveller has ever been turned away from the door of Creedon’s of Inchigeelagh with this big-hearted, down-to-earth, no-nonsense hotelier at the helm. A master of the art of conversation, as quick to blast out a ballad as spin a good story, Joe is part of the charm of this quaint old-style hotel where, over the years he has handled many a reunion and match or quietened quarrels with a few bars of a song. His great love of local history, art and antiques is evident everywhere writes Mary O’Brien , with bookshelves spilling over on to the eclectic collection of mismatched chairs – he admits to a slight addiction – and every nook and cranny filled with curios collected from his travels. The walls pay homage to his love of art mixed in with family portraits, Cork GAA wins and local heroes of the Irish War of Independence. The hotel has been in the Creedon family for five generations – Joe and his wife Ann have three sons and recently welcomed their first grandchild. A real step back in time, Creedon’s embraces the slower pace of life…you don’t check in, you simply arrive. A sk Joe about Inchi- geelagh, the land of poets and patriots,

story, it just needs someone to tell it,” he shares passionately. Framed by hills and lakes, with the River Lee sweeping through it, just a stone’s throw from Gougane Barra, at one time this wild and mountainous landscape was a popular tourist

destination. For about ten years, in the fifties and sixties, Inchigeelagh was a bustling holiday village boosted by investment from Bord Failte, with members of the Catholic organisation, The Legion of Mary, running the show. In

also known by the tribal name Iveleary, and he’ll take you all over the world, tracing ancestry and history of people and place. “I think every crossroads has a

If you’ve met Joe Creedon (above), you’ve more than likely been treated to his rendition of ‘Inchigeelagh Lass’ or ‘Caith Keimaneigh’. Music was an important part of the Creedon household when he was growing up. Joe Creedon’s true passion in life however is history.

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Joe’s memory “It was like a re- naissance for the village, a huge success, with large groups of visitors arriving regularly from the UK.” While fishing has since declined, in those days Lough Allua was a popular spot with anglers from abroad. The centre of the village was trans- formed into a holiday resort with amenities like tennis and basketball courts and entertain- ment every evening. “Open air dancing, concerts, we even had Cork Ballet Company perform,” says Joe, who recalls how his father would often take visitors off for day trips to the beach or up the mountain in the back of his lorry. Born and bred in the hotel trade, after completing his train- ing, which included a chef’s course, Joe returned in 1972 to join his parents at the hotel in Inchigeelagh. He’s been running the show ever since, for many years continuing on the great tradition of weddings at Creedon’s, a trade his mother started off in what would have originally been the stables at the back of the hotel: In the heyday of its wedding trade, Creedon’s was known to host three in a day with great aplomb. “We handled everything,” recalls Joe “from the pipers at Gougane Barra down to the wedding cake. Today the village is sleepier, with just one shop and Cree- don’s at its heartbeat. But it’s a throbbing heartbeat, particu- larly come evening time, with Creedon’s renowned for the part it plays in promoting music and the arts in a rural setting. If you’ve met Joe, you’ve more than likely been treated to his rendition of ‘Inchigeelagh Lass’ or ‘Caith Keimaneigh’. Music was an important part of the Creedon household when he was growing up. “All 14 of us sang and entertained,” he shares. Today Creedon’s Hotel is home to an annual festival celebrating the arts, The Daniel Corkery Summer School, which runs for almost a week in

the summer. The Inchigeelagh Folk Club is also based here, holding its monthly session on the second Wednesday of each month from 9pm, and attracting a variety of local ballad singers, songwriters, trad players, in- strumentalists, storytellers and poets from all over West Cork. Joe’s son Eamonn regularly hosts live music concerts, with Irish folk singer-songwriter Ger Wolfe next on stage at Creedon’s on May 17. Inchigeelagh is known as the homeplace of the O’Leary’s, their ancient clan driven North from Rosscarbery around 1300 AD by the Anglo- Normans to a district that became known as Uíbh Laoghaire. Joe’s true passion in life however is history. He delves in to Inchigeelagh’s past start- ing with the O’Leary’s, who travel from the four corners each year to celebrate their heritage at the clan gather- ing held at Creedon’s hotel. Inchigeelagh is known as the homeplace of the O’Leary’s, their ancient clan driven North from Rosscarbery around 1300 AD by the Anglo-Normans to a district that became known as Uíbh Laoghaire. One of the settlements in this district is Inchigeelagh, its name said to have come from the Irish ‘Inse Geimhleach’, which translates to ’The Island of the Hostag- es’, where legend has it the O’Leary’s held some Danes captive. The descendants of these Danes today are the Cot- ters, Joe’s ancestors. His grand- mother Nora Cotter was the postmistress of Inchigeelagh in the early 1900s. In Nora Cotter’s day, Inchigeelagh would have been a busy trading village with up-

wards of 14 shops and all roads leading to the village’s busy butter markets. Joe can trace his ancestors, transporters for these same markets, as far back as 1835. Transport is still part of the Creedon family business today. “We had a weekly market here up until the 1960s,” shares Joe. “It would have sold mainly rabbits during the war years, later on fowl.” The Inchigeelagh Dairy in Cork City, an outlet for cream, eggs, butter and other fresh produce from the farms of Muskerry was run by Joe’s grandfather, Con Creedon, a native of Ballingeary who made his money mining copper and silver in Butte Montana in the late 1800s. He bought the hotel in Inchigeelagh on his retire- ment from the dairy business in 1941 and it’s been in the Creedon family ever since. Jump back to the 1800s and the village boasted three annual fairs at one time selling horses, cattle, sheep, and pigs. In those days Inchigeelagh and Cree- don’s, then a coaching inn, was a stop on the busy coaching route to Kenmare and Killar- ney. Another hotel, now closed, was built in 1810 across the street from it to serve the horse- drawn coaches of tourists. You can’t talk about In- chigeelagh of course without remembering the fugitive Art O’Leary, whose relatives lie buried in the old graveyard to the east of the village. Art was immortalised by his wife Eibhlín Dubh in the master- piece of a poem ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’, described as the greatest poem composed in either Ireland or Britain during the eighteenth century. “In those days we weren’t allowed access to books or education and it shows how the Irish spirit could not be crushed by penal laws,” shares Joe “Eibhlín Dubh’s mother lost ten children and composed

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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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April 26 – May 30, 2024

We know your name Revel in Clonakilty is one of a number of cafes and restaurants in West Cork who have come together to start a national campaign to get the government to sit up and take notice of the challenges facing small business owners around the country and lower the VAT rate for the hospitality sector to nine per cent. Aisling O’Leary of Revel shares how the campaign got off the ground and why it’s so critical that the government listen, not just for businesses who are struggling to stay open, but for the communities they serve.

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W e know your name. We know your coffee order. We know you’re wearing a new pair of glasses. We know you’re expecting your first child or that you’re struggling with your teenager. We know you’re excited about your upcoming vacation, you’re working your arse off building your own home, you’re dealing with health issues. We know you’re struggling with your new job. That you’re allergic to dairy, you’re visiting your daughter overseas. We know you’re fed up. We know you’re sneaking in for a quiet coffee before school pickups. We know you’re after burying a loved one. We know. And we care. Now imagine your ‘local’

being replaced with a chain such as Starbucks when all they see is stars in their eyes as they make big bucks. Forbes and I opened our doors March 2020, excited to become a part of the Clon- akilty community. There is an indescribable warmth in West Cork which we have felt from the get-go. The support has been constant and steadfast. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for the Government. While efforts of support were made during Covid, the current situation is daunting, to say the least. The VAT rate for the hospitality industry has been returned to 13.5 per cent which has become crippling to small businesses such as our own. One might understand the VAT “As small business owners we’re used to working all day every day, it’s what we signed up for, and we absolutely love it. But when there’s no money left in the pot at the end of the week, it can be very disheartening. Reinstating the nine per cent VAT rate will give us some breathing room, and allow us to continue to re-investing into our busi- ness and community.” Liam O’Leary, Wazzy Woo, Clonakilty.

rate being increased to 13.5 per cent, however the Gov- ernment has failed to consider the fact that all costs have been increased in recent times: Wages, PRSI, electricity, rates, insurance and a considerable nationwide inflation. While having a heart- to-heart with another local business owner, we collectively agreed that the increase in VAT was breaking us. We came to the conclusion that action needed to be taken. Voices needed to be heard. Govern- ment needed to be reached. A small WhatsApp group chat was created and with that; the movement began. Liam from Wazzy Woo, Ryan and Anne Marie from Pike Deli, Peter and Elaine from The Fish- basket, Gavin from Monk’s Lane, Jamie from Budd’s, Vic and Deborah from Camus Farm Field Kitchen and Revel joined arms. Standing alone would mean we all fall. Pulling together means there is hope, albeit sometimes it feels like only a sliver. While countless politicians have publicly stated their support, it would seem that our future lies within the hands of Michael McGrath, Minister of Finance. Suppos- edly, returning the VAT to nine per cent is a “big job”, but tell me, what would the Irish economy look like without all the small businesses? While we



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April 26 – May 30, 2024

Castletownbere fishing community features in TG4 documentary investigating the impact of Brexit

T he serious impact of the EU post-Brexit trade deal on the livelihood of fishing communities along the west coast of Ireland is the subject of an investigative documentary ‘Iniúchadh TG4 - Anfa Mara’ that was broadcast on TG4 this week. If you missed it on Wednesday, you can watch it on TG4 Player. In the documentary investi- gative journalist Kevin Magee hears first-hand from fishermen in Greencastle and Machaire Rabhartaigh, Co. Donegal, Rossaveel and Inis Mór, Co.Galway, Dingle, Co. Kerry and Casteltownbere, Co. Cork on how their incomes are being squeezed post Brexit. The fishermen are angry that an estimated 15 per cent of the value of the Irish fishing quota has been taken from them and assigned to the UK as part of the Brexit trade agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union, known as the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agree- ment (TCA) that came into force in January 2021. The loss of quota to the Irish fleet represents a serious blow to the fishing industry, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. tells the programme.

“Brexit has been a big hit. It has been the most significant hit to quotas since the Common Fisheries Policy was being established back 45 years ago. “Brexit wasn’t my idea. And Brexit was a very bad idea. Brexit damaged the country that did it, and it damaged its most neighbouring country, and the sector within our own country that has been most impacted is fisheries.” “In order for a deal to hap- pen, there was a re-allocation of EU quota including Irish quota as a result, and that has hurt. There is no two ways about that.” While the overall quota reduction for Irish fish is down 15 per cent, some species are affected more than others. The share for Ireland’s largest non-pelagic fishery, prawns, is down 14 per cent, and the re- duction for herring in the Irish sea is 96 per cent, according to figures supplied by the DAFM. “We’ll never fish herring in the Irish Sea again. In the wintertime you could have picked two or three weeks of wages for your crew, to pay for your business, the whole lot. That’s gone, that opportunity,” Greencastle skipper Michael Cavanagh told the programme. Reddy Ó Faoláin has been fishing out of Castletownbere

viable. If a percentage wanted to exit and be paid to exit, it would then free up the amount of quota, the per centage of our national quota that those boats would have had. That then gets reallocated among the remain- ing boats. “ The programme also hears from Aran Islander John Conneely who had two boats decommissioned, the MFV Connacht Ranger and the Conquest. He said: “I suppose you could say that there’s a lot of money in it, but there was a lot of money owed to the banks as well. The banks took a lot of it (decommissioning money). They got most of it. It would have been a lot better if they had helped us to stay in business, but there was no talk of that.” A total of 39 vessels were decommissioned according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara, as part of a scheme funded under the European Commission’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR). The amount spent on the decommissioning scheme was €59.3m, with €28.9m spent on the Brexit Temporary Tie scheme which aimed to temporarily mitigate the neg- ative impact on the white fish sector as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Reddy Ó Faoláin has been fishing out of Castletownbere for the past 30 years.

in county Cork for the past 30 years. He said: “The quota was much bigger last year. It’s this year the cuts in the quotas have been introduced that we gave to England and that has a huge impact on the margins the boats make in a month. We used to have 25 tonnes and now we only have 18 tonnes. That’s two thirds of your take home pay gone every week. No one is able to lose two thirds of their pay and not say anything about it. We are all saying the same thing – give us a little bit I sobel Towse is the Social Democrats candidate for Skibbereen - West Cork, which encompasses all the many beautiful towns and villages from Cape Clear, to Clonakilty, to Dunmanway. A Sherkin native and a mother-of-one, Isobel has lived and worked around Clonakilty for the last 10 years, teaching music in primary schools and more recently working closely with Holly Cairns TD on local issues for the constituency office. She holds a BSc in International Development, and a Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate, both from UCC, which have helped inform her vision for a more vibrant West Cork community. At its most basic level, Isobel’s vision looks something like this: vacant and derelict homes are brought back to life; more public land is allocated to social and affordable hous- ing; everyone has consistent

of the quota, that’s what we want. We’re not looking for handouts, we just want to fish and feed people.” Irish fishermen tell the programme they are frustrated that foreign boats from other EU countries continue fishing in Irish waters while they often remain tied-up on the quayside because they have reached their monthly allocated catch. Spiddal native Tomás Ó Féinneadha is a crew member on the Sarah David which is currently tied-up in Castle- townbere. He said: “We were

landing fish yesterday. We’re going to be docked now for three months. We’ve no quota left. There’s nothing at all left. It’s scandalous. We don’t have much of a quota and we can’t do anything about it.” To help reduce the impact of the quotas lost through Brexit, the Department introduced a decommissioning scheme to remove fishing vessels from the Irish fleet. Minister McConalogue ex- plained the reason behind it. “It was to re-size the fleet in order to make sure that boats were

Local Elections Candidate: Isobel Towse

access to clean drinking water that doesn’t reek of chlorine; small businesses and commu- nity groups at the heart of our communities are thriving and supported; migrants are well integrated; and somebody, somewhere, has finally fixed the damned roads! These issues are largely within the council’s remit, though reliant on adequate departmental funding, which Isobel says she will ‘persistently’ push for. For a rich country with record budget surpluses the last few years, Isobel feels these issues are a case of political will, and a reflection of the same tired parties with the same damaging policies and wrong priorities who have been in power for far too long (over 100 years). Isobel believes new, young- er, female voices are desper- ately needed on Cork County Council. Having been raised amongst a very active island com- munity, and now working in

politics with Deputy Cairns (and previously with Cllr. Ross O’Connell), Isobel is acutely aware of local and national issues alike, and how important it is to tackle issues at a grassroots (people), local (council) and national (government) level simulta- neously. This brings home the need for better communication, particularly since the loss of town councils, as it is local people who know what’s best for their own community and should have the most power in decision making. Through her close working relationship with the Social Democrats party, she says she will continue to advocate on national issues too, like healthcare, childcare, dis- ability rights, and the genocide in Gaza, because she believes we need to elect people who are multifaceted, have a strong conscience and the drive to effect real change where it really matters. Isobel understands the issues

we need to address locally: Shannonvale, Owenahincha and Dunmanway all urgently need works to their wastewater treatment plants to halt pollu- tion and allow development. A plan must be developed for our coastal communities which are soon going to find themselves at the forefront of brand new legislation regarding Marine Protected Areas and offshore renewable energy. She wants to support more sustainable farming, and to see our existing wild spaces including Lough Hyne Nature Reserve properly protected. Our artists, musi- cians and creatives must be supported so they can keep creating to their (and our) hearts content. Perhaps most crucially, we must regain time- ly access to respite places, GPs, ambulances and SouthDoc in West Cork. Overall, the focus will be on increasing the supply of housing, and bringing a new approach of fresh energy and ‘more mná’ to the council.

Brendan McCARTHY Local Election Candidate SKIBBEREEN-WEST CORK  086-8617605

Isobel Towse For a fair & vibrant West Cork Isobel _ Towse _ West _ Cork Local Election Candidate for Skibbereen - West Cork


April 26 – May 30, 2024

We know you name ... cont’d from page 5

might be ‘small’, collectively we create a large impact. If we were all to fall, would the local economy fall with it? There’s a domino effect that would see the market tumble. Aside from the negative im- pact all these closures will have on the economy, can we take a moment to consider the effect it will have on the community? Where is the last place you met your friend for a catch up, to share how your life has been lately. Was it at a coffee shop? What about the people that ordinarily wouldn’t meet some- one from one end of the day to the other? For some, popping

down town is their only social interaction. Loneliness can be crippling and a breaking point for mental health. Other than the economic support small businesses offer, we also provide great support to the local community. Forbes and I have always said we want everyone who walks through our doors to feel welcomed and appreciated. All our customers bring something to the table and we love each and every one of them for it. We all lift each other up. Now let’s see that same level of support from our very own Government.

“The Field Kitchen Restaurant, Clonakilty opened in 2020 offering an authentic field-to-table experience with most of the food served produced on Camus Farm. Whilst we are open for nine months of the year, the business is very seasonal with most of the service taking place in Summer, providing employment for over 20 staff in the Restaurant and on the Farm. Now in our fourth year of trading, the rising costs over the last year, particularly VAT, power and wages, have had significant impact on the profitability of the business. This combination of elements is threatening the survival of many of our independent coffee shops, cafes and restau- rants. To date, we have absorbed these cost increases but, if nothing changes, we will have to increase our prices for this Summer. The Government is complacent to this situation and ap- pears prepared to see many more small businesses close. Camus Farm Field Kitchen supports the campaign to re- duce the VAT rate to nine per cent to help our independent coffee shops, cafes and restaurants to weather this storm.” Vic Sprake and Deborah Ni Chaoimhe of Camus Farm Field Kitchen

‘Spirit of Discovery’ arrives into Bantry

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B antry Bay Port Compa- ny marked the begin- ning of a busy cruise season in April with the arrival of the ‘Spirit of Discovery’. This kickstarted a re- cord-breaking cruise season for Bantry Bay Port Company with 22 cruise ships due to arrive in 2024 – marking a 144 per cent increase from the 2023 season. Over the coming months, these liners will bring more than 15,000 passengers and crew from all over the world to Bantry Bay providing a major boost for tourism in the surrounding area. Operated by SAGA Cruises, the ‘Spirit of Discovery’ is one of the largest liners that can be accommodated in Bantry Bay and was anchored just off Whiddy Island for the duration of its stay. With a passenger and crew capacity of 1,527, just shy of half the population of Bantry, the cruise liner alone brings a huge increase

of footfall to the town and surrounding area during its 24 hour stay. Speaking about the cruise season ahead, Michael Murphy, Assistant Harbour Master at the Port of Bantry stated, “We are delighted to welcome 22 cruise liners to Bantry Bay Port this year. We know that they will have a positive impact on local trade and tourism and hope all passengers and crew enjoy all that this part of the country has to offer. Seeing this figure jump from nine cruises in 2023 is incredible and shows how much of a popular destination the Port has become. We have a very busy season ahead of us and we look forward to welcoming so many passengers and crew from all over the world to the Port.” Conor Mowlds, Chairperson of Cruise Ireland and Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Cork Company, of which Bantry Bay Port is a subsidiary,

and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this has on the local economy, trade and tourism sectors.” The Spirit of Discovery spent one night anchored off Whiddy Island before heading for Cobh and returning again to Portsmouth completing its ‘Spring in Southern Ireland’ round-trip.

stated, “We are set to wel- come 125 cruise ships to Cork this year and are delighted to have 22 of those stopping off in Bantry Bay Port, allow- ing passengers and crew to discover even more of Cork during their stay. The Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port have been working collaboratively to increase cruise calls and opportunities for the county

At your side every step of the way

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April 26 – May 30, 2024

From Washington DC to Mississippi to Louisiana – the creation of an American identity

observing, the great pillars that shaped American culture – slav- ery, militarism and the magnifi - cent Mississippi river, the third biggest in the world. All three are intrinsically linked, and continue to affect race relations and America’s obsession with a militant patriotism, the like Baggini claims, is best observed for oneself. For anyone who loves his- tory, Washington DC must be considered a momentous place of significance. Its location is the very epicentre of their po- litical heartland but also marks the old divide between the slave-owning southern states and the Yankee north. The Ar- lington memorial bridge strad- dles the Potomac river, where

once General Lee’s forces of the Confederacy gathered to protect their beloved Virginia, while up wind, Lincoln’s forces gathered the Unions. Today it is a shrine to the most significant moments of their timeline. One can’t help but feel goosebumps to stand in the same spot where Martin Lu- ther King delivered his timeless ‘I have a dream’ speech under the gaze of the magnificent Lin - coln memorial. Staring down at the reflective pool, backed by the 500 feet tall Egyp- tian-style stone obelisk that is the Washington Monument, is one of the most icon viewpoints in America. Behind that is the gleaming white neoclassical House of Representatives, accompanied by the Supreme Court and Library of Congress. To the north within a short stroll is the White House, built by an Irishman James Hoban in the 1790s. The whole layout of the city centre is designed to be awe-inspiring and mesmeric. Swarms of school children and mainly American tourists, buzzed around the memorials infused by enthusiasm for their great country – ignoring the key raw material that made it great – militarism. Framed by these buildings and museums, are shrines, unabashedly, to American war and might. Young children fol- low their teachers and another generation of Americans are propagated into the very mind- set it sets out to induce – pride in power, pride in militarism, pride in your government. There are lustrous, eye-catch- ing, crafted memorials to wars across the globe including Korea and Vietnam. They are to honour their soldiers – let there be no illusion here. The Korean monument inscription proclaimed it was a great act of charity or some benevolent act, by fusing into stone the words, ‘Our nation honours her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.’ You wonder with the country still parti- tioned, seventy years later, did American cold war politics only create the conditions for despots to still thrive there? There is a memorial lament to the Vietnam dead, all 58,000 who died fight - ing in that gladiatorial arena for global supremacy against their political nemesis – com- munism. There is no mention of the 1.1 million Viet Cong who sacrificed their lives in wanting to defend the political system they believed in and chose at that time. Close by is what they call the tidal basin, encircled by delicate pink and white cherry ocal Election

This in itself, is an understand- able memorial given the period and that it was one of the most significant and bloodied battles that American marine corps endured. Its aim was to take it from the Japanese and have a base in the Pacific close to Japan. Around this memorial, there is homage paid to other great American wars, including ‘the Indian wars’ as well as their colonial wars against Mexico. It speaks militarism, might, expansion. The buses at its base were packed with people capturing the symbolic statue in a selfie. You wonder did they pause to think what was written around it? Perhaps it doesn’t register or it’s just an accepted part of their nation building? Arlington, like the great war cemeteries of Europe, is a brilliant place to visit. For admirers of JFK, his grave lies there, decorated by the ‘eternal flame’ kept lit since 1967. A hero to Irish Americans, a curse to many Cubans who had to face off his invasion (consist- ing of CIA trained and armed Cuban exiles) to protect their sovereignty in the ‘Bay of Pigs’ in 1961. There is something about the vast fields of simple white crosses, littered between trees and grassy rolling knolls. Its scale is impressive, so too its serenity. But for me its symbol- ism has outgrown its function as a place where the dead is laid to rest. It too, is another cog in the system that brings Americans together, supporting the military machine. It’s a homage to all the battles, but it’s become even more sacred because these days you have to be significant or a decorated combatant to receive a military plot into ever-shrink- ing space. From my perspective, it’s another, more tragic, form of making militarism pure and holy. It can be easy to forget about all the deaths those armies inflicted on the globe. Perhaps you may feel I am too harsh with my overview, but when driving across America, you are constantly reminded of their interconnectivity to the military. Every town, city and suburb have a ‘veterans’’ road or street. There are health centres dedicated to war vets, billboards for special mortgages for war vets, signposts for army bases, and a flurry of the patriotic flag poles, only matched in density by Union Jacks, in pockets of Northern Ireland. And so, on to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama – where the story of slavery, civil war, the civil rights movement, comes to the fore. This will deserve its own telling – for next month.


T he academic philosopher Julian Baggini claims the ‘fundamental basis of reasoning about matters of fact is empirical – based on obser- vation and experience’. Simply put, observing the evidence for yourself. Once we undertook a deci- sion to travel to the States, we undertook a historical road trip,

blossoms. Dr King’s beautiful statue on its edge, is a legacy to his fight for the black man and woman to be regarded equal in America, the land of the free. Every day he stares over at the bigger Jefferson Memorial – a former president and slave owner. King, if alive might see the humour in it, but a trip in the Washington metro would also show him, little has changed for many black people. We didn’t see one white face working the low paid metro jobs, or for that matter, in the minimum-waged eateries. As an employee in the Black African Museum told me later, it’s all good having an occasional Obama or Oprah succeed but nothing will change in the race relations without a seismic change – against a system and constitution that, is ‘rigged’ to maintain the status quo. In a very small area, are treasure troves of (free) modern, interactive, and thought-provok- ing museums where one could lose oneself for weeks. These offer a much more critical view of America’s past. We managed to visit the aforementioned National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of the American Indian to name but two. The latter pulls no punches and examines the ethnic cleans- ing (not my words, but the mu- seum’s) of the native Americas. We all probably have a vague understanding of the many trea- ties that were made, schemed, forced on native Americans by the earlier settlers; English, Irish, German, French, Spanish. But as America grew as a polit- ical entity after their revolution- ary war, and more significantly the Louisiana Purchase, from Napoleon in 1803, which doubled the size of their nation overnight, they faced west and believed it was their destiny

to create a continental power. The museum, through primary source documents, displays, maps and video links, tells the story of the first major step to forcible relocate American Indi- ans, when the elected politicians in Congress, under the guidance of President Andrew Jackson passed, the ‘Indian Removal Act’ of May 28, 1830. It was the beginning of the end for the Indian nations, who before the European arrival have been estimated to be composed of about 50 million people, which by 1900 dwindled to 250,000, mainly confined in reservations (thankfully numbers have been restored to 2.8 million, but in a population of 350 million for context). The infamous and euphemistically called ‘trail of tears’, was one such forced march, upon the Cherokee. Many were shot dead or died from sickness along the way, under miserable conditions, swept away under the auspices of the American army. This was just one episode, as the powers in DC, plotted on stealing land, in Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, that was rich in minerals, living space, timber, waterways, hunting grounds, and so on. It amounts to a prototype of nazi Lebensraum of Hitler’s 1930 Germany, but shockingly it hap- pened a hundred years earlier in heroic America. At least if you take time in the museums, these experiences have been curated by people who have invested time, energy and deep research into bringing the whole picture to us. Meanwhile back on the streets across in Arlington, is one of the most iconic World War Two memorials that stands proudly outside Arlington cemetery. It sculpts the moment when four marines, erected the American flag on Iwo Jima, captured from the Japanese.

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April 26 – May 30, 2024

Union Hall RNLI launched eight times in 2023 as lifesaving charity puts out its own Mayday call U nion Hall RNLI is calling on members of the public to needed to keep its lifesavers safe, while they risk their own lives to save others. Funds raised will help support the charity’s vital

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we’re putting out our call for help to raise the funds which will help keep our lifesaving service going today and into the future. “As a charity we rely on the generosity of the public to take part in events like the Mayday Mile and raise the funds that allow us to be there when we’re needed most.” The RNLI’s Mayday fundraiser begins on Monday, May 1 and will run for the whole month across Ireland. Sign up for the Mayday Mile now and find out more at

support the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign, after revealing they launched eight times last year. With demand for its lifesaving services at a high, the charity is putting out its own ‘Mayday’ call, urging members of the local community to take part in the Mayday Mile – taking on the challenge of covering a mile a day for the month of May. All money raised will help to provide the charity’s vital lifesaving service, such as the training and equipment that is

lifesaving work, including the provision of important train- ing and kit for the volunteer lifeboat crews who readily risk their own lives to save others whenever the call for help comes in. Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Pamela Deasy says, “Summer is the busiest time of year for the RNLI, with thousands of people at risk of getting into danger by the wa- ter. Having recently marked the RNLI’s 200th anniversary,

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