Back from a week’s stay in Ireland early this morning. Living only 45 minutes from the Fishguard to Rosslare ferry has real advantages when going west.
We were staying in bed and breakfasts near the town of Clonakilty in west Cork. Apart from being a beautiful part of the country this area is the home to that great writer and musician Roy Harper.
For the last few years Roy has played for three nights at Debarras Pub and Folk Club in the town.
I’ve never seen Roy live before and was amazed that despite his age of 67, his musical ability voice and guitar playing were in fine form. Unfortunately this will be the last of these gigs for a couple of years at least as Roy wants to devote his time to writing and recording a new album. A photo gallery from someone else who attended the gig can be viewed here on Flickr.
We stayed in three excellent bed and breakfasts in the Clonakilty area. The first was Seafield Farmhouse in Kilbrittain run by the industrious and easy going Eileen Fielding. Next was Norma Walsh at Ard Na Greine Farmhouse near Ballinascarthy who has been running the B&B since 1969. (In nearly 50 years she must have seen absolutely everything.). Finally we stayed with Noreen McCarthy at Duvane House near Clonakilty itself. Her gorgeous house was littered with antiques. We slept in a brass bed with drapes.
View from Seafield Farmhouse, County Cork
Parts of the 1,094 km coastline of Cork are still beautiful and largely unspoilt, but the fangs of the Celtic Tiger economy are dug well into most bays and headlands where new bungalows and houses are springing up with little or no regard for their effect on the character of the area. Even worse, many of these orange and cream ‘Lego’ boxes are holiday homes owned by Dublin-dwellers, so their occupants contribute little to the local communities.
God only knows what the planning committees of the local authorities have between their ears. Certainly not brains or eyes, otherwise they would realise that they are sanctioning the destruction of the very natural beauty that attracts tourists to this area.
In the 2003 Cork County Development Plan (7.5Mb – is it worth it?) it is stated:
‘Satellite imagery shows that the proportion of the coastal zone covered by discontinuous urban development has increased by over 25% since the mid 1980’s. ‘
Unfortunately recognition of the problem hasn’t led to anything more than token control of random house-building along the coast.
On a lighter note, the place names in Ireland rival Wales, but with far more vowels. One village near us Eglwyswrw has even been featured on adverts for a major bank. The one below caught my eye, Reenascreena sounds more like a character from Little Britain, but is a lovely place.
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