Nead an Iolair

We have returned to West Cork, to the house we bought overlooking Roaringwater Bay, and this time it’s for keeps. Our first month has been a whirlwind of unpacking, sorting, making the house our own, meeting neighbours and friends from our winter stay, and taking in everything West Cork has to offer in the summer. Within a few days of arriving we had been to markets, a play, and several concerts; spent a day at an agricultural fair and another on a beach; attended gallery openings and a classic boat gathering; participated once again in the Friday night music sessions in Ballydehob; hosted dinner parties and been hosted in return; in short – settled back into the marvellous rhythm of West Cork life, but this time as permanent residents.

 Cruinniú na mBád: Ballydehob boat gathering

Cruinniú na mBád: Ballydehob boat gathering

We will be writing in Roaringwater Journal about aspects of life and why we love it here. An enormous part of it all, of course, is the people we meet – their open welcome and friendly acceptance has made us feel at home. But it’s more than that: people here are still close to the land, fiercely proud of this area, keepers of the lore and the history and uniquely expressive. Everyone loves to talk, so you’d better not be in a hurry. Today, for example…

After a late night at the session (made exceptional by the addition of a group of French musicians) we had slept in a bit and decided to head into Skibbereen to breakfast and the market. But even though it’s Saturday here comes Ger, the electrician, with the replacement bathroom fan. Abandoning the plan, we made breakfast for all of us and Ger, having installed the fan, regaled us with stories of the townland he comes from, a mile down the road. We told him we had tramped up and down the roads there, the other day, looking for a piece of rock art, a large boulder with cupmarks on the top, and couldn’t find it. He grinned, “’Tis in my yard,” he said. “The legend is that Finn McCool threw it down from Mount Gabriel.” We made a date to go next week to record it and moved on to discussing the theatre. Ger is an actor and knowledgeable dramatist and, over the eggs and toast, he gave us an insightful review of the recent “Fit Up Theatre” productions (excellent!) we had been going to.

West Cork Arts Centre

West Cork Arts Centre

Then it was off to Skibb, to see if Richard, the cable guy, could come back and finish installing the wireless network in the house. In the store, the manager, who turned out to be Richard’s father, explained to us that Richard was on a hurling team that had just won the County finals for their division and needed to celebrate. With a twinkle in his eye, he suggested that we not look out for him before Wednesday. And while we were waiting, he added, why didn’t we take in this great presentation on Tuesday night, for which he would be delighted to sell us tickets. Half an hour later, we left the store, having been brought up to date on the plans for a new Arts Centre and been told the history of his name, family and business.

First Visitors

First Visitors

And so go our days. The summer is winding down and the villages will soon lose the tourist-mecca bustle. Already many of the houses in our little cove have the blinds down as their owners return to the city. There’s a slight hint of autumn in the evenings. Our walks are slowed by the temptations offered by the blackberry brambles, our mornings enlivened by visits from Ferdia, our friendly fox.

From Canada and from England, from cities, from careers and responsibilities, from vastly different lives, we have come together to this extraordinary place.

And now here we are – at home in West Cork.

16 thoughts

  1. Dear Finola,

    I can only echo the comments of others that you and Robert are so agreeably settled in such a beautiful area. The only regret I have is that I am planning to come back to visit Vancouver sometime, and you were one of the first people I had wanted to touch base with, (And Frank Gelin too, although I understand he has retired from BCCAT).

    At any rate, I am charmed to see that your lively intelligence and zest for life are being applied in a new setting!




  2. Hi Finola & Robert! I love the new subtitle (“At Home in West Cork”), and am delighted to have your postings resume. There’s a real sense of you having found your proper place on the planet. And the fox is obviously an official ambassador, come to offer blessings and a benediction to you both…


  3. It’s great to be reading the blog again – I was getting concerned about the silence and went to see Robert’s brother to ask if he had heard anything – then your new posting arrived.

    I’m so glad that you are both settled in the new home – your deep enjoyment of life comes through so strongly.



  4. Your deep contentment rings through, Finola. You and Robert do indeed sound “at home in West Cork”. The beautiful house and setting, interesting activities and events, and most certainly the people all seem to be wonderful ingredients to enjoying wholeheartedly your new life in Ireland. I’m very happy for you both. Helena


  5. “It’s a Wonderful Life”! I’m so glad that you have started your blog again. I just love to know that your new life is so happy. As an aside, the Earls of Bantry married into the Brabazon family! Hugs to you both.


  6. Lovely, sharing the blackberry picking with you, ‘blackberry crumble and Blackberry and apple pie season. Days of calming light, sound and crispening air’ x


  7. It all sounds wonderful — and I know it is. Art and I are here in Port Moody until the end of October, then it’s back to our Southern East Coast home. We were in France with John and family for two weeks just before coming to B.C.
    also went to Belgium for several days. Enjoy your new home and your new life.


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