The Best of Five

It’s been five years! That’s a long time to have kept up a journal, with original pieces appearing every week – usually two, each of us writing a post. It keeps us busy: 464 posts to date. We thought we should do a review of the posts which have been most popular: viewed by the most people. These are not necessarily the ones we would consider to be our own favourites: we’ll let you know what we feel our ‘finest hour’ has been next week – while you are all preparing the Christmas lunch!

We never quite understood the all-time popularity of Beyond Leap, Beyond the Law, my post which was simply a collection of photos taken at the West Cork village’s 2015 Scarecrow Festival – with a little bit of history about the place added in. It was certainly a wonderful display of the imagination of the people of Leap. Have a look at the post: just one or two photographs don’t do it justice.

Up next is Finola’s piece from 2016 – Outposts of Empire. This was a much more scholarly article, and involved a lot of research. As you must know, we never pass a church or a burial ground without a full investigation: they provide a wealth of local history. Finola became fascinated by the memorials – mainly military – which appear in Protestant churches around the country. This led her down the path of her own ancestors, many of whom served in the Irish regiments of the British forces. She found this wonderful photo from around 1900 of her Brabazon forebears. Her grandmother Marie is in the centre of the back row, while her great grandfather John Edward Brabazon, who had served in India and Afghanistan, wears a military medal. The two younger men are Finola’s great uncles Michael and James, and they are wearing the uniform of the Royal Hibernian Military School.

Finola’s series on ‘how to speak like a West Cork person’ was a winner, the most popular being her fifth episode: How Are You Keeping? Here is a link to all of them. They make amusing reading, but at the same time they give a lot of insights as to how the Irish language has coloured the way English is spoken here. And here is Finola’s great picture from that post: two Skibbereen gentlemen who might well be asking how are you keeping?

Archaeology comes next, with my account of a most eccentric decorated chambered cairn within the Boyne Valley complex: Fourknocks – the Little Giant. I was particularly taken with the adventure of visiting this tomb, from the first moment of having to collect the key from a farm a mile away in order to let ourselves in, to the experience of being inside with the door shut behind us: total darkness at first, but gradually becoming aware of the remarkable 5,000 year-old zigzag carvings on the rock surfaces within.

I’m pleased that the fifth most popular post of all time is also the one I most enjoyed writing: Aweigh in Kerry. This was all about a very unusual piece of architecture which we found while travelling in Kerry – a house shaped like a ship, sitting in the sand dunes on the shoreline of Ballycarnahan townland, facing a most spectacular view across to Derrynane, the home of ‘Ireland’s Liberator’ Daniel O’Connell. I was an architect in a former life, and I would have welcomed a commission such as this. It was built in the early 1950s.

Sixth and last in this little review is a post from Finola (happily, we had three each in this list of the top most popular posts!): Castle Haven. Such an account of a place in magical West Cork – which typically offers everything anyone could want in beautiful landscape, village architecture, archaeology, history, literary heritage, art and the omnipresent Atlantic coastline – is exactly what we aspired to for the foundation stone of Roaringwater Journal when we set out, in 2012 on this happy, continuing journey.

 

11 thoughts

  1. One must congratulate you both on marking this most significant milestone. I have only recently become a ‘follower’, and am continually inspired to take to the roads to discover all this glorious isle has to offer. In an age in which so many seem to know the cost of everything but the value of nothing, it is good to reflect on past, present and future. As your top 5 clearly demonstrate your topics truly cover everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. Many thanks, and keep posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those five years have produced an invaluable collection of research and images. And they’ve shown how much of interest there is everywhere if people would just stop awhile to really see things properly instead of shooting past to the next place. Here’s to the next five years. Be grand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well let me see, I think I have bought at least dozen books on your recommendation, and enjoyed all. My phobia about Social Meeja and my inbuilt prejudice against all that “information” ( much of which I thought either I already knew or didn’t want/need to know) has been totally confounded. My admiration for this country (already great when I first came here aged 15) has been enriched by your scholarly researches which are all the better for being served up in bite-sized chunks. So, I echo the comment of Freespiral – Keep at it ! And Happy Christmas to anybody who might read little comment !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Many congrats on 5 years worth of journalling and what a magnificent advert for all things (mainly) West Cork you two are. I really look forward to my Sunday read but even more, accompanying you both on some of your adventures. Keep at it!

    Liked by 1 person

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