Every year we choose your – and our – favourite posts. We assume that your favourites are the ones we see to be ‘most read’. Ours? Well, that’s a more complex algorithm altogether, for which there is no real explanation or formula.
It looks like you love the West Cork posts – anything about local history, archaeology and walks that help you to get to know this part of the world better. Among your favourites this year were several of our Mizen Magic series. In particular you loved the latest additions to the Fastnet Trails – the Lissagriffin Loop (above) and the Gortduv walk (below).
We love exploring small areas of the Mizen in depth – and apparently so do you! Croagh Cove (pronounced as ‘Crew’ locally) and that amazing little pier at Toor (below) really caught all of our imaginations.
We started a new series on Mizen Megaliths – we’re determined to see them all, even if it kills us – which one of them almost did (kidding, but some of them are not for the faint of heart, below). The oldest is the portal tomb at Arderrawinny, which is our lead photograph.
A little further afield from the Mizen, but still in West Cork, Dunworley Promontory Fort proved to be a fascinating piece of history, as did Caheragh Explorer – in fact you can watch Robert talking about this fascinating place in a short documentary by the Skibbereen Historical Society.
Another Historical Society doing great work is Castlehaven and Myross – their Placenames Project is a tremendous undertaking. And Conor even managed to persuade Finola into the sea in December. Meanwhile, over in Bantry, their Graveyard Project is uncovering all kinds of history.
Our village, Ballydehob is a happening place these days. From the empty streets and shuttered shops captured in 681 Days! the village came alive with art and music and festivals, just like in Pre-Covid days. A new exhibition in BAM (Ballydehob Arts Museum) showcased the quirky, amusing and technically dazzling work of Ian and Lynn Wright.
Robert loves folklore and told us the The Oldest Adventure, or The Sons of the Salmon. Finola meanwhile likes to read about old Irish saints and her post St Brigid: Dove among birds, Vine among trees, Sun among stars was just in time for the saint’s feast day – soon to be a national holiday.
Finola didn’t have as many wildflower posts this year, as she concentrated on short videos on Instagram, but she really enjoyed her outing with the Biodiversity Data Centre, looking at rare plants.
She continues to study the world of stained glass and this year she wrote about one of Ireland’s few examples of the work of Burn Jones, and about William Dowling, the artist who carried on the great Harry Clarke tradition after Harry died. He turned out to be the artist behind the mysterious sketch in One Window, Eight Stories.
I’m not sure what it says about us, but two our most popular posts this year (your and ours) were not our work at all. Karen Minihane’s book Extraordinary, Ordinary Women of West Cork related the untold stories of brave West Cork women, members of Cumann na mBan who played active (and sometimes terrifying) roles during the War of Independence.
Our first ever guest blogger, Brian O’Riordan, left us all in the shade when he told the story of Mary Harper: Record-Breaking Lone Trans-Atlantic Sailor in Crookhaven. All kinds of people saw the piece and commented – including Mary’s daughter and granddaughter!
Two final pieces, chosen by us as posts that were fun to work on. Robert chooses Ships in Churches, which explores the background and meaning of ship graffiti in St Mary’s Old church in Schull, while I really enjoyed delving into the raging controversy, now long-forgotten, that attended the threatened closure of a graveyard in Rathclaren. The high-flown language and sputtering outrage reported in the Examiner was a treat to read.
We’ve been doing this for ten years now and it never gets old for us. This year, as ever, some of our adventures were in the grand company of Amanda and Peter, AKA Holy Wells of Cork and Kerry for Dunworley Promontory Fort (below) and some with Walking with Stones, for the exploration of the cave with scribings.
Our posts were read over 260,000 times in 2022 – that’s a lot of people getting to know West Cork.
Here’s to the next ten years.