Christmas spirit is alive in West Cork

Posted on: 11th December, 2017

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

It’s that time of year again. The days are the shortest. The nights are longest, and we counter the darkness by filling our lives with light, love and laughter. Those of us lucky enough to live in West Cork need only to step outside into the community to get into the festive spirit. West Cork does the holidays like few other places. We have our tacky tinsel, and cheap fairy lights. We go overboard buying presents we can’t afford. We eat and drink too much. Just like everywhere else. But beneath all the commercial bling, is an authentic sense of community that is the true spirit of Christmas.

Nothing warms my heart more than to go into town on Christmas Eve. If you could bottle the Christmas spirit that one finds in the pubs, on the street, and in our homes- you’d make a fortune. Lucky for us, it’s it’s free for all to enjoy.

It often surprises visitors to find so many businesses closed around Christmas day. I remember being caught out the first Christmas we spent in West Cork 25 years ago. Most shops, restaurants, and hotels closed for several days.( I managed to get milk and bread from a friendly pub owner on St Stephen’s day.) Coming from an urban lifestyle, it took me a moment to figure out that people had better things to do than make, or spend, money over the holidays. Things like getting together with friends and family, and welcoming far flung relatives home. Things like slowing down and enjoying each other’s company. Things like reaching out to others who might be alone, or less fortunate. Things like craic agus ceol. These days many shops and businesses stay open, and I thank them for the last minute shopping, but I love the feeling on Christmas day when everything shuts down and the whole community can stop and be together (and grateful to all those working in essential services who continue to serve and care for others!).

It’s a strange time in the world. The news is often disheartening if not downright terrible. It can be difficult to feel festive, when the world seems on the brink of yet another disaster, yet another revelation, yet another threat. Peace and good will seems in short supply. So I am grateful to live in a place where it is still plentiful, and I thank my friends, my family and my neighbours for making West Cork such a peaceful and inclusive place to live. May you all have a wonderful Christmas time.

I’ll leave you with a present. It’s my favourite Christmas poem from the great Scottish poet Edwin Morgan. See you next year!


Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening

a young man and two girls, under the Christmas lights –

The young man carries a new guitar in his arms,

the girl on the inside carries a very young baby,

and the girl on the outside carries a chihuahua.

And the three of them are laughing, their breath rises

in a cloud of happiness, and as they pass

the boy says, ‘Wait till he sees this but!’

The chihuahua has a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot-holder,

the baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth like favours in a fresh sweet cake,

the guitar swells out under its milky plastic cover, tied at the neck

with silver tinsel tape and a brisk sprig of mistletoe.

Orphean sprig! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua!

The vale of tears is powerless before you.

Whether Christ is born, or is not born, you

put paid to fate, it abdicates

under the Christmas lights.

Monsters of the year

go blank, are scattered back,

can’t bear this march of three.

– And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd

(yet not vanished, for in their arms they wind

the life of men and beasts, and music,

laughter ringing them round like a guard)

at the end of this winter’s day.

Edwin Morgan

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Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing

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