Midsummer magic

Posted on: 7th July, 2014

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

It was as if I’d woken from a wonderful dream, and tumbled into a nightmare. Suddenly the world was filled with a sound that I’d forgotten ever existed. It startled me, and I found myself asking what the noise was, when the words died on my lips. That hammering of a thousand nails, that howling of a hundred dying cats; that whistling and booming and torrential chorus heralded the end of almost two weeks of unbroken summer sunshine. It was raining. In fact, it was raining so hard that in other parts of the world, the word monsoon would not have been inappropriate. It’s probably a defense mechanism, but when the sun shines for an extended period in West Cork (say a week), it’s as if we had never known rain. The magic of midsummer is such that we walk around completely dazzled, having forgotten (and forgiven) that on St John’s Eve 2012 it was only 11C. I , for one, actively cultivate denial during a heat-wave. I refuse to remember the recent storms, or the fact that I’ve sworn to get away next winter. Denial comes easy when the temperature rises. There are few places that compare to Southern Ireland when the summer is hot. In fact few places can compare with the view from my front field. The landscape comes into its own in a glorious display. The trees are lush, the grass is thick and the barley planted across the road is just coming to its own. Take a drive down to the coast and you could be somewhere on the Riviera, without the traffic jams and swarms of tourists. Whatever your desires might be: surfing, fishing, walking, gardening, or just lounging (my personal favorite) –you’d be hard pressed to find a better backdrop to do it in. West Cork is the ‘bees knees’, the ‘cream of the cream’, the ‘tip of the top’ for fun in the sun. Sure, where else would you be going?

That our recent heat-wave hit us at midsummer, not to mention in the middle of the World Cup, only made it more spectacular. The days are so long that it only gets dark, for a few hours. I love the midsummer midnight sky, with its strange glow on the horizon when the sun has not quite set in the West, but you can already see a hint of it rising in the East. I had occasion to enjoy the midsummer midnight sky a number of times over the solstice weekend. West Cork’s charms are no secret and the house became like a revolving stage set, as various groups of friends popped over for a visit. They come bearing goodies and instruments, which they add to the goodies and instruments already in the house. It’s only delightful. Midsummer Magic at its best with family, friends and lots of food, drink and music. Anything that can be put off is dismissed as unimportant. We had BBQs for five days straight. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow it might rain!

And then it did rain. Great gushing torrents broke from the heavens as if a celestial hose had been suddenly turned on. I told myself that it didn’t mean the end of summer. I did not put away my flip-flops. I comforted myself with the thought that the garden could use some water. I acknowledged the refreshing smell of summer rain as I went out to investigate during a break in the showers.

It always surprises me how quickly the land becomes parched after a dry week, but not as much as how fast it grows as soon as it rains again. I swear that the grass along our road frontage has grown a foot since yesterday. Even the plants in the porch seem to have grown substantially on the increased moisture in the air. The lovely complacency of the last ten days has brutally been replaced with a sense of urgency. The peas need picking. The weeds are close to being out of control. Then again, if we don’t start strimming soon, it won’t matter if we weed or not. The whole property will revert to jungle.

Then as if the weather Gods had waved their magic wand, it was over. The clouds dispersed, the sun came out, the skies were blue again and the heat was back on. Just as I was starting to make a catch-up list for all the tasks that I’d set aside during the heat-wave, it was another beautiful day. Time to put on the flip-flops and enjoy the view!

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Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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Vikings talk in Clonakilty!

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It will be delivered by John Sheehan, senior lecturer in the Archaeology Department, UCC and a former member of the Heritage Council and the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

The Vikings were an important presence in Ireland for over two centuries. As well as inflicting great terror they were also responsible for introducing urbanism and new economic systems to the country.

In this talk the focus will be on the economy, looking at the gold and silver hoards that were buried in Co. Cork. It will also explore how these hoards were discovered, what happened to them, and where they are now!
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Bandon Toastmasters is a club that helps people overcome Glossophobia, a fear of public speaking. The club is holding a night of inspirational and motivational speakers on February 22 that is a must for anybody wishing to overcome this phobia.
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