People Power

Posted on: 9th March, 2018

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

One of the things I like most about rural living is the ‘can do’ resilience that comes from being far away from the urban support system of 24hr solutions to a problem – whether it’s a lack of croissants, or a leaking pipe.

We’ve come a long way from the days when an avocado was exotic, and everyone walked to school, but living in the countryside for twenty-five years has made me more resilient. It sounds quaint today, but many of us old blow-ins came to live in West Cork because we wanted to be ‘self sufficient’ (that and the fact that property was cheap-imagine that!). It was less about not needing other people, and more about learning to do things for ourselves. I knew very little about fixing or making-do, when I came here. Though my brain was chocka-block with knowledge I was neither handy, nor hardy. I’ve seriously toughened up from the days when my major life skill was hailing a taxi. Some skills, like baking croissants, I learnt. Others were just a question of having no other option than to sort it out myself.

I remember the legendary Chuck Kruger, who lived on Cape Clear, proudly telling me how he fixed his washing machine by fashioning the needed parts using an old wellie and a coat hanger. Life hacks, as they are called, have become an internet sensation. Back in the days before wifi, it was just called ‘getting things sorted’.

Over the years, I have had some proud life hack moments. Most of them involve duct tape, or expanding foam. In fact the house is, at any given point in time, a carefully managed balance between life hacks, and calling in an expert for a big costly job. Sometimes the expert is far away. Sometimes a lack of funds necessitates a more original approach. My proudest life hack came last Christmas when the immersion tank started leaking the day before Christmas Eve. The diagnosis was dire: it needed to be replaced and nothing could be done until after the New Year. The advice I got was to cut of the immersion, drain the tank, and to shut down the Aga. This was sound and reasonable advice, but totally unacceptable with a houseful of family looking forward to hot showers, and a Christmas dinner. I am proud to say that Huggies DRYNITES mattress protectors kept the leak from shutting down the hot water and cooking facilities over Christmas. I highly recommend them for all your seepage needs.

This hands-on attitude to problems permeates our communities from the tremendous Rapid Response initiative to ambulance cutbacks, to the Clonakilty Mayoral council solution to losing the town council, or the compassionate Friends of Aylum seekers and their community garden; to name but a few. Rather than mope about complaining, people have found solutions, taken initiatives and rounded up the troops to sort things out – even if it’s only a partial, or temporary solution. It’s what people do in rural communities. It’s reflected in our young people and our pensioners. It seems to me that living in the countryside is empowering, which is different from just enabling. It reminds people that the power to find a solution is in their hands. The buck stops here when a gale is raging, and the electrics are off. Or as one frazzled mother once put it: It’s amazing what you can get done when you have no choice.

I’m not saying that people in cities are helpless, in fact I detect a changing tide all around the world. 2016 was frightful. 2017 had us down in the dumps. 2018 is starting to look like a lot of people have got themselves up, dusted themselves off and decided to do something – anything, no matter how small – to make things better.

Whether its picking up three pieces of litter on a walk, or avoiding plastic packaging, or getting involved in a grassroots political campaign; I feel the tide of change building. I call it the Rise of the Reasonable.

Power to the People!

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This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

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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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

Check out this new upbeat indie-folk track Edges, released today from Inni-K with a video by Myles O'Reilly. Inni-K will be performing at Levis’, Ballydehob on Saturday 24th February, with support from Sam Clague.
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16th February, 2018  ·  

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