RIP Sam and Dave

Posted on: 13th November, 2017

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

It’s been over a week and I still can’t bear to go outside. I had a quick tour the day after Ophelia hit, but I think that I was in such shock that I couldn’t let the destruction sink in all at once. I get glimpses out the window, or when I round the bend in the road and see the twisted stumps where Sam and Dave, our majestic Scots pines should be. Each time it just takes my breath away.

The property looks as if an alien spaceship hit us with three laser blasts; two to the left of the house along the drive, and one to the right. Along these three alleys of annihilation trees lie uprooted, exploded and snapped like matchsticks. My daughter noted that it reminded her of the Battle of Bastogne in Saving Private Ryan. In some places the pile of debris is over three metres high. They were mostly tall pines: Norwegian spruce, noble firs, Lalandii, a few ash and, of course Sam and Dave. Strangely, many apples stayed on the trees though the orchard is littered with windfalls. The vegetable patch is bent backwards and blackened, as if an evil breath had blown over it. The fruit cage we put up this year is squashed under a large pine. The front vegetable patch is buried under trunks and branches. The house itself was spared apart from a small leak in the roof. No cars were damaged though three were parked in the yard, which now sports a ten foot hole where a tree was uprooted. In fact though we lost dozens of trees, not one branch came down on any roads or buildings. I should be grateful.

I still haven’t been down the field to see Sam and Dave up close. Sam was snapped cleanly and went first. Dave looks like the crown ripped off, twisting the trunk upside down like a gnarled cane. Judging by their size they were both at least one hundred and fifty years old. They have been the view, the landmark, the living symbol of the House. They were a part of the family. Some times at sunset the light bathed Sam and Dave with burnished gold and dark shadows that turned the view into a magically bucolic landscape. We would often stop what we were doing and go to the porch to enjoy the transformation. It only ever lasted for a few minutes, but it always filled me with delight. Other times, when the sky was streaked with purple and red, Sam and Dave’s arching crowns made it look like we lived above the African savannah . Their giant silhouettes dominated the night sky. Some nights a nail pairing moon and bright Venus were caught between the two trees. At those times the view looked Japanese. One could easily imagine the outline of Mount Fuji on the horizon. . I can’t remember when we started calling them Sam and Dave, but I remember why. Sometimes, when the moon was full and the wind up, the moonlight would spotlight the trees as they did their synchronised dance, and I could easily imagine them singing “Hang on…I’m coming”  or “I’m a Soul Man”.

It will be hard to come to terms that they are gone. Today, I took the first steps and talked to a tree surgeon about clearing the wreckage Ophelia left behind. We’ll start with the dangerous trees that are leaning along the drive. Then we’ll move on to the battle zone out the back. We didn’t talk about clearing the Scots pines. I’m getting there, but I’m not ready yet.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


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  ·  

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