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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17th October, 2018  ·  

SuperValu and AsIAm host unique exhibition in Clonakilty

SuperValu and will host a unique exhibition which will enable the entire town of Clonakilty to experience what it is like for people with autism to deal with the world around them. The exhibition, which is free to visit, will be hosted in the Clonakilty Parish Hall from 10am to 4pm on Thursday 27th September. The exhibition represents the final part of the four month journey the town has been on to becoming Ireland’s first ever fully accredited Autism Friendly Town and guests are invited to join on a ‘pop-in’ basis.

The exhibition uses an engaging “questions and answers” format as well as a series of activities to answer people’s questions and enable visitors to step into the shoes of those with the condition. This includes using sound, smells, touch and sight experiments to bring neurotypical (those without Autism) people into the world of those with the condition.

“People with autism often experience a sense of being overwhelmed and confused by what others see as normal life, and this exhibition will allow those attending to understand this more than they have done before,” according to the CEO of AsIAm Adam Harris. “Through visiting this exhibition we believe people will be much better equipped to engage with people with autism who they meet regularly in their day-to-day lives.”

Visitors are given an MP3 player which gives them an audio guide through 15 stages which allow them experience different aspects of life with autism.

Under SuperValu and AsIAm’s guidance, the town of Clonakilty has undertaken a commitment to become fully Autism Friendly – a first for anywhere in Ireland. Over the last four months Adam Harris, founder of AsIAm, and his team have been working with the entire community to receive official Autism Friendly Accreditation.

To do this the town as a whole must deliver:

Engagement and training 25% of businesses and voluntary organisations
Engagement and training of 50% of public services
Engagement and training of 50% of school communities
Engagement and training of 50% of healthcare professionals
Engagement of 3 employers
Reaching 25% of the town’s population
The town has almost reached these targets with this exhibition representing the last piece of the journey reaching and educating as many of the community as possible.

The exhibition was developed by the AsIAm Youth Leadership Team, a group of young people with Autism who act as advocates for the organisation. It is part of a larger campaign to engage young people in Autism issues which includes a social media campaign and a website,

Around 1 in 65 people in Ireland live with Autism and are to be found in every community and school in the country. They apply for every type of job but are often misunderstood, excluded or left behind due to a lack of understanding in society.
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25th September, 2018  ·  

Schull Regatta have made some changes to the schedule due to adverse weather. Still lots of fun to be had... ... See MoreSee Less

10th August, 2018  ·  

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