The Turning

Posted on: 5th September, 2016

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

We may have been in tank tops and shorts as the sun split the stones for the last few weeks, but one look at the garden and there’s no denying it. The message is clear: we’ve entered the season I like to call The Turning. The Lymes have been turning since July, but they always jump the gun before the other trees and rush into the next season. Now, as September rolls in, everything is at it; the front field is more russet than green, the Sycamores are going brown, and the Beech are having a last purple hurrah before they turn the drive into a golden wonderland. Sunsets have the melancholy sheen of burnished copper, and light up the sky earlier every evening. In the vegetable patch the bounty is wonderful: lettuces, green beans, courgettes, rhubarb, mange-tout, potatoes, chard, peas and the promise of sweet corn. We had a bit of a surprise this year. I was away in March when the seeds trays were sown. The seedlings that I found when I returned looked like courgettes to me. However, once I had put them out in the garden they started to trail along the ground, so I figured that they must be pumpkins. It turns out that they are gherkins…and that they grow very well in West Cork! In the hedgerows the blackberries are still ripening, though the Rowan and Hawthorn are already bursting with colour. This is it lads. Summer is over and Autumn is coming.

We can’t really complain. Summer 2016 wasn’t half bad, with some really spectacular, sunny, hot days. I almost went swimming…until I actually walked into the ocean! It was definitely an ice bucket challenge – so I applaud the many people who played in the surf all summer. You were delightful to watch, and far braver than I.

A shout out to parents as well. I no longer have school age children and I do not miss this time of year one little bit: the queues, the book covering, the tantrums, the uniforms, and above all, the expense of the Back-to-School rush was a shadow that loomed over the last weeks of summer for decades. I am delighted to see the back of it and extend commiserations for all of you who have just been through it.  Exhale and pat yerselves on the back for a job well done.

September always feels a bit frantic whether you have kids or not. That’s part of The Turning. These are the last weeks to get those DIY jobs done, or you will put them on the back burner until next Spring. It’s time for one last frenzied effort before giving up and getting cosy around the fire. We managed to get the roof and gutters done, but the ensuite shower is still a building site. A combination of visitors, family duties, and tradesmen’s availability has expanded this project from a few weeks to the entire summer. However, hope is in sight. The tiling is almost done. With a bit of luck I could be enjoying my ensuite by next month’s issue of the West Cork People.

All around me the countryside is alive with the sound of strimmers, diggers and hammers as the neighbours try to get jobs done. I’ve been watching with interest as one recently built house put the finishing touches on the frontage with a new entrance. It’s lovely and really pulls the whole property together (much like the Dude’s rug in the Big Lebowski). However, I fear that once the concrete has dried it may be adorned with an ornamental gate. They seem to be popping up all over the country: totally useless ornamental gates. A gate is ‘a hinged barrier to close an opening in a wall, or fence’. In other words, it is defined by its function. There is nothing ornamental about a gate. If it only opens and closes it is useless, not to mention an obstacle to driving up to your own house, unless you get one with a remote. Yet this totally useless feature seems to be very popular. Gates close walls or fences. Walls, fences and gates are built to either keep outsiders (like burglars, or marauding hordes) from getting in, or insiders (like cattle, dogs and small children) from getting out. I often drive past bungalows that have tiny stone ramparts and a fancy big gate. There is absolutely no use for a gate whose hinges are attached to an ornamental two foot wall that any determined toddler, or energetic terrier, could scale. It’s like having a drawbridge over a ditch.  I just don’t get it? I can only assume that people get a kick out of driving up to their gate and using a remote control to open it.

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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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