Fascinating account of Whiddy Disaster in new book

Posted on: 1st December, 2014

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

This month next sees the launch of a new book that gives a vivid and fascinating first-hand account of Ireland’s worst ever maritime disaster when 50 people lost their lives in the early morning of January 8, 1979, after a fire broke out aboard the Betelgeuse, a French-owned oil tanker, at the Gulf Oil Terminal in Bantry Bay. The fire small at first but then spread rapidly to erupt into a massive fireball accompanied by an explosion that cast debris far and wide and reverberated as far as 50 miles away throughout West Cork.

Living with the Whiddy Disaster has been written by Brian McGee who is the last surviving member of the Gulf Oil crew on Whiddy Island on that fateful night. With other colleagues he put his life at risk fighting non-stop through the night to prevent the inferno spreading to the 12 oil tanks on the island, which would have had disastrous consequences for the town of Bantry. His bravery and that of his co-workers was recognised at the time and remarked upon in the subsequent Tribunal of Inquiry set up by the government.

Although Brian had his life spared that night, unlike seven other Gulf employees and the crew of the Betelgeuse, the disaster took its toll by sending him into a mental hell that he would have to endure for many years, bringing him close on a number of occasions to suicide. He tells the tale of his recovery after a long battle and how he found the solution in a new-found spirituality and a rediscovery of his faith.

He also criticises strongly the findings of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the disaster, which he believes were unjust in their treatment of one particular individual and consequently diverted attention away from those who were really to blame.

Living with the Whiddy Disaster will be launched by Dr Denis Cotter at the West Lodge Hotel, Bantry, at 8pm on Friday, November 28. All are welcome.

The book will be available for sale at a price of €9.99 in newsagents and bookshops throughout West Cork. For more information, please call 086 8778393.

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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing schulldramagroup@gmail.com

For more information please contact hilary.mccarthy6@gmail.com
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9th April, 2018  ·  

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