A maritime take on Irish history

Posted on: 4th June, 2014

Category: News

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: John Thuillier

Despite being an island nation, interest in the marine in Ireland has been neglected. John Thuillier’s new book will change that. Kinsale Harbour – A History (The Collins Press, price €19.99) offers an examination of aspects of Irish history, urban and industrial development from the perspective of the sea. The unique approach suggests new ways in which the past can be interpreted. Author and former commercial diver Patrick O’Sullivan will launch the book in Kinsale Yacht Club on Wednesday, June 11 at 7pm.

John Thuillier is steeped in Kinsale’s maritime tradition and tells of community suffering, seafaring under lofty masts and billowing sails and life ashore in the taverns and coffee houses, aboard ships and in ‘lewd’ houses. Mr Thuillier, a retired director of Kinsale Further Education College, said, “The Irish name for the town, Ceann tSáile, means the ‘head of the sea’, which is proof of Kinsale’s unique position amongst Ireland’s harbours.”

Nestling on the River Bandon in County Cork, Kinsale is a popular destination for tourists, foodies, art and festival lovers, fishermen, yachtsmen and more. It emerged as a settlement in the sixth century and built a solid reputation as the port of choice during the seventeenth century’s ‘golden age of sail’. Its deep, secure harbour provided a safe anchorage as well as the impetus for creating extensive facilities for ship building, sail and rope-making and related crafts. Its military forts and naval base protected against the threat of foreign invasion, as well as pirates and smugglers rampant on the coast.

The town’s fortunes over the centuries have waxed and waned in response to the possibilities and potential present in its marine setting. After 1750, when deeper draught vessels were built, the harbour, though deep, was no longer in demand so fishing became the economic centre. When mackerel (the fish of choice) moved west, the town declined but refocused on tourism and deep sea angling, creating another ‘boom’ and today’s popularity. This comprehensive overview of Kinsale’s seafaring tradition will be enjoyed by all who appreciate a whiff of salty spray and the adventure attached to ships voyaging to distant lands.

John R. Thuillier is a retired director of Kinsale Further Education College, which evolved from projects designed to introduce the maritime environment and training in marine skills. A lifetime involvement with boats provided the opportunity to sail and cruise extensively. He has contributed to books, including the acclaimed Traditional Boats of Ireland (2008), and journals on a range of subjects and lectured widely on the history of Kinsale.

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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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