West Cork supports the children of Gaza

gaza skibb

Posted on: 6th October, 2014

Category: News

Contributor: West Cork People

With no end in sight to West Cork’s Mediterranean summer, Skibbereen farmer’s market basked under a china blue sky on Saturday, September 27. And amid the mounds of colourful, locally produced vegetables, plants and fresh-baked loaves was a stall reminding patrons that at the far end of the Mediterranean, and despite obstacles that would deter even the most dedicated growers, Palestinian farmers still struggle to harvest olives from ancient trees, including some as many as 1,500 or even 2,000 years-old.

Jenin’s organic olive oil is produced from olives that are rushed to village presses within 24 hours of being picked. The result is what must be some of the finest olive oil produced anywhere in the world. Somewhat more expensive than the supermarket variety, although probably not, given the difficulties of producing, marketing and exporting it (more than one million Palestinian olive trees have been destroyed in the current crisis), if you want the taste of authentic hummus, or baba ghanouj (aubergine dip), you need Zaytoun olive oil. Now this Fairtrade brand produced by Palestinian farming cooperatives is available for the first time in West Cork.

In addition to the olive oil, dates and za’atar, a spice mixture containing thyme, sumac, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds and salt (although many localised varieties also exist), were also on sale for the first time. Za’atar is eaten by dipping bread first into a pool of olive oil and then into the dried spice mixture. But it can be used in so many other ways, including in marinades, rubbed into chicken before roasting, or sprinkled on tomato salad. This Palestinian specialty was a particular hit on Saturday with foodies and adventurous cooks, always on the lookout for a new and healthy food experience.

There is of course another side to this story of healthy eating. Over 500 children were killed over 51 days this summer, when 20,000 tonnes of explosives were dropped on Gaza, a tiny enclave one twentieth the size of County Cork with a population of nearly two million. According to a UN report, 400,000 children in Gaza are currently exhibiting symptoms of mild to severe trauma.

Proceeds from Saturday’s sale went to 25 bereaved Gazan families. And sad though the background story is, the public response was enthusiastic, knowledgeable, heartwarming and generous. Over €300 was raised from the mark-up on products, donated items and a rousing performance from local musicians.

As well as supporting Palestinian producers, the Skibbereen stall offered information on Palestine, present and past, and how it was described by travellers to the Orient in more peaceful times. In 1876, for instance, the French guide book Guide Indicateur described Jaffa:  “In February, groves of orange trees, grafted with lemon boughs, release a profusion of blossoms, which scent the air around Jaffa to a distance of two leagues. Boatmen this distance out to sea can inhale the fragrance of numberless orange trees, later to yield extravagant crops of delicious fruit.”

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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