A Toast to West Cork

Posted on: 5th May, 2015

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

When we first moved from Dublin to West Cork just short of three years ago, it did not take us too long to realise all those people waving at us from their cars were doing so out of friendliness not out of recognition!

We chose the area not so much because of its reputation for pretty towns set amongst beautiful seaside country but more from a desire to be closer to our four grandchildren in Inchigeelagh and to play more than a bit part in their lives. We spent six months in Glandore while searching the area and finally choosing Clonakilty, a decision we have many reasons to be happy with.

I find myself asking ‘is this town the friendliest in Ireland?’ To start with the neighbours in our estate, all welcoming and helpful, whether it is Pat who is very ‘handy’ checking out our faulty ballcock in the attic and ‘doing a bit of insulating’ while up there, or John and Elaine bringing back a few bottles of my favourite French wine (Pecharment) from their

Summer holidays, and likewise Sean and Mary with samples from the local winery in the French countryside — there is a sense of community here that I haven’t experienced since leaving my small Cape Cod town to go to university in the city all those years ago. And the sunsets viewed from the Inis Cuain Estate on a summer’s evening are like something from a Turner painting.

We can walk down Desert Hill into Clonakilty where many of the employees of Scally’s and Meadows and Byrne have become friends over the months, and on to one of the two great bookshops. A Dublin friend emailed me recently to say he came across Kerr’s while on holidays and “didn’t realise that good bookshops like that still existed!” And what about O’Neill’s butchers? I wrote to the Food and Wine Magazine about asking about a particular type of sausage not on display at O’Neill’s and being told by Michael “if you have shopping to do you can call back and I will make some for you…” The result was an unexpected case of Macon wine for ‘letter of the month’. I could go on and on, and at the risk of committing the sin of omission, McCarthy’s newsagents, Bluett’s Pharmacy, the iconic Lettercollum Food Project, the toyshop run by the charming young man from France, all are a delight to step into. I love being on first name terms with the postman and traffic warden, these are simple things that have disappeared from city living.

Oh, there are always downsides, the windstorms of two winters ago up on Desert Hill were quite scary and I do wish that those people who let their big dogs out for a run off the lead on the beautiful West Cork beaches would think again. I also wish Cork Airport would get its act together so that we wouldn’t have to drive all the way up the M8 in order to fly to France or Italy.

When my sister and her husband visited from Connecticut in November, we made a few excursions with them to Timoleague, Courtmacsherry, and to the Sheep’s Head Peninsula and had many more planned until they told us “we prefer to stay right around here, walk down to Ring each morning and over to town at noon to stop in at Scannell’s for an excellent lunch and a pint of Beamish.” I think that says it all, Clonakilty and West Cork, I raise a glass (of fine wine of course) to you. Cheers.

Recommendations The best wine I have tasted recently is one of the house wines in Caffe Italiano in Bandon. A lovely scented Chianti, and a steal at €20. Monteguelfo Chianti, 2013.

Latest News Articles:

Michelin Stars for West Cork
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SuperValu and AsIAm host unique exhibition in Clonakilty
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New facility at Brookpark Business Centre a hit with local trainers

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17th October, 2018  ·  

SuperValu and AsIAm host unique exhibition in Clonakilty

SuperValu and AsIAm.ie 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, youthhub.asiam.ie

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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