This past week has been very busy for the people and businesses of Skibbereen. The yearly food fare has been in full swing. The Taste of West Cork festival, which is a week during which Artisan foods produced in West Cork are highlighted. Today’s event was a street market, closing off the main street of the town, lots of food stalls, among which locals and tourists were alike were enjoying the ambience, the more so as the sun was shining over us all. Some of the stalls would be quite familiar to those attending the local market on Saturday mornings at the Fair Green, but there were other stalls too and one could get quite a good oversight of what is available food wise locally, and what West Cork in particular is known for. It was lovely to see so many children and adults enjoying themselves. We were listening to the music and enjoying the dancing provided by the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, an organisation which promotes Irish music and culture. We enjoyed some excellent songs and among others, a brush dance by a young lad which I found very entertaining.
This morning over our usual breakfast conversations, my partner and I were, once again, discussing rural development, it is a subject close to my heart. We do live rural, on the outskirts of a town with a population of about 2000. In recent years many people, especially young people have had to emigrate due to lack of work. Many businesses have closed, but the town is still surviving and with the recent addition of a larger Art Centre, there is a lot going on in this town. Cultural events, different courses being run, societies and organisations, theatre groups, concerts, festivals, local colleges, library activities, a splendid voluntary Tidy Towns group, sport clubs, a fantastic river, a community garden, and much more. Despite all this I can still see room for improvements in and around the town. I can see pedestrian areas, better parking so as to clear the cluttered streets and make the town more people friendly. I could go on. It is up to us all to do something about our towns and areas, and develop our communities.
Small towns in rural Ireland are very healthy places to live in and around, rather than see them go down. Many of us are now not even bothering to go to the larger cities to do our Christmas or other shopping as we like to support our local shops.
Looking towards the new Art Centre, and area that would be very suited to pedestrian walk way. A little tributary of the Illen river, it’s called the Caol Stream.
Irish dancing by the members of the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. And a Garlic food stall.
More music by members of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. And something for the children to enjoy too.
Artisan cheeses produced in several places in West Cork, and very tasty too.