A MORNING WITHOUT A CAMERA

This morning early I slipped quietly out of the house and drove down the town to the farmers market.  I had arranged to pick up some herbal tea and I thought it better to go early.  I parked a little out of the way and walked the rest over to the market place.  It was a fresh morning, a little autumn chill in the air.  Dark clouds were overhead and the wind was picking up, but other than that it was lovely and sunny.  A local woman walked the same way as I did and we started a conversation – about the weather, then about our blessings here in the little town in West Cork, and then about the market.  It was nice to have human contact out of the blue like that, I always love those unexpected conversations with strangers.

I had not brought my camera and my phone was dead, I nevertheless saw several interesting scenes which I took note of with my eyes and stored away.  There was the old pump surrounded by lovingly placed flowering plants.  There were the old houses and the little bridge that covers the caol stream which runs through the town.

After my walk around the market where the people were only setting up their stalls and struggling with the wind, I decided to have my morning coffee in the old O’Neill shop which opened during the summer as a little coffeeshop.  The coffee was delicious, reading the paper I sat peacefully in what used to be the backroom.  Some of the walls have been left distressed by different layers of earlier occupants’ paint jobs.  I really liked that idea.  The original counter stands.  A local man was sitting at the side reading his newspaper.  My thoughts turned to our departure which is coming close now and how I will be leaving West Cork behind me to embrace new adventures in the lovely island of Gozo for another winter.  Somehow I feel that going away for the winter and exploring a new place makes me fonder of the town which I adopted 30years ago, and that has got to be a good thing!   I see it’s beauty more and can appreciate it more.  We are so blessed in this part of Ireland, while it may be a little damp, after the summer that was in it for some countries I think many people might be very happy with ‘a little damp’.

While it seems that the earth and humankind is in chaos at the moment, it is good to be thankful for what we have and to feel and show empathy for those people that are having a hard time.  I’m not only thinking of the people in the US and Mexico, but also of all the millions that are displaced by the flooding in Asia.  I hope and pray that sanity may prevail on earth and that those that should be our leaders calm down and that peace may be reached in all areas.

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A WALK AT DUSK AROUND THE TOWN

First walk around the town for a long time, the ring road is quite a lovely walk with lots of shrubs and the river Ilen, making it interesting. Normally it would only take about 15minutes but I took over half an hour, was taking some photos also. It was lovely and mild this evening and the walk was very pleasant. The town of Skibbereen (in Irish called An Sciobairín), is not very large, originally a market town, it’s got quite a bit of history.

I find it fascinating that the by-gone days of this little town can be traced back to medieval times when survivors of the black dead, mainly members of the McCarthy’s clan, to whom most of the land belonged in those days, settled near a hamlet, at the site of the present town, this in the 14th century.
In the 17th century many refugees from the little seaside village of Baltimore (about 12km towards the sea coast) fled to Skibbereen town after Baltimore was sacked by the Algerians.
During 1845-49 Ireland was plagued with a terrible famine. In Skibbereen’s local cemetery there is a mass grave where around 10,000 victims lay buried. This decimated the town and area once again.

The present town is doing fine, though very much affected by the austerity and emigration since 2008. Many young people leaving to find work, and quite a few businesses having to close down. The Farmer’s market is thriving, and there is still a nice, relaxed buzz about the town. A brand new state of the art Art Gallery is about to be opened to the delight of us all. But I could go on and on…. I did enjoy my walk, that is for sure. Here a few pics taken with my mobile phone.

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