Skibbereen - Whats On In West Cork

In the late 19th Century Skibbereen was not was not the sleepy and rather lovely tourist backwater it is today but a busy commercial hub with steamship services and two railways the Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway and the narrow gauge Schull and Skibbereen Railway.

The subject of the famous song "Old Skibbereen" about the Great hunger and emigration Skibbereen itself was no mere spectator to these struggles having been one of the places most hit by the Great Hunger / Famine of 1847-1852 as the 10,000 bodies in the infamous famine pits at Abbeystrewry just outside the town mutely testify. The son of a man who starved to death in the famine Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa was one of the founders in Skibbereen of the Phoenix Literary Society which became the Fenian Brotherhood. Patrick Pearse’s incendiary oration at his graveside in 1915 when the body of the dead Fenian was brought back from New York where he died in exile

They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace” set the scene for the Easter Rising the following year.

Today with its heritage centre in the old town gasworks, the Ludgate Web Incubator Centre and local technology companies like Spearline, Skibb, as the locals call it, is showing rural Ireland how to find its place in the world. It has the Ilen Art Centre, good shops, hotels, cafes and restaurants not to mention four independent book shops and is a popular place both for people settling in or moving to West Cork.

Top Tip: The Producers Market in the car park by Abbeystrewry Church on Bridge Street is like the open air living room of West Cork. As well as the wonderful artisan produce of the region it has crafts, bric-a -brac and much more. But mainly it is a place to shop, have food and a drink and catch up with neighbours and friends.

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