Last updated: July 22, 2014
Haul on the Bowline The Mermaid Tomorrow
Every so often a special weekend happens and Hooks and Crookes certainly had a very special weekend down in Cape Clear in west Cork in the middle of July and we are eternally grateful to Mary O'Driscoll for inviting us. Mary organises an annual event on Cape Clear to raise money for the Baltimore lifeboat and she very generously invited Hookes and Crookes to this years event.
We left Waterford on Saturday the 19th July at 10 o'clock and arrived safely in Baltimore just before the ferry departed, having stopped on the way for tea and scones (yum, yum). Mary was waiting for us but we declined her offer of a lift to the holiday home that Mary let us use for the weekend, preferring the short walk instead. After settling into our accomodation (beside Cotter's Bar), we departed with Ferdia on a bus tour of the Island, which Mary had again organised for us and Ferdia was a very informative guide highlighting all the various features of the Island and aspects of Island life. Ferdia himself came to visit the Island in 1990 and he never went home, such is the attraction of the place.
After a pint (maybe two) we warmed up and headed up the road to O'Driscoll's Bar for the BBQ, all proceeds of which were in aid of the RNLI. After the grub, so well prepared for us by Steve and Mary (from Lundy Island), we went outside to sing our shanties since it was such a beautiful night and we stayed outside all night and traded songs and tunes with fellow musicians (Danny, Kevin, Darragh, Fiachra and Roisín and Mary O'Driscoll herself, and there were more contributions from the audience). It was a special night, out under the stars, singing and dancing too, so it was hard to go to the cot let alone sleep when we got there.
Sunday morning was absolutely glorious, one of those summer days that we look forward too all year and we managed to get to Church to thank the good Lord for what he had delivered to us down in Cape Clear. We had a fantastic breakfast, courtesy of Mary again and as we departed we sang a rousing shanty for Clem, a very fit 93-year old from Cork whose late wife A. Donnelly hailed from Waterford (Daisy Terrace?). Clem is a regular visitor to Cape Clear and looks all the better for it. The afternoon on Sunday was the main event, out in the open space in front of Cotters Bar and several hours of music of all varieties (folk, pop, ballads, bluegrass, and shanties of course) was delivered to the audience, young and old who had gathered for the event. The lifeboat and rib came across from Baltimore and Henno sang a song in dedication to them. A raffle riased more money for the cause and to more or less finish off, Olly kindly agreed to act as auctioneer for some very special items which raised even more money. Mary very kindly presented us with a bronze fine art sculpture from the studios of Jeanne Rynhart for coming all the way down from Waterford to support the event.
We went for a long walk then up to the old lighthouse and castle and that was a bit of craic. Dinner then followed (yum, yum...it was lovely) and a few pints and of course the customary few songs and that was another good session with shanties and ballads and box-playing. Even Clem sang a song and he was word perfect! Father Hickey was very interested in Joe's Lusitania and no doubt that will be emailed to him soon. Fr Hickey had earlier said Mass as gaeilge in the local Church and he is a noted local and national historian.
We were up early the following morning to catch the 9 o'clock ferry and had a most enjoyable breakfast in Baltimore. We then went to visit the nearby Baltimore Castle on the invitation of Bernie McCarthy, whom Joe had met on Saturday night. She has written books on the Castle and the Sacking of Baltimore and Joe learned a few things from her. Fair play to herself and her husband for all the work they put into this magnificent building. It really is a fine castle in such a prominent location. Away with us then to Waterford but of course we had to stop for tea and a scone on the way home.
In all the years Hooks and Crookes have been on the road, there is no doubt that we have had some special trips but this trip to Cape Clear has to rate among the best of them. It was really special in so many ways and it will live long in the memory. We were humbled too by a family we met on one of our walks and we were told by the father that his young song asked him would he go up and ask the people playing the instruments would they stop playing so that we could sing a few more songs!!
We have to thank Mary O'Driscoll for asking us to two offshore islands at either ends of the country in the one year: Rathlin Island in Antrim (another special occasion) and Cape Clear. So Mary, thank you ever so much. The five of us that went to Cape (Olly, Pat, Joe, Colm and Declan) will be forever in your debt. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and it was all very relaxed and easy and not a cross word was spoken over the entire stress-free weekend. It was smiles all around from the time we left till the time we went our separate ways. Long may that special relationship continue!! Aye indeed.
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