‘You can’t eat scenery’ is an old saying about the difficulty of making a living in beautiful but remote places. West Cork, from Kinsale to the Beara Peninsula and from the Atlantic to the Lee Valley is such a place.
No longer an impoverished, rural backwater, this is a popular holiday destination where second homes become main residences. It is remarkable for the many ways people make West Cork work for them: traditional farmers negotiating EU quotas; newcomers setting up restaurants; artists, writers and dot.com millionaires starting ventures to allow them to live where they want.
Others work to enhance this unique landscape: from environmental activists on Cool Mountain to the hard-working Shelswell-Whites of Bantry House, wealthy castle restorers like Jeremy Irons and innovative farmers on Beara.
In this first full-length book about all aspects of West Cork, the locals and blow-ins, Alannah Hopkin discovers the soul of West Cork among a vibrant community of diverse people with compelling stories to tell.
This is a story of historian and boat-builders, schoolteachers, island people and fishermen. This book is a voyage of discovery. Meticulously researched and beautifully written, it is a delightful read. Ailín Quinlan, Irish Examiner
…a lovely introduction to that most balmy part of Ireland and the people who populate it. Mary Kenny, Independent
…don’t visit (west Cork) without Alannah’s exhaustively researched and highly entertaining book, which also doubles as a snapshot of rural living, a look at local lore, observing the blow-ins (seeds on the wind that my take root). Tom Widger, Sunday Tribune