November 2011 and here I am. A journalist from a city (a small city but still a city) now living in a little village in southwest Ireland, on a peninsula of land that has some of the most fantastic scenery, wildlife and food this country has to offer. Well, I think so anyway and over the next year I hope to share with you the sights, sounds and tastes of my life on the Sheep’s Head.
I am not ashamed to say that I am looking for all the pleasures this seaside oasis has to offer. From the celebrated walks along the Sheep’s Head Way, to collecting and cooking some of the wonderful food that is produced in the area, to the fishing, kayaking, cycling, music and wildlife, I have a feeling it’s going to be a busy year.
I also plan to record and podcast some of the sounds from the Sheep’s Head. I hope to meet the very creative and productive people who have made their lives in this corner of West Cork and maybe, just maybe, learn some more about what it’s like to live in a rural community in Ireland in the 21stcentury.
We arrived, my wife and I, with all our worldly possessions to a little village called Kilcrohane on the Sheep’s Head. While my wife was born on the Peninsula, I have never lived outside Cork city so, for me, setting up home on a strip of land jutting out into the Atlantic ocean was and remains a bit daunting.
However, the people are very friendly and so far so good. The small community here is made up of a church, a grocery shop/post office, a primary school, a wonderful view of Dunmanus Bay and, of course, two pubs. Kilcrohane is small, very small, very picturesque and with the sun shining and the birds singing there is nowhere better. This is the last village on the Peninsula and as one local told me ‘at the end of this road, the next parish is in America’.
So, that’s my life for the next year, living what many (including myself) would describe as ‘the dream’ in West Cork. The weather is turning colder, the nights are very dark, but it’s all going to be ok. After all, there are two pubs.