Village hopes to turn back clock to aid summer festival

A glimpse into the “light of other days” in a famed West Cork lifeboat village will kickstart summer festivities in Courtmacsherry.

Former crew members and descendants of people linked with the local RNLI station will converge on the village over the May bank holiday weekend.

A comprehensive history of the lifeboat station, and the village, will also be featured.

Michele O’Dwyer, who heads the lifeboat’s fundraising committee, and is one of the organisers, said: “The focus is not solely on the lifeboat, but the station is synonymous with Courtmacsherry for over 100 years.

“Like many villages, Courtmacsherry has lost most of its amenities but, for any visitor the first thing that hits them is the lifeboat which stands out in the harbour.”

Since a committee was set up to organise the May 3-6 event, as part of the Gathering 2013 activities, Michele said a number of people living abroad have already been contacted and indicated an interest in returning to the home of their ancestors.

Barry Flynn, chairman of the committee, is a former lifeboat crew member and the current station coordinator. He said a comprehensive history of the village is also being compiled, with the assistance of volunteer historical researchers.

About 90 houses in the heart of the village have been researched. “We have done a lot of research on the houses, including residences that were demolished in the 1950s near the community hall,” Barry said. “Outside each house will be a card displaying the history of that house and who lived there in the past. We will also be displaying their connection to the lifeboat.

“Already, we’ve discovered about 265 people from the village have been involved with the lifeboat since 1900 and we intend putting all those names on a memorial banner which will be displayed during the weekend.”

The research team, with the aid of local residents and summer visitors, are also trying to make contact with people who have connections with the village to invite them to return for the event.

“We have already made a lot of contact with people in Britain and are working on making more contacts,” he added.

Organisers are looking for information regarding previous residents and those who have long summertime associations with the village.

The committee is hoping to exhibit old photographs that locals or regular visitors may provide and have also asked householders to consider “planting a Wellie” or a pair outside their doors, which are associated with the lifeboat.

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