The people and events that shaped events in a West Cork harbour town are remembered in a book published this week.
Bantry: My Home Town is the fifth in a series of books, published over almost 15 years, tracing historical, social, and economic ups and downs, and zooming in on the locals and blow-ins who came to call Bantry home.
A small production team has been behind all the books but the acknowledged driving force, Denis Cotter, says in a foreword to the latest book that it’s “a faithful testament to a town and its people and to its place in the world”.
The latest publication focuses on life and people in Bantry from the 1960s to 1990s, a period in which the town experienced huge economic growth and reeled in the aftermath of the Whiddy disaster.
Companies such as Rowa Pharmaceuticals, which was a godsend to the town, along with a two-man partnership which led to the creation of one of the region’s biggest construction companies, Murnane and O’Shea, are featured.
Finbarr O’Shea, assistant manager of the town’s credit union, has edited all five books with a team including chef Sally McKenna and Mr Vickery. Mr Vickery, the town’s fire station officer, has trawled through his and his late father Ian’s archives to ensure all the books had a great selection of images.
“And what a selection to choose from,” said editor Mr O’Shea, noting that some of the “fantastic photos had never seen the light of day”.
He notes: “But what does bear mentioning is the painstaking work that Ian put in to bring these marvellous photos to us all. Until 12 months ago, they were tired old negatives, lost among thousands of other negatives hibernating in dozens of dusty boxes and folders in Ian’s attic.
“But night after night and negative by negative, leaning over his light box, Ian retrieved these hidden gems from obscurity and transformed them into the beautiful images that adorn this book.”
All proceeds from the publication going to local charities.
This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, October 14, 2013 by Eddie Cassidy.