WEEKENDER HARKING BACK TO SHERKIN
National Geographic Traveller India|September - October 2021
Even during Covid times, Sherkin Island—a tiny community off the coast of West Cork, Ireland—remains a magnet for unconventional, artistic types  
Aileen Blaney

I heard there was a bit of a shindig last night—did you go?” a worker at a B&B and glamping site, Sherkin North Shore, asks his colleague coming out of the polytunnel used for growing vegetables. I had just dropped my bags in the bell tent, my airy escape from the built up Irish suburbia for three days, and was making my way to the dining room where a welcome drink—a pot of tea, and homemade banana and walnut muffins were waiting. Sherkin Island wasn’t wasting any time telling me that, pandemic or no pandemic, its legendary nightlife was still alive.

Much before taking the 10-minute ferry from Baltimore, a picturesque fishing village in West Cork, to this nearly five-kilometre-long island, I was aware that pub lockins, traditional Irish music sessions, and generally just having the craic, is a proud Sherkin tradition that goes back a long way. In the 1500s, after bad weather forced a fleet of ships carrying cargoes of wine from Lisbon to dock in the neighbouring harbours of Baltimore and Cape Clear, Sherkin’s ancestral clan, the buccaneering O’Driscols, invited the seafarers to dinner in their castle (Dún na Long), promptly clapped them in irons, and magnanimously distributed almost 20,000 gallons of someone else’s wine among their neighbours.

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