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Ahakista (Irish: Atha Ciste) is located approximately halfway along the Sheep's Head peninsula between Durrus and Kilcrohane in County Cork, Ireland. It is a wooded coastal village with a deep and sheltered harbour.
Air India disaster
The Air India Memorial Garden is located here and each June the local community remembers the terrorist attack of 1985 that resulted in the deaths of over 300 people. Just after 08:00 on Sunday 23 June 1985 an Air India Jumbo jet flying from Canada to India and carrying 329 people - most of them Canadian citizens of Indian origin - was approaching the southwest coast of Ireland when it was blown apart by a bomb, killing everybody on board - men, women and children. In the days that followed, a huge search was carried out by ships, planes and helicopters. Only about half the bodies were ever recovered and they were brought to the Regional Hospital in Cork. Shortly afterwards, many relatives of the dead flew from India and Canada and travelled by bus along the coast in order to be near to the place where their loved ones died. At Ahakista, they stopped and threw wreaths into the sea. They expressed a wish that some type of memorial be erected to commemorate the disaster and in the months that followed, Cork County Council purchased this site and built a memorial. It was officially opened on 23 June 1986 at a ceremony attended by the Foreign Ministers of Ireland, India and Canada. A commemoration is held each year on 23 June at 08:00. The sundial, designed by Cork sculptor, Ken Thompson, is the focal point of the garden and the sun hits the dial at the exact minute of the explosion.
Ahakista has a church and 2 pubs - both with beer gardens and fine sea views one known as the 'tin pub', a wine shop, 2 Bed and Breakfasts, several self-catering accommodations (two of which are known as "Ahakista Escape") and a garden centre. There is a small sandy beach, and the 90 kilometres (56 miles) of marked trail comprising the Sheep's Head Way criss-crosses through the village.
Ahakista has a primary school and there is daily transportation to secondary schools in Bantry. The local primary school is called Rusnachara National School, and has 24 pupils.
In August 2008 the Sheep's Head Walkway became one of the first 4 publicly funded walkways in Ireland following agreement between the Dept of Rural Affairs and the IFA.
Transport & communications
There is a bus service to Bantry three days per week, and the nearest major airport is Cork Airport.
The sheltered deep water harbour is home to both fishing boats and pleasure craft and the annual Ahakista Regatta is held every August bank holiday weekend.
Authors, artists, and celebrities
- Writer, playwright and screenwriter Wolf Mankowitz lived for many years in Ahakista, till his death in 1998.
- British author Noel Streatfeild spent many summers in Ahakista. Her children's book "The Growing Summer" (also published as "The Magic Summer") was filmed on the peninsula (Ahakista, Kilcrohane) and in Bantry. Many of the scenes were shot in the actual places she had envisaged when writing the book. London Weekend Television produced the six-episode serial in 1969, starring Wendy Hiller as Aunt Dymphna. The film won a silver medal at the 1969 Venice Film Festival.
- Irish comedian and talk show host Graham Norton owns a holiday home with a private beach in Ahakista which overlooks the harbour and Dunmanus Bay. Ahakista is near to where Norton grew up, in Bandon, County Cork.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ahakista.|
- "Gorteanish (Stone Circle) | Ireland". The Modern Antiquarian.com. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Irish, Canadian leaders pay homage to victims of the Kanishka crash". Hindu. 24 June 2005.
- The Writers Directory. London 1973.