Cúirt Mhic Seafraidh
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Courtmacsherry (Irish: Cúirt Mhic Seafraidh, meaning "MacSherry's Court"), often referred to by locals as Courtmac, is a seaside village in County Cork, on the southwest coast of Ireland. It is about 30 miles southwest of Cork, and 15–20 minutes drive east from the town of Clonakilty. The village consists of a single long street on the southern shore of Courtmacsherry Bay, with thick woods on rising ground behind. The woods (planted by the Earl of Shannon in the late 18th century) continue beyond the village eastwards to the open sea, ending at Wood Point. Between the village and "The Point" the trees run right to the water's edge and there are several natural bathing coves along the way.
Around the time of the Norman invasion of Ireland the major townships in the area were those now known as Timoleague, Lislee, Barryroe and Dunworly. Among the Norman settlers were the De Barrys and the Hodnetts; the former built a castle at Timoleague, and the latter settled in Lislee. The Barrys flourished and gave their name to Barryroe, Rathbarry, etc., whereas the Hodnetts “degenerated into mere Irish”, one branch changing their name to MacSeafraidh (son of Geoffrey), subsequently anglicised to MacSherry or McSharry. Although Barrys and Hodnetts still live in the district, there are no MacSherrys.
The village's main industry consists of commercial and charter angling. A moderately sized tourist industry exists during the summer months. There are several beaches nearby, namely Dunworley Strand, Moloney Strand, Broadstrand and Blind Strand. The village has a hotel and a caravan park, catering mainly for visitors from Cork. There is also a small sailing school at the end of the village, known as the Courtmacsherry Water Sports Centre. Two construction projects, the largest in several decades, were recently[when?] added at each end of the village. About half of this new housing is owner-occupied, the remainder being rented to visitors.
There are several bars and pubs in and around the village. Activities include sailing at the Courtmacsherry Water Sports Center and horse-riding. Courtmacsherry is an angling center, and known for its many record catches. There is also a festival at the end of July - the beginning of August. It also hosts a horse race meeting on the strand each year.
On 15 January 2009 an 18-meter (59 ft) fin whale stranded and subsequently died on a beach in Kilbrittain, opposite Courtmacsherry, after becoming disorientated and lured by unusually high tides. Efforts were made by Courtmacsherry Lifeboat to get the whale back into the sea but a combination of its size, weight and location meant that attempts to save the whale's life were unsuccessful. Its remains were saved and preserved by the people of Kilbrittain and are displayed for public viewing in the village. The whale was featured in a Channel 4 documentary "Inside Nature's Giants" which showed autopsies of large mammals.
For over seventy years Courtmacsherry has harboured a lifeboat station (formerly based at nearby Barry's Point) and its volunteer crews have performed many rescues. The most famous was in May 1915 when the lifeboat of the day (the Ketzia Gwilt) rescued survivors of the RMS Lusitania sinking. Lifeboatmen involved on that day included Tim Keohane (father of Antarctic explorer Patsy Keohane), John Murphy, and his son Jerry. The current Courtmacsherry lifeboat is the Frederick Storey Coburn.
Transport and communications
- Nearest airport Cork Airport
- Courtmacsherry railway station on the Timoleague and Courtmacsherry Extension Light Railway opened on 23 April 1891, closed for passenger traffic on 24 February 1947 and for goods traffic on 10 March 1947, finally closing altogether on 1 April 1961. The line had three locomotives, Slaney, St. Molaga and Argadeen.
- Courtmacsherry railway station
- Timoleague and Courtmacsherry Railway
- List of towns and villages in Ireland
- List of RNLI stations
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