A John Hinde postcard card from the Adrian Healy collection (photography by D. Noble). This postcard was never posted. On the reverse the John Hinde company have the following note about the Castlefreke-Owenahincha-Rosscarbery stretch of coastline in west Cork (which is 10 kms west of Clonakilty): ‘Situated on Rosscarbery Bay, Owenahincha is a charming, secluded seaside resort with an abundance of uncrowded and unspoilt beach. Nearby is Castlefreke ancestral home of Lord Carbery, who renounced the peerage in 1926. The small town of Rosscarbery occupies an elevated position and is an ideal spot for a quiet holiday. Records tell that in the sixth century St Fachnan founded in Rosscarbery a monastery, which became famous for its school.’
The postcard image above is, obviously, from the 1970s; the following is another scene on that beach from around 1900—an extract from Mary Carbery’s West Cork Journal, 1898-1901, edited by Jeremy Sandford (Lilliput Press, 1998), the mother of the guy who renounced the peerage (who may be the baby referred to ‘scrabbling his toes in the dry sand’):
Jack and Nanny and Baby and Amy, the nursery maid, and myself are having tea on the strand, with scalding hot tea in an iron kettle wrapped in many newspapers.
“Here’s a lady’s seat”, Jacky says, indicating a rock. “Sit down, my dear creature, and enjoy yourself.”
Baby takes off his floppy hat and sits with bare head, bald and seal-like, scrabbling his toes in the dry sand. The donkey, tied to the gate, is asleep, swaying gently in the shafts.
Battery people on their way back from a funeral at Ross pass by in their carts. The men have drink taken. They snatch off their hats with a flourish and pass on.
Jacky and I see how unusual the sea is, how alive and splendid it is in its green and silver brightness.
“Was it on a day like this, do you know, that the Spanish Armada ship went down on the Dulig?” Jacky points to the black rock where the waves are tossing spray.
“No one knows. It might have been in a bright blue and white gale, or in an angry black and purple storm, or in an inky mist at night. Anyhow, the ship hurled herself on the sword of Dulig and perished.”
“What a waste!” Jacky said. “Poor drowned men! How nothing they are!”