This statue has to be my favourite throughout all of West Cork. It is called ‘Spirit of Love’ and was installed in 2006. It is situated at the foot of the graveyard, the Abbey, overlooking the scenic inner harbour, as you come into Bantry town on the N71, Cork side.
Spirit of Love depicts two large bronze figures encircling a bronze mast and stands 5m high. It was commissioned by the Cork County Council to remember all those who have lost their lives at sea. It signifies both letting go and remembering. It was funded by the Per Cent for Art Scheme (a practical scheme established in 2004 to fund visual arts in Ireland).
Commissioned artist, Paddy Campbell , was first a successful business man in Ireland, Britain and America where he ran a thriving catering-to-coffee business. However, in 1996, he returned to his artistic roots via Florence Academy of Art and took various courses in drawing, painting and sculpture.
In 2005, Paddy Campbell established a studio in Florence and earned recognition as a sculptor of note. He had many public commissions including the official portrait of the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese in 2007.
Paddy’s works which aim to capture a moment in contemporary life ‘something you knew, but didn’t know you knew…..’ have been acquired by international collectors in Ireland, Portugal, France, Turkey, UK, USA, Canada and Australia. A solo exhibition called “Un Altro Mondo” (Another World) at the Palazzo Comunale in Fiesole, Italy, 2009, attracted over 3500 visitors.
To admire more of Paddy’s work – visit his website here.
On a clear day, a walk to the Beacon of Baltimore is a great leg-stretcher which will reward you with exquisite views over Baltimore Harbour and out to Sherkin Island and beyond.
You can park just out of the village near the brown sign for the Beacon and then walk up to the top car park (which has limited parking).
From there, there is a steep scramble to reach the top and so the walk is not buggy friendly and parents should be cautious of allowing their children to race ahead as there are unguarded cliffs.
The Beacon of Baltimore is one of the most iconic maritime landmarks in the area and was built as a series of warning systems all along the coast after the 1798 rebellion.
Baltimore’s history has been shaped by the sea and was once ransacked by Pirates in an attack known as the Sack of Baltimore. White and circular in shape and standing about 15m high,the beacon is known locally as ‘Lot’s Wife’.
The Clerke Sisters, Ellen and Agnes, are two very fascinating women who were streaks ahead of their time. Born in Skibbereen in 1840 and 1842 respectively, they became very respected astronomers and writers during their lifespan. In an era where women traditionally received little education, these two sisters, who were entirely home-schooled, went on to write several acclaimed articles and essays, an accomplishment that any parent would be proud of.
Agnes was interested in astronomy from an early age and had begun to write essays on the topic before she turned 15. In 1861, her family moved to Dublin and then onwards to Italy where Agnes remained until 1877 when she moved to London. By 1885, she had achieved worldwide recognition for her writings, especially a piece called ‘Popular History of Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century.’ By 1892, she was awarded the ‘Actonian Prize’ by the Royal Institution and in 1903 was elected as an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Ellen, also wrote about astronomy and was considered a gifted and accomplished writer. For many years she was an editorial writers for the London ‘Tablet’. From her seven year stay in Italy, she had gathered remarkable insight and understanding of the religious and political problems of continental Europe at the time. She contributed regularly to periodicals in Florence and was fluent in Italian. Her writings on ‘Jupiter and His System’ and ‘The Planet Venus’ were valuable additions to the literature of popular astronomy. In 1899, Ellen published ‘Fable and Song in Italy’ which was a well-received collection of essays and studies translated in original metre into English. The novel ‘Flowers of Fire’ published in 1902 was her last work of fiction.
What an outstanding achievement and credit to Skibbereen by two young girls born on the brink of the onset of the potato famine of 1845 to lead their lives in such a shining way that the lunar crater, Clerke, is named after them.