Rosscarbery Estuary

THE STORY OF ANOTHER ESTUARY, this time in West Cork.   In 2015, the Heritage Council awarded funding towards a project entitled ‘A new timeline for Rosscarbery, featuring the 1755 tsunami’. The beneficiary was Rosscarbery and District History Society and the Project Manager was the  Co-workers were Gill Boazman, Archaeologist, and William Helps, Artist.

Rosscarbery Estuary                      Photo: Anthony Beese

Landscape archaeology was very much the theme of the research, as it was for Cork. The town and estuary were interpreted at three stages: (i) in the early medieval period, (ii) in 1755, following the Lisbon earthquake-tsunami, and (iii) at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the  estuary was modified as a result of the construction of the main causeway, between about 1809 and 1814.  The causeway was part of the Post Office road between Cork and Skibbereen, and the story of the men, who were behind it, was the subject of a guided walk, held during National Heritage Week in 2015.

TsunamiPosterOct7webDramatic licence! The poster, shown right is by William Helps. It was used to advertise a series of lectures at the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery. The audience of some 125 people were told of the catastrophic circumstances of the Lisbon Earthquake and the significant effect of the associated tsunami on the West Cork coast, and also how some of the associated folklore is clearly exaggerated.

A recent publication by the editor. Rosscarbery: landscape and people. Rosscarbery Past and Present, 19, 113-120.  This article is concerned with the changing, prehistoric and medieval landscape of  Rosscarbery and West Cork, and the  people that came to live there.