By Helen Riddell
AN exhibition set to open at the Bere Island Heritage Centre on Tuesday, August 7th will trace the history of the Cahills, a local family who once ran a bar and shop in the island’s village.
One member of the family, the late Bernie Cahill, would go on to be one of the founding members of Carbery Milk Products and chairman of both Irish Sugar and Aer Lingus, at various times.
The centre piece of the exhibition is a set of black and white photographic prints which have been donated to the Heritage Centre by Dublin-based artist Michael Killen. Michael, who has holidayed on Bere Island for a number of years, took the photos just before the original bar was demolished in 2016.
The photographs capture the original bar exactly as it was left when it closed in the late 1950s, with stools still pulled up to the bar counter, and original bottles displayed on the shelves. Michael Killen’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries throughout Ireland and in 2012 a solo exhibition of his work was held at the Irish Embassy in Berlin.
Barry Hanley, chairperson of the committee which runs the Heritage Centre explained that it was not long after the end of WWII when the bar closed and the Cahill family left the island, and was also around the time the Irish Army left the island following their take over of the former British base there in 1938.
‘The closure of Cahill’s really marked a major change on Bere Island. The war was over, and the army had left, it really was the end of an era for the island,’ Barry said.
The exhbition will launch at 7.30pm on Tuesday August 7th, with members of the Cahill family in attendance. For further details contact the Heritage Centre on 027 75956.