BY JACKIE KEOGH
CAHERAGH has the distinction of being the second largest parish in the country, but what is most remarkable about the community behind the 400-strong households is that it has raised €1.4m for cancer research.
Hundreds of people travel from all over Cork and Kerry to attend Caheragh’s Annual Threshing and Vintage Day because it is a modern take on an authentic and traditional way of life, and people dress the part, too.
For one afternoon every year – this year it is the afternoon of Sunday, October 13th – the road through the village will be closed for the 1.30pm parade to the Traveller’s Rest and for the gathering, which features threshing, binding and bailing.
Traditionally, a threshing team would travel out to different farms, but now everyone who wants to reconnect with that part of their past comes to Caheragh to experience it, as well as to enjoy traditional home-cooked hospitality, and dancing at the end of the day with musical entertainment by Patrick O’Sullivan.
There is no entry charge, but people do make donations. And everyone involved in the stalls donate everything they raise on the day to Breakthrough Cancer Research.
People are generous because there’s isn’t a family that hasn’t been affected by cancer, but people do it too to honour the late Gerry O’Sullivan, who founded the Cork Cancer Research Centre in 1999.
Local business people are also happy to make charitable contributions and the organisation secretary, Kathleen Kirby, said they are delighted to have achieved charitable status this year.
The day is also popular for the prizes offered as part of its monster raffle; for the plates of roasted pig; and the tea stalls; as well as the children’s fancy dress, face-painting and other amusements that makes it a memorable day for them.
Every cent that comes in on the day goes to charitable causes – most of it goes to Breakthrough Cancer Research, but countless other charities in West Cork have also benefited from donations over the last 21 years.