Campsite founders lucky to escape as fire guts family home

December 4th, 2023 10:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

The exterior of the Sextons' house after the fire.

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THE pioneering couple who helped to put West Cork on the map as a caravan and camping holiday destination were lucky to escape with their lives after a fire gutted their home.

Con and Margaret Sexton are known to people all over the country, and overseas, having run their caravan and camping park near Timoleague since 1967.

A blaze broke out at the family home on Sunday November 19th, which fortunately the couple were lucky to escape.

Their daughter Elaine, who is now at the helm of the business, posted online that they were ‘overwhelmed’ by the support they had received from neighbours, friends and community since the fire. ‘At the end of the day, mom and dad are with us and that’s the only thing that matters,’ she added.

Elaine praised the emergency services who attended, including four fire crews, ambulance services along with rapid response doctor, Dr Jason Van der Velde and gardaí. She reserved a special thanks for Timoleague native Miriam Dineen, an SNA in Sacred Heart Secondary School. ‘Miriam will never know how important her text to me was last Sunday while she was passing from Clonakilty to alert us,’ Elaine posted.

Elaine also shared shocking video footage of the fire-ravaged house on the Clonakilty to Timoleague Road.

The popular caravan and camping site, believed to be the country’s first campsite to be registered with Bord Fáilte, wasn’t damaged by the fire. Over the years, the site has hosted well known guests including Sean Dunphy who represented Ireland in the Eurovision in 1967, medicinal cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey (mother of the late Ava), and the late Vicky Phelan.

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