BY MARTIN WALSH
A GIANT sea bass has landed in Courtmacsherry over a decade after the West Cork village, home to the famed Courtmacsherry Lifeboat, the Sir Frederick Storey Cockburn, fought with the inhabitants of nearby Kilbrittain village over the resting place of a 66-foot fin whale.
In January of 2009, the giant whale beached itself in Courtmacsherry Bay, however, confusion arose when Kilbrittain folk pointed out that the location was in fact Kilbrittain Creek.
Akin to a possible sequel to the War of the Buttons, there were claims of sabotage with excavators and chain saws at the ready under the cover of darkness. Eventually, and after government intervention, the whale that was stored inland, eventually found solace in Kilbrittain, ironically, a village more famed for its hurling prowess rather than its fishing heritage.
In the intervening decade, any remnants of fractious relationships have been healed and last weekend Courtmacsherry displayed its latest inhabitant that was undercover for almost its entire lifetime. With the lockdown restrictions eased, day trippers posed with the new recruit as local restaurateurs Martin Buckley and Dave O’Halloran, proprietors of the Lifeboat Inn Gastro Pub, explained the situation.
Martin said, ‘Well, the lifetime of the tree was nearing an end. We were informed it was diseased and there was about two years left in it. We wanted something that would reflect the area as you can actually catch sea bass literally down at the end of the garden. It (the carving) has coincided with our third year in business here in Courtmacsherry and we are very happy with the end product.’
Limerick- based wood carver Will Fogarty of chainsaw sculptures, Fear Na Coillte, outlined the project. ‘It’s taken about five days really. The hardest part was all the metal I found inside including nails, there were mussel shells and I even found a rock as well, a good selection of stuff that doesn’t really go well with a chain saw, but we got there.
‘The concept came after discussions that I had with Martin and Dave and I suppose being a restaurant on the sea front it was a natural really.’
Dave concluded, ‘This was more of a safety issue, the ash tree was diseased and had to be cut down and rather than cut it to the ground, this is what we have ended up with.’
Next week the Lifeboat Inn will reopen its doors. He added, ‘It’s been a long couple of months and things are so seasonal here and, with the good weather, our garden should have been full all this last while. We have lost most of the season but, look, we have two months, we are also lucky here as people are very supportive and I am sure we will be busy.’
While Kilbrittain has the whale; Courtmacsherry now has West Cork’s largest sea bass that has its roots very much in the village.