THERE was disappointment in Courtmacsherry last week as the news broke that a visit from an American vice-president wouldn’t be on the cards.
‘We’re all disappointed here in Courtmac but we’re not devastated,’ John Kingston told The Southern Star. In the village, the community was ready to welcome back one of its regular visitors as a newly-elected ‘veep’ – Senator Tim Kaine.
Hillary Clinton’s running mate is a big fan of West Cork. ‘Tim and his family will, we hope, be coming over to Ireland in the summer and we look forward to seeing him then,’ John said.
In 2011, as he prepared to represent Virginia as a senator, Mr Kaine took time out from his campaign to visit friends and present prizes at the Courtmacsherry races.
He is also friendly with the family of Housing Minister Simon Coveney.
And there was a mixed reaction in West Cork to the news of Donald Trump’s election success. ‘I’m an American living in West Cork and ask that the Irish please don’t see all Americans in a bad light because of this, Ann Donnelly said, writing on The Southern Star’s Facebook page. ‘We went through that when Bush was President and it eased off during Obama’s term,’ she added.
Writer, model, New Yorker, and Durrus resident Alice Carey spoke of her NYC neighbours’ shock as she spoke with them on Wednesday morning. ‘But I’m not shocked at all at Trump’s victory. The nuns taught us that any American could grow up and be President. And that’s what ‘the Donald’, did. He tossed his bold hat and brash mouth into the ring and won,’ Alice said.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, another Durrus woman, Marian Joyce (nee Crowley) who is now living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, admitted she was very apprehensive for the future. ‘On the scale of 1 being mildly apprehensive, to 10 being scared to death, I’m probably a 9. An unlikely candidate just became an unlikely President-elect. A guy whose Twitter account had to be taken away from him this past week by his campaign team to prevent those 3am tweets, is now in charge of our country and making decisions that affect millions in the US, and have ripple effects worldwide,’ Marian said. However, Marian did receive some words of comfort from a work colleague. ‘My work supervisor, who is a Republican, just shared an insight that reassured me slightly. “Trump is a moderate Republican, he is not as far right as Mike Pence or many others,” he said. There’s also a generational divide. In some ways, Ireland is more advanced than the US – many older generation white males were not willing to have a woman as commander-in-chief. The patriarchy is alive and well – Trump’s comments about women did not bother them,’ Marian said.
Another American, award-winning photographer EJ Carr, who once lived and worked in Kilcrohane, said he was unable to look away as he watched the election results roll in last night.
‘Three went into a race, two of them men who wanted change … one with compassion and understanding, the other with fear and anger. A woman with a questionable track record, but had being a female on her side. We have defined ourselves and it’s not attractive. A man who stands for so much of what the educated American doesn’t. This was political theatre at its best. The musical and the film will be a blockbuster,’ he said.
In Schull, the result came as a real shock to the students of the town’s Community College who, after holding their own mock election, voted in favour of Hillary Clinton. ‘We held our own election as part of our Leadership module,’ teacher Clodagh O’Driscoll said. ‘Only students who registered got to vote, and when the votes were counted, the results revealed that Hillary Clinton was victorious, with 43% of the valid votes, while Donald Trump received 38%.’