Monday, 21 May 2012

Downtown at Shakers. Place to be

Shakers Re-Stirred
All human life is there, they used to say in a used to be newspaper. The phrase crossed my mind again last night when I joined the capacity audience to see Shakers Re-stirred at the Cork Arts Theatre

The whores and the cute whores, the snobs and the big nobs, the chancers and romancers, Beamer drivers and checkout operators, were all here on stage as this play from the early 90s, by John Godber and Jane Thornton, itself an update of the earlier Shakers (1987), took on a local identity and accent in a fast-moving version by the CAT Repertory Company.

Carol, Nicky, Mel and Adele are the four girls that crew the cocktail bar called Shakers and that is their core role. But that is not all they do. In a flash – there are no costume changes - they became a group of pals from the local supermarket planning a night out, or a bunch of loudmouthed Big Car type males, all customers at the bar.

There are many laughs along the way as the girls and the customers meet and often clash. Clashes often at the end of the tiring night when late customers trying to get in are stopped in their tracks by a foul mouthed blast from Mel.

Laughs continue as the supermarket girls prepare for the night out, particularly when they to go to buy their outfits. The fitting room scene is hilarious, particularly when Carol tries to fit her ample self into a jeans some two sizes too small. There is a certain grotesque choreography at work here (and in other scenes), bodies and faces pulled to sometimes unnatural positions, that had the audiences in stitches.

A quick switch back to the bar then and the cocktail waitresses engage again with the customers, particular the difficult ones. They each have their own way of coping but it is the chef that really gets his revenge with his notorious Seafood Pasta. He gets his laughs but it is the girls that have to tidy up the mess.

It is not all laughs - life is not like that, one observes. Their concerns come into sharp relief in the monologues: a baby after a broken love affair has Adele on edge while Mel carries the memory of an abortion when she was just sixteen.

Remarkably, there are very few props here, not even a bottle or a glass. Everything, including the other customers, is imagined and the servings are mimicked by our versatile ensemble who regularly share “under one’s breath” comments about the clients with the audience. 

While it has its hard edge, this is a work of comedy, quite hilarious stuff as the girls go through their paces. Well worth a visit and the prices here are so reasonable.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening and say well done to the cast of Carol (Marie O’Donovan), Nicky (Rachel O’Connell), Mel (Jan O’Sullivan) and Adele (Claire Loy) and to the crew of James Horgan (Director), Catherine Crowley (Production Co-ordinator), James Cummins (Lighting) and Karol Kachmarsky (Lighting).

The show runs until Saturday June 2nd. Ring 0p21 4505624 for your tickets or check the website at

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Walk from Timoleague to Courtmacsherry

b1 by CorkBilly
b1, a photo by CorkBilly on Flickr.
An old railway line from Timoleague to Courtmacsherry has been paved over to create a flat easy 5k walk between the two West Cork villages. For more pics of recent visit, please click on top image.

The estuary is on your left as you move out from Timoleague. But don't forget to look to your right as well. There are ruins of another abbey along the way and you will also see some attractive farmhouses.

And rural scenes like the one below. The calf was still pretty shaky on the legs but managed to get his feed.

You might work up an appetite while walking and, if you do the full walk, 10km return, you'll deserve a good meal and one is available at Dillon's  in Timoleague.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Newcomers at Fota Wildlife Park

Black Howlers (l to r): Mo, Jamie and Pedro


Madagascar Pochard 
 Fota Wildlife Park
Popped down to Fota Wildlife Park   the other day and took a few (?) photos, as usual. Also had my own photo taken. On the way in. They loaded it into the system and, in future I won't have to sign in, just smile.

Met some newcomers, including the Red Panda named Bonnie. She has been brought in to hopefully match up with the widower Pete.

They have the example of the Black Howler pair, Mo and Pedro, who have a new baby Jamie to take care of. By the way, the male is the white one.

Did you see the colourful duck with the relatively big head? The Madagascar Pochard is, as far as I am aware, a fairly recent arrival. In any event, it is extremely rare.



Thursday, 10 May 2012

Get into gear this June Bank Holiday weekend!

Sailing, off Baltimore



Get your summer into top gear this June Bank Holiday Weekend as festival season gets into full swing. With a host of Ireland’s top annual festivals to choose from and with some quirky new events added to the mix, now is the ideal time to discover what Ireland really has to offer.

Whether you love good food, top international comedy or simply getting outdoors, there is a host of activities and events to choose from to make this weekend a memorable one. So get set for one of the biggest weekends of the year with Here are some suggestions to get your plans underway.

Locally, you have the Rosscarbery Festival by the Sea taking place in West Cork June 1st-4th and the Cork Ocean to City Race. Read all about these and so much more countrywide here.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Go see a liner in Cobh

Coming in to the harbour
Turning for Cobh
Reaching the town
Blocking the river!
Turned and ready to berth
Coaches ready
Welcome committee!
At the berth.

Go see a liner in Cobh

Spent a pleasant few hours in Cobh last Sunday, waiting and then watching as the magnificent cruise liner, the Independence of the Seas, came in to port. Her superstructure was visible above Spike Island as she made her first appearance and soon her impressive full-length was visible as she passed the Whitegate area.

Then she straightened up and headed for Cobh and the deep water berth, giving a great view to the thousands who had gathered on the quays and streets and the higher roads. The skill of the captain and his crew was now very much in evidence as she slowly took a position at right angles to the shore, almost covering the full width of the water.

This enabled her make a full turn (ready to go the following day) and when she was sideways on she inched (if that’s the right word for such a giantess) her way towards the berth and a few minutes later she was right there, the ropes all tied up and the walkways being lined up.

Cobh has quite a few attractions including the Heritage Centre, Spike Island, Harbours cruises and the cathedral. And on some liner visits, you will have music and entertainment and also some food stalls. It was lunchtime when we arrived so we helped ourselves to a gorgeous piece of meat from the pig on the spit. The tender juicy meat, a selection of sauces and the bap, cost a fiver.

The liners are quite a sight – they do vary in size of course - and it is well worthwhile making a visit to Cobh when one is due there. The full schedule for this summer is here

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Lovely Kinsale Walk

Fort on your right as you begin.

At the water's edge.
One of a few history notes along the way

Leaving the fort behind

Path rises in a few places

Furze and sky

The harbour

Used to call these soldiers!

A Lovely Kinsale Walk

There is a lovely seaside walk, by the harbour of Kinsale, that begins by Charles Fort  Face the entrance gate to the fort and the path begins over to your left. Just walk the path downhill, until you reach the water and then keep going, leaving the fort behind.

The path is a very popular one and is mainly a hard surface, mainly clean. But, after the rains, I encountered some biggish pools yesterday. No problem though, as stepping stones have been laid.

You get terrific views ahead, mainly to your right and of course straight across the harbour, towards Castle Park. Sometimes, the path veers in from the water and rises, reasonably steeply, and then there are the yellow flowers of the furze and the blue of the sky. Quite a lot of wild flowers here and more, particularly the foxglove, gearing up to bloom in June.

Little history lessons also on plaques along the way. The fort, the Armada and even Robinson Crusoe are featured in these one or two sentence info boards.

Not too many signs about the path itself and I’m not really sure how far one can go. We walked about 35 minutes out on Monday, passing the busy boatyard and a little group of water side houses before deciding to return back. On the way back you will get terrific views of the fort.

Did a bit of searching on the net but found that most of the info about walks coming from local Kinsale sites keep referring you to local commercial walking guides. Which is all very well. But I think basic info about local walks, and Kinsale is hardly the only town that the guides are tying up, should be made available to visitors who may not want a guide or who may not be able to afford one.

I did find this Google earth reference and here you may see the fort, the boatyard and the group of houses I referred to.