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Crimea

Category: 
Ruined hamlet

This cluster of little ruins clinging to the hillside was once home to eight families. The sturdy roofless houses remain along with outhouses, walls and trackways. The fields that supported them can clearly be seen.

There is a highly unlikely story as to why this little place got its name. Apparently two local families were continually falling out and their disagreements were likened to the Boer War, which had just taken place. This area was known as the Crimea because 'wasn't the Boer War fought in the Crimea?' Actually, no but it makes an entertaining story.

Townland: 
Cahergal: an cathair gheal, white fort
Location: 
Sheep's Head Way north, Cahergal to the lighthouse. There is a small car park, then follow the signs.
References: 
A Guide to the Sheep's Head Way
Fieldnotes: 

The views here are stunning as you look out across Bantry Bay to the Beara. These ruins are attractive and fit so well into their surroundings, but life must have been incredibly hard trying to scratch out a living in this remote but scenic location. The houses are tiny but hints of what life was like remain. A window frame, a sturdy lintel, a small recess for a cupboard but no sign of any fireplaces.

It is a wonderful walk from here onwards towards the old copper mines at Gortavallig, getting adventurous as you cling onto the rope as the path teeters above the cliff face.  In the Spring primroses and bluebells carpet the track replaced in the summer by foxgloves, orchids and bog cotton. Later heather and bracken dominates. Bees and butterflies abound and the the birdlife is rich - choughs, cormorants, gannets, larks, rock pippets. And all the time your eyes go outwards to the ocean.

 

January 2015 update: one of the little cabins has been restored - the walls rebuilt, the roof thatched, the windows glassed. The little house was renovated by local families in honour of Tade Carthy, one of the last people to live in the Crimea before leaving in the late 1940s. Tade is about to celebrate his 100th birthday and a video has been made to show him the improvements.Inside the original flagstones have been revealed, little oil lamps fill recesses and a bed platform can be accessed by a ladder. A hearth made from stones nestles against one of the walls, a hole in the thatch above to let out smoke. Two wooden doors (half doors) with beautiful chunky latches face each other west and east - apparently this also helped with a through draft, another way of dealing with smoke. The original well with cold clear water was discovered just outside the front door. This sympathetic restoration gives a glimpse of what life must have been like a hundred years ago and how much we should be thankful for.

Nearby site:

Gortavallig Copper Mines