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Settling In

KELLY FERJUTZ prepares for
a week of reports from the
West Cork Chamber Music Festival


Day one -- Friday 29 June 2007

Getting here was not half the fun, it was hardly any fun at all. No one's fault in particular, other than the weather gods, and perhaps a recalcitrant air traffic controller. Who knows these things? A day or storms along the east coast of the US ties the airlines into knots of frustration. Not fun for anyone.

However, persistence does pay, and eventually, I ended up in Bantry, County Cork, Ireland. The West Cork Chamber Music Festival kindly sent a charming young Irishman named Dylan to pick me up at the Cork airport, and bring me south and east through a giant maze of narrow, narrow roads, beautiful scenery, hills, dales, trees and green, green countryside. Everyone says its been one of the wettest Junes in living memory.

Bantry itself is a surprise. It's old and it's quite small. We had to wind carefully through the crowded town square (which isn't really quite square at all) because Friday is 'Market Day' when local vendors set up shop out in the open air. There's been some kerfluffle about it lately, as the town politicos apparently thought it time to end the centurys-old tradition, but hardly anyone agreed with them. Hence, Market Day on Friday in Bantry. The first Friday (next week) features a bigger once-a-month specialty, including more people!

The west-front of Bantry House. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz
The west-front of Bantry House. Photo © 2007 Kelly Ferjutz

Up until a few years ago -- maybe fifteen or so -- Bantry's main claim to fame was the eponymously named Bantry House, a stately house belonging to the White family, as it has for nearly four hundred years. However, both the town and the family thought an infusion of capital would be helpful, and cast about for ways to make that happen.

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Copyright © 2 July 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland


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