“Now, what would yer be doin’ roiding a ting loike that?”, pointing to my bike “yer wouldn’t be ridin’ it some bejesus long distance, would yer?” When I tell him he retorts: “Feck, what would be doin’ that for, would yer kindly tell me?”. Just one of many similar encounters I’ve had in just two days. I can’t stop for a rest without being approached by someone….
My route took me through Bantry, the scene of attempted invasions from Catholic Europe to rescue these Catholic lands, then over a 7km climb out of Glengariff that provided stunning views of the valley and Bantry bay, and onto Kenmare, where I discovered this memorial in the cemetery, commemorating the deaths of 5000 of the locals during the dreadful famine in the 19th century.
My father’s ancestors had escaped the famine by emigrating to Cumbria from Co. Wicklow just a few years before, in 1840. Without mincing words, the British were responsible for genocide on a massive scale. But have we ever acknowledged it…..?