I have met people who thought that
Ballydehob was not the name of a real place; they believed it was a
name given by some comedian to the mythical location of his amusing
adventures, somewhat like Craggy Island of the Fr. Ted television
I can assure you that Ballydehob is real. It is a very nice village,
built on a hillside at the end of one of the inlets of Roaring Water
Bay in a really picturesque setting. In recent years it has gained a
reputation as a crafts centre, attracting other craftsmen and
craftswomen to settle there, further enhancing its reputation.
As you enter Ballydehob, you see to your left a spectacular 12-arch
stone viaduct. This is a relic of the West Carbery Tramway and Light
Railway. It is part of a narrow-gauge railway line that ran from
Skibbereen to Schull, a distance of about fifteen miles (24kms). The
line was opened in September 1886, but it never really made a profit
and it was finally closed in December 1945. What an attraction it
would be to-day for tourists, if it had survived.
In the 1930's an emigrant son of Ballydehob won a world title. He was
Danno Mahony, who was crowned World Wrestling Champion. His hall-mark
throw became know as "The Irish Whip".
The Roman Catholic Church stands on a site overlooking the village and
has an unusual altar-table. It is a massive block of local rock, hewn
from the nearby cliffs. The adornment of the sanctuary suggests the
miraculous draft of fish in the Gospel story. It is all so simple and
so stunningly different from conventional altars and is most
appropriate for a sea-side village church.