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 West Cork > Features > Ballydehob


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 series.
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.



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