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 West Cork > Features > Schull


In the early nineteenth century a historian described Schull as "a small, insignificant village". To-day Schull is a flourishing tourist centre. It looks out across one of the finest harbours in West Cork and is much loved by the sailing fraternity. This "small insignificant village" has a history that is known to stretch back almost four thousand years.
Inland from Schull is Mount Gabriel towering some one thousand, three hundred feet over the village. It is the location of some of the earliest copper-mines in Europe, dating back over three and a half milennia. Archeological excavations in the area have uncovered mining tools which date back to the 18th century B.C. and which are now on display in the Cork Museum. Insignificant???


Look at Mount Gabriel to-day and you see two huge silver globes glistening on the summit. Those with the vivid imagination of a child might wonder if they are UFO's, piloted by extra-terrestrial alien tourists who were attracted by the beauty of Schull. They are, in fact, part of a European radar system, monitoring sea and air traffic. The prehistoric mining and the ultra-modern communication technology are like brackets enclosing four millennia of local history..


One of the blackest moments of that history was the Great Famine of the late 1840's. Schull and its surrounding countryside were among the areas worst affected. There are several contemporary accounts of the widespread, appalling suffering and despair of the people and the depopulation of the area - harrowing accounts of incredible anguish and degradation.
Looking at the beauty of Schull to-day, it is hard to even imagine that such an event happened here less than two hundred years ago. The greatest compliment one can pay to Schull is to draw attention to the number of visitors who came here as tourists, fell totally in love with the place and settled here. If you come here as a visitor, be warned - you could be bitten by the same bug - Schull is addictive!

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