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Bere Island - Cork

great old photo

Bere Island (Irish: An tOileán Mór) is an island in the west of County Cork in the Republic of Ireland. The island is also known as Bear Island. Legend says that the island was named by a 2nd Century king of Munster, Mogh Nuadat, in honour of his wife, Beara, the daughter of Heber Mor, King of Castile.

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Photo Details

  • County: Cork
  • Town: Bere Island
  • Scene: Coastal Village View
  • Date: 1910 (estimate)

Specification

  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper
  • Also available mounted & framed, ask for details
  • Colour images can be printed in black& white if preferred.
  • Read about Bere Islandbelow


Bere Island

Bere Island (Irish: An tOileán Mór) is an island in the west of County Cork in the Republic of Ireland. The island is also known as Bear Island.

Legend says that the island was named by a 2nd Century king of Munster, Mogh Nuadat, in honour of his wife, Beara, the daughter of Heber Mor, King of Castile.

Geography

The island is located in Bantry Bay in the western part of County Cork, about 1.5 km off the port of Castletownbere. It is served by two ferries, which can carry light vehicles. The highest point on the island is Knockanallig (270m). The main harbour is Lawrence Cove, near the main village of Rerrin (Raerainn), toward the eastern end of the island.

Demographics

The current population is approximately 200, but the past population has been significantly higher. In 1840 the population was about 2,000, but the population declined due to the net emigration from Ireland during the 19th Century.

Unlike many of the other islands off the Irish coast, the inhabitants of Bere Island are now native speakers of English. Irish ceased to be the spoken language of the majority of the native islanders between 1880 and 1885.

History

Early traces of human occupation include Megalithic tombs and standing stones.

The island was the property of the O'Sullivan Bere clan and remained so until the power of the Gaelic chieftans was finally broken in 1602. This period also saw the first military interest in the island when Sir George Carew ordered a road to be built across the island to transport the pro-English forces to the Battle of Dunboy.

In 1796 a French fleet, led by General Hoche under the direction of Wolfe Tone, entered Bantry Bay. Bad weather prevented the main force landing but as a result of this scare the military embarked upon a militarisation programme. This consisted of five Martello Towers, a signal tower, a barracks for 2 officers and 150 men, a quay and storehouses.

After the end of the Napoleonic Wars there followed a period of military stagnation. This ended in 1898 when the British Military raised a compulsory purchase order on large areas of the island in order to construct additional fortifications in order to protect the British Fleet at anchor in the bay.

In 1922, under the terms of Anglo-Irish treaty that followed the Irish War of Independence, the British withdrew from most of Ireland but three deep water Treaty Ports, at Berehaven, Queenstown (renamed Cobh) and Lough Swilly, were retained as sovereign bases until 1938.

Archaeology

  • Battery, Ardaragh West, Cloonaghlin West
  • Circular Enclosure, Greenane
  • Hut Site, Ardaragh West
  • Martello Tower, Ardaragh West, Cloonaghlin West (also Telegraph Station)
  • Promontory Fort
  • Ringfort, Cloonaghlin West, Greenane
  • Signal Tower, Derrycreeveen
  • Standing Stone, Greenane
  • Wedge Tomb, Ardaragh West

Townland

  • Ardra West
  • Ardra East
  • Ballynakilla
  • Cloonaghlin West
  • Cloonaghlin Upper
  • Cloonaghlin Lower
  • Derrycreeveen
  • Greenane
  • Ardagh
  • Rerrin