Fowl and Turkey Markets in Durrus, West Cork, in the 1930s. In that era fowl plays an important part in the economy of farming households for poultry, eggs, fowl and even feathers. Merchants such as Lanes of Cork bought whatever feathers were available. Traditionally money earned in this way was the property of the woman of the house.
From the 1940s the business expanded with Whittakers of Cork having a hatchery and dispatching boxes of day ld chicks al yellow by box on CIE buses to country towns for collection.
Considering the current cheap price of poultry the price in relative terms must have been much more in those days.
In the early 1890s there was a weekly market in Durrus. The old fair was revived in May 1892 and a meeting held the evening before presided over by Richard Townsend (Magistrate, Dunbeacon) resolved that there would be four fairs a year and the next was to be held in July 1892. The May Fair had a good sale for horses and colts and was attended by Abbott of Cork and Vickery of Bantry (horse buyers). In 1912 there were butter markets on Wednesdays and Fridays near the present creamery. The main market was in Bantry with fair day the first Friday each month, the pig fair on a Thursday. Cattle were walked to the Fair with a very early start. May and November were the main cattle markets while February, May, July and August were more for horses, sheep and wool. The July market was known as the tinkers market.
In the 1930s near the former Wiseman’s store a Fowl market was held on Thursdays where Sullivans from Dunmanway bought available produce.. About three weeks before Christmas the area of the present Garda Station was the scene of a turkey market where Messrs Lyons of Bantry bought whatever was available.
In the early 20th century Bantry was considered to have the fourth largest fair in Ireland. Each outlying area had its place on the Square.. When the railway was running there were ‘specials’ with as many as eight carriages to carry cattle and pigs to Cork. The annual horse fair then, as now was Ballabuidhe which goes back to a charter of 1615 and probably much further and takes place in early August in Dunmanway. This was attended by buyers such as the Widgers from Clonmel who bought for the international market.
When the marts started, especially Bandon (1957) and Skibbereen (started by Cork Co-Operative Marts in 1958) it sounded the death knell of the fair for cattle.
Durrus Fair used to be held near creamery. It was revived in 1937 having lapsed for 20 years previously, and was held on the third Monday of every month. The market at Ballydehob was also attended.