The Lost Orchards of Blair’s Cove, Friendly Cove, Mulroe, Pineapples and Melons of Timothy O’Donovan, Landlord, O’Donovan’s Cove, Durrus early 19th Century, Durrus West Cork.
There had been relentless destruction of old orchard over the last two hundred years throughout the country. Not only on estates but also on farms due to reclamation and improvements and a general ignorance of the value of locally grown fruit. Many of the varieties are probably gone forever. Happily one local firm Future Forests in Kealkil stock the old heritage varieties of Irish fruit trees and bushes.
Many of those who migrated from the West Country of England to Bandon and further west brought an apple culture of orchards, cider making with them. In surviving rent books for the Bantry and Kenmare Estate there are frequent references to house and orchard’. Orchards will often mark out the largest farms. Apple trees do not thrive on poor soils in in high up windy conditions.
In Dr. Éamon Lankford’s place name survey
There are quite a number of references to orchards and apple trees in Brahalish, Carrigbui/Durrus Village, (orchard abutting courtyard of Philip’s Bandon Arms Hotel), Gearhameen, Molloch, Rossmore, Rooska, Tedagh among others
Orchards from Bandon Estate Records:
Thomas Baker, 1855 farm by marriage Shannons still old trees in orchard
These trees are growing on George Hegarty’s land overlooking Dunmanus Bay, dual cooker and eater. This farm with orchard appear in the Brandon Estate records as that of Arthur Attridge 1856.
Arthur Attridge 1903, probably now Jenny Attridge’s farm.
John Attridge, Gearhameen,1874.
Jeremiah Crowley, 1892.
No date Danny O’Mahony
1868 Dispensary later property of late Rita McCarthy nee Shannon.
Durrus Men’s Shed currently (2019) have project to recover scions from very old apple trees and graft them onto new root stocks. Already one new variety has been discovered in the Rossmore townland and named ‘George Hegarty’
Bandon, Jan. 1833. On Sunday sen’night a number of ruffians went to the house of Mr. James Bride, of Rushfield, and tore up fifty Apple trees of about five or six years standing, and a number of Forest trees planted at the same time. The villains then threw stones at the windows, several of which they nearly demolished. They also broke an iron gate at the entrance to Mr. Bride’s house.
Skuce family of Coosane, emigrated to Canada in 1850, and settled in Mount Horeb, near Omemee, Ontario, Canada, they took apple seeds with them, so they could plant them when they settled. They had a special way of storing the apples through the cold winters in special straw lined pits and apparently they were delicious. This was all mentioned in a family write up. When we visited another area where another branch of the Skuce’s settled, near Bark Lake, in a more remote part of Ontario, we saw some the old farmsteads that have been left derelict, at one of these we discovered someone had gone out with a quad bike to collect fruit from the very old apple trees, that are were abandoned close to these homesteads, the crop looked amazing, and I do wonder if these were grown from seeds that were brought out by the new settlers, including the Skuce’s, when they first emigrated back in the mid-1830s or so. Bark Lake is where some of the Skuce family who had left Clashadoo/Bantry settled.
A modern perspective try Gearaí Glas in Irish with English sub titles availabel on RTE Player world wide. Great sound tract unusual horticulure and uses.
Or You Tube