We wish to thank Cork County Council for helping to fund promotional videos which enabled us to provide a virtual visit to the centre during the closure due to Covid-19.
The videos are on our West Cork Heritage Centre youtube channel and can be viewed below.
Throughout 2020, and most of 2021, we greatly missed the interaction with the many visitors who come to the centre, and in particular the school tours and those who travel from many parts of the world to research their Bandon roots. We hope to be back up and running for the 2022 season but in the meantime, keep an eye on our youtube channel as we will be adding a few more videos in the coming months.
As part of the Harry Potter themed scavenger hunt in June 2018, we were delighted to welcome young visitors to view our original painting of the Bandon Banshee by Augustine Grace featuring his cousin, Drusilla Grace, defeating the Bandon Banshee.
The story of the Bandon Banshee was made famous by the now disgraced, Gilderoy Lockhart, who claimed credit for the defeat and used his memory charm to steal the memory of Drusilla, also known as the witch with a hairy chin or the Hairy Witch.
To celebrate the day as part of the scavenger hunt, the heritage centre had a magical transformation for the day and was able to show the home of the Hairy Witch as well as her wand, her broom and even a rare invisibility cloak!
This was a rare magical occasion and most of these items are shown in non-magical form for the rest of the year!
Donough MacGillycuddy gave a very interesting presentation on Saturday morning on the Biddy Boy tradition. Using slides and rare archive footage he allowed the audience a unique view of the Biddy Boys in action. The rich and complex folklore background to the tradition was a treat to discover, especially the work of Thomas O’Sullivan from Beaufort in Killarney. We hope Donough pursues this study and comes back to update us as it really is fascinating.
Donough MacGillycuddy will be giving a talk on the Biddy Boys of Kilgobnet as part of Heritage Week.
Where: West Cork Heritage Centre, Bandon.
When: Saturday 26th August
What are the Biddy Boys? Watch the clip below for an introduction..
West Cork Heritage Centre, Bandon is housed in the former Christchurch on North Main Street Bandon.
Christchurch dates back to circa 1610 and is built on the site of a Danish Fort. It was one of the earliest Protestant churches in Ireland and was a church for 363 years. It was deconsecrated in 1973. A portion of the old Bandon walls are also part of the structure of the building.
Some Bandon church records are held at the Centre to help people trace their families.
Right now we are finding it hard to continue. We are all volunteers and we think this building would be able to become self sustaining with just a few tweaks that we can’t afford now, namely:
– Repair hole in roof
– External hand rail on stone steps
– Conservation plan
This beautiful building needs to be maintained and preserved. Currently, in an effort to raise funds to keep the building going, a team of volunteers run a heritage centre with the theme of Bandon’s history. Visitors can see replicas of an old shop, school, kitchen and forge. The current exhibition also includes the old town stocks and memorabilia from Bandon’s time as a garrison town.
We also help people to find their roots by going through the Bandon church records on site with them.
If we had the funds to add a stair rail to the outside steps, install some kind of internal heating system and repair the hole in the roof we could extend the use of this building as a public space for exhibitions, readings, small recitals, movie screenings, theatre productions and more.
All government grants require matched or at least partial funding before they will assist with conservation so this is why we need to fundraise at this time.
In turn we hope this could generate more revenue for the building and so that in time it could become self-sustaining.
If everyone with some connection to Bandon or West Cork could just give us the price of just one cup of coffee we could do this!
Please help us to create a great space for the Bandon of the present and the future.
The West Cork Heritage Centre, Bandon experienced a great loss on the death of our great friend Richard Conroy on November 28 2016.
I have known Richard for about 25 years. It was about that time he first joined the Heritage Centre and continued to be associated with the centre, serving in many positions over the years and also as a committee member. I will always be greatly thankful to Richard because when he joined us first we had a large debt from our initial start up costs. I discussed this with Richard and true to his ‘get up and go’ approach he said: “Don’t worry. If I am involved I will do my best.” He did do his best and it is mainly thanks to his efforts all those years ago that we were able to clear the backlog. Richard always did his best and the Heritage Centre isn’t the same without him.
Wherever he was, there was great presence about him. His friendly disposition, quick wit and capacity for true friendship were hallmarks throughout his life. He was always in great form. You could never say that he was short of opinions and he could be quite forceful in whatever debate was going on, but when you knew Richard well you saw that his philosophy was that everyone should have an equal chance and everyone had the right to be heard.
That passion to make a difference underpinned everything Richard did. When I first knew Richard he was employed by a newspaper circulating in the Bandon area and was also a sports commentator in a local radio station. He was involved in athletics, soccer and other sports. His interest in sports and his belief that sport was good for people, especially young people never wavered.
He was many years a soccer referee in West Cork. He was chairperson of the Referees Association and was their delegate at national level. He also represented the senior citizens from this area at national level. When I asked him how he got that position he told me “I was the youngest of the candidates and I was accepted!”
In the years before he died, he was seriously involved in organising a community radio station in the Bandon area and I understand he really was the key figure in this endeavour to establish the station which is now nearing completion.
He was also a member of the Bandon Parish Assembly council and last but not least we will always remember him in his various roles in the church pageants. Here he became the actor and he really excelled. We were very proud of him.
As you can now understand, whatever Richard got involved in, he gave it his very best. In this life, Richard used his God given talents to the full and it’s a wonderful thing for anyone to be able to say that their life made a difference. Richard achieved so much in his life and did make a difference.
Above all else though, Richard was a very dedicated and supportive father who wished the best for his children and deeply loved his family.
I wish to express our deepest sympathy to his wife Betty, children Tracy, Edward and Sean, daughter-in-law Cailen, grandchildren, brothers, John, Joe and Edward and sisters Breda, Mary and Kathleen.
It is difficult to imagine that Richard is no longer with us. I will miss him, and all at the Heritage Centre – Billy Good, Robert Hickey, Michael De Courcey, Gerry Hennessy as well as Breda O’Brien and Des Pendergast from Bandon Brinny Group will miss him. But we will not forget him. He will always be in our fondest memories and in our prayers.
Ar an Aoine chuaigh pásití ó Ghaelscoil Dhroichead na Banndan síos chuig an Ionad Oidhreachta i nDroichead na Banndan. Bhí deis ag na pásití an forógra a léámh agus léargas a fháil ar conas mar a bhí an saol na blianta fada ó shin ar scoil agus mórthimpeall an bhaile mór. Ba deis iontach é dos na páistí suíomh seana scoile a fheiscint agus cé chomh difriúl is a bhí an saol ag tús na haoise.
The senior pupils from Gaelscoil Dhroichead na Banndan, accompanied by their headmaster, Micheál Ó Riain, had the opportunity to visit Bandon Heritage Centre recently. This gave the children an opportunity to see an old school setting and how different life was in the earlier part of the century. The children also got a historical insight into many of the old traditions that were practiced in Ireland and saw how different life was over a hundred years ago.