Crookhaven was not what I had expected
Crookhaven Travel Blog› entry 6 of 13 › view all entries
I finally arrived in Crookhaven and on the way it became more and more evident that the place would not look like what I had imagined. I had in my head a picture of a dark crooks place; like the Pirates of the Caribbean and Dead Man's Chest, even though it would have been too much to expect.
The closer I got to this point it became clear that this was a holiday site for some of the more wealthy Irish inhabitants and a place where there was a lot of family holiday homes. The area was really beautiful and I had to swallow the big disappointment of not meeting Jack Sparrow and Will Turner here.
I drove all the way into the little city of Crookhaven following the R591 to the very end. The last part where I drove past Ardsalagh, Leenane, Lackenacea and Ballynaul was really beautiful and I just loved the names of these cities.
Inside the city it was almost impossible to park but having good training in parking illegal in Brussels almost every day, it was feasible for me, but I saw others having bigger moral problems. I walked down the city centre and the harbour which is the same place. There was a lot of noise of children having fun jumping into the cold water and there was a lot of boatpeople walker the rolling walk after long time at sea. Today this was definitely a holiday place and not a place for crooks which I had anticipated.
It turns out that it is not crooks but a crook that has given the settlement its name. The tiny hamlet of Crookhaven lies tucked snugly on the sheltered side of a narrow neck of land which creates a deep inlet - the 'crooked haven' which might have given the little settlement its name, but there is more.
The Irish name of Crookhaven is Cruachan and it lies on the peninsula of the Mizen or in Irish, Ivagha.
The English name of Crookhaven is generally believed to derive from Sir Thomas Crooke, who is also associated with the English settlement in Baltimore in the early 1600's.
The earliest record of the locality is found in 1199 in the Decretal Letter of Pope Innocent III, "Celmolaggi" is listed and Bolster (1972) identifies it with Crookhaven. There is also reference to the church being dedicated to St Molaggi, who came from Fermoy in the 7th century. He was the Patron Saint of "Tegh-Molagga" now Timoleague, Co Cork.
There was a 15th century O' Mahony castle in Crookhaven.
Around the year 1620 Sir Richard Boyle; the Earl of Cork and Sir William Hull of Leamcon, developed pilchard fisheries in Crookhaven. A Star-shaped fort was built in 1622 by Sir Thomas Roper and depicted on Downe Survey (1652) map in the vicinity of the village. The exact location is not known as no remains survive.
There are the remains of the 1852 copper mines near the tip of the Crookhaven Peninsula. The circular magazine built on crest of ridge is in good shape. The lower courses of the engine house remains. Further to the west is the remains of another magazine which was part of the mining complex
There are numerous Bronze Age field monuments scattering the hills surrounding Crookhaven.
The village of Crookhaven has a distinguished history as the last port of call for ships journeying to and from America. Over the centuries ships stocked up with provisions here before tackling the Atlantic Ocean. All the shipping lines had agents located here to tell the ships in which port their cargo had been sold.
At the beginning of the 20th century it was said that you could cross the harbour on the decks of boats. 700 people lived and worked in the village against the 29 permanent inhabitants who reside here today (Marconi came here to try to send his first radio message across the Atlantic and he fitted the first telegraphic equipment to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse to communicate with the passing ships).