Top 10 Facts about Skibbereen
1. The name “Skibbereen” means “Little Boat Harbour”.
2. Prior to 1600 most of the land belonged to the native McCarthy tribe – today McCarthy remains the town’s most common surname.
3. At the height of the famine in 1847, the body of an unnamed boy, taken for lifeless was placed in a coffin in the Town Square and conveyed for burial to the Abbey Cementry. As he was lowered into the pit, the youth regained conciousness and walked unaided from the grave.
4. It is probable that some 8,000 – 10,000 Famine victims are buried in the Famine Burial Pits of Abbeystrewerey Cementary.
5. The Temperance Hall was the site of the foundation of the first Temperance Society (abstaining from alcohol) in Europe. Built in 1833 it has been succeeded by Skibbereen’s 26 well patronised pubs.
6. General Michael Collins had his last meal in the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen before he was shot in an ambush later that evening in 1922.
7. The Skibbereen Eagle, a newspaper founded in 1857, became famous by declaring it was “keeping an eye on the Czar of Russia” over his expansionist designs on China. This newspaper was superceded by the Southern Star, founded in 1889 which included amongst its shareholders one General Michael Collins.
8. Skibbereen and the nearby villages were chosen as location for the making of the film “War of the Buttons”.
9. Skibbereen and the nearby villages are the home to many international celebrities such as film producer Lord David Puttnam, actor Jeremy Irons, Ireland’s richest man Dr Tony O’Reilly, lateral-thinker Edward de Bono and others.
10. Recent luminaries who have chosen Skibbereen as their holiday destination include British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the supergroup Oasis.