Nearer to our day, in the early part of
the eighteenth century, the Glandore area was privileged to have two
unlikely social reformers in its midst, one was a landlord and the
other was a pre-Marxist communist.
James Barry was not your typical money-grabbing landlord. He had a
deep concern for the welfare of the people and worked successfully to
develop fishing in Glandore and boatbuilding in Union Hall. He also
improved the living conditions of the
tenants on his land and built a school in Glandore. However the Great
Famine in latter half of the 1840's wrecked all this good work. In the
decade from 1841 to 1851 the population of Glandore dropped from 402
to 131 - a staggering decrease on 71%.
The other social reformer, William
Thompson had land to the north of Glandore and attempted to put into
practice communist principles such as communal ownership, collective
farming etc., etc. But his efforts produced no lasting results partly
because he was a theorist who had no idea how to put his theories into
practice and secondly because he was most eccentric. The influence of
Thompson's ideas on Karl Marx and on the development of Marxism was
recognized when a bust of him was given a prominent position in the
International Communist Museum in Prague.
To-day, Glandore and Union Hall are flourishing villages in their
distinctive ways. Glandore, in summer is a mecca for yachts and
pleasure craft. Union Hall, in contrast is the home port of a thriving
fishing fleet that joins in the harvesting of our fishing grounds from
Kilmore Quay in Wexford to Killybegs in Donegal. A gem in Glandore's
beautiful landscape is the picturesque little Church of Ireland
(Anglican) Church, Christ Church (Kilfachtnabeg). It is built on a
rock-ledge overlooking the bay. Access to the Church-grounds and the
Church is through an arch-way, a kind of mini-tunnel, hewn through the
solid rock that is part of the ledge.
If you want fresh fish, straight from the ocean - John Dory, Sea
Trout, Monkfish, Sole, Squid Lobster you name it, Union Hall has it in
abundance. On the other hand, if you prefer to do your own fishing for
pollack, mackerel or cod you can hire a boat with rods and tackle to
take you to the fishing grounds less than half-an-hour away. The trip
also gives you another perspective
on West Cork beautiful coastline.
The area around Glandore and Union Hall is, without doubt, one of the
most beautiful, most scenic areas in all of West Cork. When you come
here you may even be lucky enough to hear Tonn Cliodhna, maybe even
see her ghost.!