Walking around Gortavallig.

Looking out of the window the weather is grey and full of too much character; the wind is gusting in from the water and each squall sends across a burst of rain. The sky is nothing but a sheer wall of grey in front of us.


Thursday was bright enough for a walk round Gortavallig.

Down by The Cove where JG Farrell slipped off a rock whilst fishing and drowned the water churned up against the slipway. It looked wild and angry and it wasn’t hard to imagine how difficult it would be to climb out again should you fall in.

Further up the hill towards the old mine workings the wind was strong enough to blow back a stream as it tried to flow down a cliff and specks of white sea drift floated through the air.

We had lunch by the collapsed miner’s cottages – a row of about five stone huts high on the hill looking out over Bantry Bay. The miners were brought in from Cornwall to search for copper ore for a couple of years in the 1840’s. Unfortunately the dreamed for riches were not to be found and the mine closed after just two years.

We were there on a day in August but the wind still blew hard through the cottages and the sky that was being blown in from the Atlantic was heavy with rain. It must have been a wild and terrible place a hundred and fifty years ago on a winter’s day.

The rain stayed away for us and we were able to finish the walk ambling along the quite country lane that would its way through green fields back to our car.


That evening we had a lobster soup.

Four lobsters from Tommy Arundel. I cooked them two at a time in a large pan of boiling sea water. As they cooled I sweated onions and garlic in olive oil in the same pan in which I had cooked the lobsters.

I took the lobsters outside to split them and prise out every last nugget of white meat.

The shells then went into the pan and I cracked them with the back of a wooden spoon. I then made use of the Pernod, pouring some into a ladle, setting it alight with the flame from the stove and then tipping it into the pan. The flames were big enough to light up the whole kitchen.

I then sloshed in some white wine, a couple of tins of tomatoes, tomato puree, a handful of fennel from the pier patch and topped it up with water. Seasoning was salt, pepper and a few crushed chillies.

To eat I strain the liquor out of the pan and then poured it back in and stirred through the lobster meat to heat through.


We ate it with bread listing to Exile on Main st.

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