Friday, 27 May 2016

The Cope

There wasn't a great deal to do in Dungloe, but I can't say I was ever bored. One evening we walked out to the end of the pier, to see about the possibilities of a good sunset photo. 

We decided we'd need to keep looking, but it was a pleasant walk all the same.

Bill was fascinated by this old hotel. I could see why. I've heard that women fall in love with men for their potential; I am more likely to fall in love with a building for the same reason. In both cases the potential is often more imagined than real.

I didn't know much about Sweeney's Hotel, but I did know about 'The Cope'. This was an important part of County Donegal history when in 1906, Paddy 'The Cope' Gallagher founded the Templecrone Agricultural Cooperative Society. 

This area of Donegal is called "Na Rosas" or "The Rosses", the Irish word for 'headland'. The soil isn't very good at the coast and farming income needed to be supplemented. Local families worked hard to produce textiles and to catch fish. However, transport systems to the market towns in the east part of the county were practically non-existent. Their efforts to make a living were thwarted by the 'middle men' who sold them supplies, such as salt for curing the fish, at high prices, then bought their produce at low prices. They were called 'gombeen men': shady wheeler-dealers who made their profits at the cost of others. The Cooperative gave families an alternative that would represent their interests, as members.  The grandson of Paddy Gallagher also gives himself "The Cope" as a middle name, it likely being useful to his political career, but it seems to me he's riding on coat-tails. Then again, there are so many men by that name in the area it may be the only way to properly identify himself to his constituents.

I did try to buy some shoes in there, but there weren't any employees to be found. It was a bit eerie having a big department store with only a few customers and no staff.

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