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Skibbereen

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Skibbereen, is a town in County Cork, Ireland. It is located on the N71 national secondary road. The name "Skibbereen" means "little boat harbour." The River Ilen runs through the town; it reaches the sea about 12 kilometers away, at the seaside village of Baltimore.HistoryPrior to 1600 most of the land belonged to the native McCarthy tribe - today McCarthy remains the town's most common surname. The town charter dates back to 1657 and a copy can be seen in the town council Chambers. Skibbereen was established near the 14th-century ruins of the medieval hamlet of 'Spá Elaíne', long after the scourge of the black death (circa 1350) decimated the region. In 1631 it received an influx of refugees fleeing from the Sack of Baltimore. The Phoenix Society was founded in Skibbereen in 1856 a precursor to the Fenian movement.Famine500 years after the Black Death, once again the region was plagued with terrible famine in the years 1845-52, a time referred to as 'an Gorta Mór' (The Great Hunger). It is probable that some 8,000-10,000 victims of 'The Great Famine' are buried in the Famine Burial Pits of Abbeystrewery Cemetery.Skibbereen is also the name of a song about the Famine, and the impact it and the British Government had on the people of Ireland. The song, known as Dear Old Skibbereen, takes the form of a conversation between a father and a son, in which the son asks his father why he fled the land he loved so well. The father relates to his son how the famine ruined his farm in Skibbereen, and killed his wife. As the man was unable to pay taxes,
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