17 December 2021
By Elaine Murphy
‘The people who came before us’ – History of Hurley’s, The Pike, Clonakilty, now on sale for Christmas
A few years ago, Micheál Hurley first started to think about all the photos, archives, and documents that had been kept carefully at Hurley’s, The Pike.
“Was there a story to be told?” He wondered. “Was there a book to be written?”
Hurley’s book is now on sale. It tells the story of the history of their family, their business, and over one hundred years of life at The Pike and beyond. Set amidst the history of Ireland and the World, ‘The people who came before us’ tells the story of Hurley’s, The Pike, through the lives of the Hurley family from the 1870s to the present day.
Drawing on a range of archived sources, memories, and historical texts, it offers a unique and compelling story that begins with Daniel and Hannah Hurley in the early 1900s and brings us to the present day with Micheál and Mary Hurley in 2021.
The book starts by following Micheál’s Grandfather, Daniel Hurley, in the 1880s to America and tells how his fierce and hard work on the US Navy battleship, Iowa, set the tragic foundations for the birth of the business in West Cork. As the book progresses through the decades, we follow the journey of a family through illness, death, and the birth of new generations, as they encounter the challenges particular to their times. They lived and worked through interesting times – The War of Independence, the Spanish Flu, the Second World War, the Polio Epidemic, the modernisation of Ireland, the oil crises of the 1970s, the 2008 crash, & today’s Covid-19 Pandemic.
It is a story that shows the importance of a local business to its community. One that highlights the contribution of women and all their talents. We see how each decade presents huge challenges and how the family adapted and navigated their way through them. It is a story of the world changing through World Wars, economic crises, and multiple outbreaks of diseases that threatened all. It has taken over a year for the book to come together but no one is more delighted than Micheál that it will be in their shop and other outlets for Christmas.
“Mary and I decided to ask our good friend, Brendan McCormack, Caherbeg, Rosscarbery, to assist us in the writing of this book and we are delighted that he agreed.” Micheál says. “I’d also like to thank Dan O’Leary, Caherkirky, Rossmore, who did considerable work in proofing and editing the final version. His experience was invaluable in preparing the book for printing. We’ve also been delighted with Muireann Brady at the Southern Star who has been a pleasure to work with. We’re excited to see it launched and for people to read it. More than anything, I wanted it to be a book that would be read with enjoyment and interest. I think we have succeeded in that!”
The importance of history is not lost on Micheál, and the book is not just about the past, but one that will be read with an eye on the future and those yet to come to The Pike.
“I felt that I was the custodian of our family history and should document the journey of the people who came before me to pass it on to future generations of the Hurley’s and others.” Micheál says. “I’ve lived and worked here for 58 of my 65 years, and I know the place, the people, the characters, the history, and the geography of The Pike and all that surrounds us. This makes me feel deeply rooted and part of the fabric of this community.”
The people who came before us’ is on sale at Hurley’s, The Pike, and will be in many outlets throughout West Cork including Fields of Skibbereen, Paddy Meade Newsagent, Clonakilty (next to O’Donovan’s Hotel), Coughlans Bookshop, Clonakilty, O’Reilly’s Londis, Rosscarbery, & Hodnett’s Shop and Post Office, Rathbarry.