It seems an unlikely place to start a revolution: a tiny island off the coast of far west Cork, inhabited by less than 30 people and without even pub to call its own. And yet Heir Island is now home to the Firehouse Bakery and Bread School, headquarters of Patrick Ryan’s self-styled Bread Revolution, one which you can read all about in his book of the same name, or, better still, which you can discover for yourself by making the trip to West Cork and taking one of Patrick’s bread-making courses. Lucky me, then, to be invited to do exactly that last weekend, and what a joy it was.
View from Heir Island: the calm before cooking up a storm
The thing of beauty that is a Heir Island lobster boat
I was extremely tempted to post this picture, along with a note that said simply “gone fishin’.”
And fishing is exactly what I was doing yesterday from a boat such as this, at the very edge of West Cork in Roaringwater Bay, on a day when the bay, thankfully, did not live up to its noisy moniker. It was, instead, a picture of grace and calm, interrupted only by the occasional flip-flopping of a freshly caught mackerel, each of whom had clearly had other plans for the day before becoming hooked and then briefly, and gloriously, airborne, followed by a final plop into the communal holding bucket. Baked, later, in the embers of a wood-fired clay oven on Heir Island, there could have been nothing sweeter to eat than those fish. It was the kind of food – and the kind of day – that sends you to bed happy.