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Standing in the queue in Murphyʼs Supervalu supermarket in Castletownbere behind a Russian lad who, in broken English,
was trying to buy cigarettes from the Polish chap manning the till was one of the more surreal moments in my life.
Castletownbere is the largest white fishing port in Ireland, and Russian factory ship come over in the spring to buy catchs direct from
the local fishermen. The Poles, of course, get everywhere including the far west of Cork.
Although it would not win any beauty competitions, Castletownbere is by no means ugly. In fact it would scrub up quite nicely if it were minded to.
However it seems prosperous enough as it is, which all that matters, given the dire state of the Irish economy at the time of my visit (2010).