Skibbereen is a town in southern County Cork on the River Lien. The name means “little boat harbor.” In the 1840s the town was devastated by the potato famine. There is a famine cemetery near the town with a mass grave that is estimated to hold the remains of 8,000 to 10,000 famine victims. There is a song entitled Skibbereen, a melancholy tune about the potato famine, recently recorded by Sinead O’Connor. Today, the town has about 2,000 inhabitants.
Laetitia and her group happened to be in Skibbereen when the Skibbereen Arts Festival was in progress, so they attended it. As they walked the festival grounds sampling the many food offerings and viewing the visual treats in the stands, Laetitia saw an invitation to a costume ball held that evening and open to the public. She and her group decided to attend.
Finding costumes at the last minute was a bit of a challenge, but Laetitia managed to contact someone from the local opera/theater company that was willing to rent out their costumes. Since there wasn’t time for alterations, choosing a costume was mostly a matter of finding one that fit. Laetitia ended up dressed as the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s Magic Flute.
The costume ball was a splendid affair with great food and dancing and ceili music. A complaint overheard in the women’s restroom provided the limerick of the day.