Local people, local wisdom: Mary and Micheál Hurley, The Pike

In this photo series West Cork photographer Aoise Tutty Jackson uses her informal and fresh style to connect with, and share the wisdom of, people in our community. www.aoisetuttyjackson.com email aoise@92circles.com or call 086 3465373.

Hurleys at The Pike (Mary Hurley jokes that she doesn’t like it being referred to as a garage!) is a place that so many people have remained loyal to over the years, with less and less of these gems to be found today even in West Cork. Renowned for the unusual and very local selection of goods they stock, reasonable prices, but mostly the energy of the people running the business, on a recent visit photographer Aoise Tutty Jackson gets a window of insight into Mary and Micheál’s lives and some of the wisdom they have gleaned over their many years living and running a business in West Cork. 

Mary: When Micheál finished up milling, we decided to put our energy into the business here: We wanted to do something a bit different, to be very independent, but also to support people.

Micheál: I was asked a very interesting question a few years ago by a local friend. He asked ‘Did you ever think that this place would be such a success?’ He remembered me telling him I was going to be selling coal and we both knew that that wasn’t a sexy thing!

I’ve always believed ‘Do the simple things, the simple way’ and you will get great results…and a lot of the time you will get kicked in the teeth, there’s no doubt about that!

I’ve always considered myself to be very lucky, things have happened for me. I do have faith. I pray a lot, I pray that I make a success, and that I would be kind to people and that I would make the right decisions. 

Mary: You have to have faith and you have to believe and you have to be positive. It’s very easy to be negative, and it just gets you very down…there’s always some light at the end of the tunnel no matter how bad anything is…no matter how wrong things may be going, and certainly we’ve been through our share of difficult times, but you just have to have hope…and you have to have faith in yourself as well. 

Micheál: When we got shut down with the planning permission for this place, Mary just said ‘look we’ll start again and we’ll go after it and we will get it, and we will beat them and we will get the planning, it’s just another fence that’s been put up in front of us’…I’d love to say to those that were trying to shut us down now – ‘you come down here and I’ll show you what community is!’

I’ve always been a believer that you have to make up your own mind about what you do in life and then you have to run with it. A lot of people will tell you ‘Ah don’t do that’, or whatever – and you just have to shut them out…The less you tell people about what you intend to do the better.

A discovery made during the interview was that the beautiful and varied selection of paintings in the back office were all Mary’s own.  

Mary: I’m painting a long time. I do it mostly in the wintertime at night when I finish my work. It makes you very aware of your surroundings, the trees and sea, colours and everything. When I start painting, I could be painting for three or four hours and forget all about everything, whatever happened earlier in the day is gone. 

I suppose the big thing, that should be accentuated now more than ever, is to be kind to people, because you never know what people are going through! You have to make allowances for people…not always! But you never know what’s going on in peoples’ lives.

WCP Staff

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