Pirates in Bantry. Pic: West Cork Times

THE people of West Cork are no strangers to one or two pirates turning up along their shoreline but Bantry town was overrun with eye patches, wooden legs, muskets and even parrots last weekend as hundreds of salty sea-dogs came ashore and headed for the town square.

Normally, any Irish town would be reluctant to allow pirates to roam their streets – just ask Baltimore – but it was far from treasure maps and plundering the high seas these lads and lasses were reared as most headed for the candyfloss and the bouncy castles.

There were also prizes for the best-dressed pirates. Fears that someone would be forced to walk the plank when it turned out that the prizes were pineapples and not treasure chests were short-lived but the presentation of the prickly fruits did cause one or two muskets to be drawn.

“We are amazed at the number of people who have turned up here today dressed as pirates. I saw one pirate in the square with a live parrot on his shoulder; now that’s dedication.

“It’s a great way to wind down from the weeklong competitions going on out on the water and it’s a really enjoyable day out for all the family,” Diarmaid Murphy Chairman of Bantry 2012 said.

There was also free music for all as the pirates continued their partying late into the evening.

“That’s it for another year; the pirates will have to get back on their galleons until next year when we will have them back again for more fun and prizes in Bantry,” Diarmaid concluded.