If there is ever going to be a road in this country which makes you wonder how people who lived in the area got on in years long gone, a region where you can’t help but think about how they survived life before modern conveniences kicked in, it is the road out towards Crookaven, off the beaten track on the Wild Atlantic Way, almost on the tip of the Mizen Peninusla in West Cork. Next stop Mizen Head, then over the Atlantic Ocean to the continent of America. A twisty, turny road, with bends you cannot see around, carved through cliff in some parts. You can see the Fastnet Lighthouse as you drive – known as Ireland’s Tear Drop from immigrant days. This is a magnificently untamed part of Ireland. Even modern development has not removed it’s aloof ‘aloness’. Crookhaven village perches among this natural majesty, nestled into a little ‘crook’ in the coastline. But even this protection is not to be taken for granted. While the waters of the bay can be calm and serene at certain times of year, last winter’s storms saw boulders and rocks the size of small cars lifted by crashing waves onto the approach road and into the village. Here is a place which has survived on the good will of Mother Nature, a place also at her mercy. Lucky enough, a few days ago when we visited, calm serenity prevailed. Small sail boats and big yachts bobbed in the waters. Holidaying kids were enjoying a regatta. Colourful sails billowed in a gentle breeze. Families gathered on Cockleshell Beach. The village buzzed with life. Idyllic. At the heart of it, staff at The Crookhaven Inn were busy refreshing customers with some fine local foods and of course, a pint or two! Emma Jepson and Freddie Olsen have been at the helm here for many years. Emma is a local girl, her father Chris was the one of the first makers of smoked salmon in the early days of artisan production. She worked in this pub as a teenager, and is now married to Freddie, the Head Chef. Between them, they run a very good ship. Fish is Freddie’s favourite thing to cook – not surprising considering he lives by the sea and he also surfs! Expect a few fish specials on the board daily, depending on what he can get. An A la Carte menu has light and more substantial bites. Freddie’s desserts are to die for – Emma also bakes cakes and brownies. We enjoyed Freddie’s Panna Cotta with Irish Raspberry Coulis. Delicious. Make it a stop if you’re travelling down west this summer. Visit a village that time has forgotten and a pub which has remembered how to offer real Irish hospitality.