Ballycotton village is a resettlement of an earlier medieval settlement that was lost to coastal erosion, one which features on maritime maps from the 14th and 16th centuries.
The bay has long been deemed a safe harbour, and the village has had a long history of battles with the sea – the RNLI vessel the Mary Stanford sits proudly atop the cliff walk, having saved the lives of 122 sailors over her time at sea, most famously during the Daunt Rock lightship rescue in 1936.
The village got its name in the papers for another disaster in 1995, when Hollywood legends Marlon Brando, John Hurt, Johnny Depp and Debra Winger were there to shoot Divine Rapture, a film production which collapsed two weeks into filming when it transpired the production firm behind the film had no money.
Inside Cush, you can see a framed letter and cheque from the film’s producers, apologising for the whole mess.
Cush has seen every coming and going in Ballycotton since it first opened as a hotel in 1886, despite opposition at the time from a local parish priest. Fr Norris feared it would lure and waylay fishermen returning to Ballycotton harbour, enriched with the cash bounty of fish catch sales. Fr Norris’ fears quickly became reality as Ballycotton became a first port of call for sailors, a refuge for fishermen, and a watchful eye over all the launchings and safe returns of the local RNLI lifeboat.
In 1960, a Lynch family began renting from the US-based descendants of the Inn’s founder, David O’Sullivan. They eventually bought its lease in 1996 and subsequently subleased the restaurant to tenants, which they called Pier 26, while the bar & B&B continued under its name Inn by The Harbour.
Fast-forward to 2017, Ballycotton-born Pearse Flynn had a desire to bring something new to the Ballycotton restaurant scene. He purchased the entire venue and lease from the Lynch family.
He wanted to offer the very best in contemporary Irish cuisine and accommodation. The entire premises operated under the name Pier 26 and it soon emerged as one of the best seaside restaurant, not only in Cork, but in Ireland.