‘Hoardes of ghouls’ — Villagers’ fury at swarm of dark tourism to Sophie idyll
Villagers in picturesque Schull in west Cork are furious at their rural idyll becoming a magnet of ‘dark tourism’ in the wake of film director Jim Sheridan’s Sophie Toscan du Plantier documentary.
The Sky documentary, Murder At The Cottage: The Search For Justice For Sophie, has renewed public interest in the 1996 murder in which the 39-year-old French woman was beaten to death at her holiday home.
After a chaotic series of Garda investigations, no one has been found guilty of her murder in Ireland.
But journalist Ian Bailey, who has strongly denied any involvement in her death and has strongly protested his innocence, was found guilty in France two years ago at a trial in his absence and where he was not legally represented.
In the wake of the documentary, locals claim the village has been invaded by ‘hordes of ghouls wandering around the place taking photographs’.
Dark tourism is a growing modern phenomenon where tourists visit sites associated with death, suffering and the macabre.
In Dublin such sites include Kilmainham Gaol and Glasnevin Cemetery, while in Belfast tourists can hop into black taxis and tour sites associated with the Troubles, before completing their day learning about the doomed Titanic.
Ghoulish interest might lure many tourists to landmarks, but most sites make significant efforts to contextualise their histories. The absence of such controls in Schull has, one source noted, ‘created pandemonium.’
Another source said: ‘Villagers are furious. It is ridiculous. They are gathering around various landmarks, like the Bailey variant of the Camino Way. All that is missing is a coffee stall and hot dogs.
‘They are looking at the Celtic Cross and the castle and the bridge, taking selfies at various critical points. There are literally queues waiting to be photographed.’
One appalled local noted: ‘There were 300 of them in the lane down to her house. It is a bit macabre. More selfies there. It is disrespectful, put bluntly.’
George Santayana: “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”.
If you want to jog your memory here are some interesting links.
The above article is written by Maeve Sheehan but I would recommend recent article in the Sunday Times which is more evidential than this link which is closer to the time of the murder and the court cases.