THERE was a very emotional occasion recently for Cape Clear residents as Chuck and Nell Kruger bid farewell to their island home of 25 years.
Americans Chuck and Nell regarded Cape Clear as their home. They first saw Cape Clear in 1986 and both fell in love with the rugged landscape, and felt a spiritual connection with the island right from the start. They moved permanently to Cape Clear in 1992 having purchased 60 acres of land.
As to why the couple chose to live on Cape Clear for 25 years, Chuck simply said: “Cape choose us.”
Chuck and Nell left America in 1966, partly in protest against the Vietnam War and also because they wanted to experience life in Europe. They moved to Switzerland where Chuck taught English literature, they raised three children and ended up staying there for 26 years.
Following their move to Cape Clear in 1992, Chuck and Nell immersed themselves in the life of the island and of West Cork and became very much part of island tradition. And what a legacy Chuck and Nell have left behind, not only on their beloved Cape Clear but all over West Cork.
Chuck, a multi-award winning author, wrote more than 10 books about Cape Clear and has published numerous books of poetry and short stories. He has also broadcast frequently, mainly on RTÉ’s Sunday Miscellany, about life on the Cape and many other things besides.
Chuck’s novel, The Man Who Talks To Himself, published in 1998 won the Hubris Prize for Literature, and he also won other prestigious awards including the Dubliner Short story literary contest in 2002 and the Bryan McMahon Short story competition in 2003. He has also won many accolades for his poetry.
Part of the couple’s great legacy is the Cape Clear Storytelling Festival which they established in 1994.
Chuck was also a very good friend of Skibbereen and District Historical Society and contributed to a number of the society’s journals.
Chuck and Nell have returned to America for practical reasons. They have moved to an apartment in Pennsylvania to be near family and to have the security of being near medical facilities as they get older.
We wish Chuck and Nell the very best on their ‘retirement’ to Pennsylvania and thank them for contributing so much to the social and cultural life of West Cork for the past 25 years.