On my recent trip through the Magical, picturesque, authentic and beautiful English county of Cornwall there was a place that remained engraved in my memory and heart: St Ives. Perhaps it was because of the melancholic aura typical of the small coastal towns that, after the summer, remain in an introspective silence. Or maybe it was for their deserted beaches, by its green coast, its narrow streets full of small shops, its artistic vein or by the words of the great Tony Farrell, the man who told us the true story of a place whose idiosyncrasy goes far beyond that superficial festive atmosphere that takes over it during the summer months.
I think it was really a mixture of all that.
A little history about St Ives
The foundation of St Ives already preluded that it would become a magical place. And this town is takes the name of Santa Ia de Cornwall, an Irish martyr which, in the fifth or sixth century, crossed the Irish Sea to evangelize the people of Cornwall. Mind you, he didn't cross that sea anyway. The legend says that he stayed away from the rest of the group of evangelists who traveled to Cornwall. Caught on the Irish east coast, she saw a leaf in the sea and touched it with a stick. The leaf did not sink and, in addition, it was gaining size. Finally, its wingspan was such that this Irish princess crossed the sea mounted on it.
Today, the main church of St Ives, built in the early fifteenth century, is dedicated to it.
This area of England was always populated by people of indomitable spirit. St Ives has risen against the English government in several rebellions, of religious and political character, throughout the centuries.
Today, St Ives lives, above all, from tourism, but before, fishing and mining were the main sources of wealth. Not surprisingly, in 1890 it was still the fourth most important fishing port in all of England. That was what his elders told Tony Farrell, our interesting guide who unraveled the history and secrets of St Ives.
The pride and longing of the old and better past times surfaced in his eyes when he told us that his father had witnessed catches of 6 million sardines at once. The fishing was so abundant that tourists avoided approaching St Ives during the slaughter time, since they had to keep all that fish and the smell, both in St Ives and in the surroundings, was deeply unpleasant.
The passage of time made the extraction of fish and tin no longer so profitable, converting St Ives in a tourist town that lives the summer as if it were going to end the world, to rest in winter.
However, St Ives has something to offer you at all times.
What to see and visit in St. Ives
Guided tour of the streets of St Ives
Church of Santa Ia