You can’t unsheathe it the whole way or you have to draw blood,” Adrienne McCarthy laughs as she takes her father’s samurai sword from beneath the counter of the lasar she runs in Castletownbere. Over the years, the family heirloom has become one of the more celebrated artefacts in the Co Cork fishing town, connected as it is to Air Commodore Aidan MacCarthy’s traumatic and valorous second World War experience, which took him from Dunkirk to a prisoner-of-war camp in Nagasaki when the atomic bomb vaporised the city.

The MacCarthy family were – and remain – Castletownbere old stock.

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