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“Echoes of Inishsirrer Island”


Offshore Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland
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Offshore Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland

Inishsirrer is now a deserted island just under a mile off the north coast of Donegal along the Wild Atlantic Way. This small settlement of Inishsirrer was once a thriving fishing community. Today this little island is sadly uninhabited. All that remains is this little ‘Ghost Town’ with its abandoned cottages, shops, dry stone walls & small harbour all echoing it’s once bustling past….

I’ve recently been updated by the last family who lived on this island. They said that the main reason it was abandoned is because the young were hired out, married or sent to Scotland seeking work. The remaining elderly who lived off the land got too old to resume the hard life of fishing alone, so they re-homed on mainland. Their well ran dry… so to speak. Worse news for them was that their little boats called ‘Curraghs’ could not carry much weight resulting in these families having to leave all their heavy possessions & furniture behind. The homes on this island were virtually left the way they were the day the last residents rowed their boats away ? My heart goes out to those poor families. To this day nobody actually knows who owns this island or even if it is owned by anyone at all?

When I stare over this small island that is nowadays sadly left to the elements, I try to imagine how life may have been here back in the day. One can’t help but feel a strong sense of admiration towards its once hard-working community during the good times that have now sadly long passed… but I hope those memories & tales will never be forgotten and will be passed down throughout our future generations through stories, paintings & photography ?

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