A few miles off shore north Donegal lays this stunning little island. It actually looks more like a paradise island with its own sandy beach, surrounded by turquoise waters. Its colourful past is also very similar to that from an island of the Caribbean, with tales of ‘pirates & rum’……. well ‘pirated poitin’ but I suppose it’s close enough!
In 1841 a schooner called the “James Cook” was hit by a gale and struck some rocks near Glashedy Island and broke up. The captain and nine crew drowned. One man managed to reach this island. However the weather was too rough to allow a rescue boat to reach the island. Finally after 2 days the Coastguard managed to reach the island & the survivor was rescued in an emaciated and exhausted state.
During the 19th and early 20th century this Island was used as a hide-out for making illegally distilled Poitin. In August 1900 the local police sergeant & coast guards mounted an expedition to this Island. They found several hundred gallons of “poitin” alongside a large quantity of distilling machinery. All was found in a cave which was converted to serve as a “still-house” This cave was also very well stocked with fuel and provisions
The part that makes me ponder in awe, is the fact that it took all of Donegal’s coastguards & police 2 solid days to rescue a marooned sailor off this island as the waters around here are so difficult….. yet the locals still managed to haul tons of poitin & distillery equipment to & from this island for years with ease whilst converting a sea cave into one of Ireland’s largest distilleries! They must have been expert sailors or just extremely passionate towards their drink!