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“The Deserted Village of Slievemore”


Slievemore, Achill IslandCounty Mayo, Ireland

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Slievemore, Achill IslandCounty Mayo, Ireland

This Deserted Village at ‘Slievemore’ consists of around 100 stone cottages located along a mile-long stretch of path on the slopes of ‘Slievemore mountain’. The general area itself is rich in archaeological artefacts including megalithic tombs dating from the Neolithic period some 5,000 years ago. Field tests & site excavations indicate that settlement in this village dates from at least early Medieval times.

These homes were built without any cement or mortar to hold the stones together, only the weight of each stone & gravity held these walls intact. Each home consisted of just one room & this room was used as a kitchen, living room, bedroom & even as a stable during winter months! Most of these houses had opposing doorways to facilitate families on their daily task of milking cows. The cow was taken in one door, milked & then taken out through the other door ?

If you look around these ruins, you can see lazy-bed ridges & furrows along these small patched fields. These were used to grow potatoes for families to survive as it was primarily their only source of food. The village was gradually abandoned because of the many evictions for non-payment of rent during the ‘Great Famine’ of 1845-49. Followed by mass emigration throughout the successive years due to lack of food & work.

Whilst flying over this Deserted Village at ‘Slievemore’ I honestly felt emotional. I gained an “angel’s view” looking down over what was once an area full of life & joy on one of the worlds most scenic locations. It saddened me when thinking on what happened here during those few terrible years of famine. Which was so devastating that this large village slowly turned to ruin & its people never returned…..

I hope they are at peace now when they also look down from their “angels view” over these homes & land that they cherished ??

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