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‘The Silent Echoes of Inishsirrer’


Inishsirrer Island, Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland
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Inishsirrer Island, Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland

Silently resting offshore northwest Donegal can be found this small island settlement of Inishsirrer. 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 and small harbour all echoing its once bustling past.

Several factors contributed to its overall abandonment. Mainly because the younger generations were either hired out to work, married off or sent further away to Scotland seeking work. The remaining elderly who lived off the land where unable to resume the hard life of fishing alone, so they re-homed on the mainland. Their well ran dry… so to speak. Unfortunately for them their little boats called ‘Curraghs’ could not carry much weight resulting in these families having to leave all their heavy possessions and furniture behind. The homes on this island were virtually left the way they were the day the last residents rowed their boats away….

One can’t help but feel a strong sense of admiration towards this once hard-working community during the good times that have now long passed. Dancing across the waves could once be heard the sounds of dogs barking, chickens cooing, children laughing, fishermen singing now forgotten songs beneath squalling seagulls fighting for leftover fish discarded from the daily catch. In the evening the crackling sounds & smell of freshly lit turf fires from each cottage could be sensed from everywhere on this isle. Nowadays these are mere echoes from the past, deep silence is all that comes from Inishsirrer anymore…… I hope these tales will never be forgotten and be passed down our generations through stories, paintings & photography ????

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