The Blasket Islands seen here from Mount Eagle, is a group of six islands off the Dingle Peninsula, in the South West of Ireland. Below are some photos of the islands taken from a boat, and on some of the islands.
Above on the right is the iconic Sleeping Giant, Inis Tuaisceart, which locals also call the Fear Marbh (Dead Man). There are also as many different spellings as names of the island! He loses his sleeping man shape when viewed from the other side.
Above and below, the amazing Cathedral Rocks of Inis na Bró on the right, and on the left is Inis Tiaracht (Tearacht). The spellings of these islands varies.
Another view of Inis na Bró, below, as seen from Inis Vickillane. A little of Great Blasket Island is poking in on the right.
Also from Inis Vickillane, this is Inis Tiaracht again. A rocky island, the most westerly in Ireland, with a lighthouse (operational since 1870) and several houses, where three lighthouse keepers once lived, in amazingly challenging conditions, and kept goats, hens and rabbits. They even managed to grow vegetables. Some of the settlement can be seen on the above photo on the left, but the lighthouse is just around the corner.
The Sleeping Giant again, looking unrecognisable in this view from Inis Vickillane. (Above).
The famous Great Blasket above, with the mainland in the distance.
Still on Inis Vickillane, above is another view of The Tiaracht (left) and Inis na Bró (right).
Above and below, the remains of an early eighth century monastic settlement founded by St. Mocheallog on Inis Vickillane. This island was inhabited by a few families in more recent centuries. It’s hard to imagine how they lived on this wild island, which has very difficult access, being very dependent on weather and tide conditions. They would not have been able to hop in and out of boats for fishing any time they felt like it. The last permanent residents, the Ó Dálaighs raised a family of 10 children and were sole inhabitants on the island until the 1950s – from what date I don’t know. Currently the island is privately owned, and is used by the owners for holidays. I was lucky to gain an opportunity to visit the island briefly.
The next several photos are on Great Blasket Island, which is the largest of this island group, renowned for its abundant wildlife, particularly sea birds, its scenic beauty, and its interesting history. It is also famous for the many acclaimed writers who emerged from the vibrant community of people who once lived there. Their written accounts of life on the island are now considered to be classics of literature, and there are translations of these books in many countries of the world. The once thriving community of 150 or more people declined, as emigration, mainly to the USA, took its toll on the population, and when the Island was finally officially vacated in 1953 there were only 22 people living on the Island. The islanders homes fairly quickly fell to ruin, only a few of them have been maintained by their owners who use them for summer visits.
There is a beautiful beach on the island.
Walking on the heathery ridge of the island looking towards the mainland.
Ruins of the some of the homes on the island.
The above lovingly preserved house, still in the ownership of descendants of Island inhabitants, is where Méini the Blasket nurse and midwife lived, with her husband with whom she eloped when she was 19, and he a widower, until after his death when she moved back to the mainland.
I believe this bell was used in the 1970 film ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, filmed on the Dingle Peninsula, but I’ve no information about its origin.
Another view of The Sleeping Giant, this time from Great Blasket.
The small island above, close to Great Blasket is Beginis. Flat and windy, probably only ever used for grazing sheep.
Inis Vickillane, with the late afternoon sun shimmering on the water. Below is Inis Vickillane and Inis na Bró.
Returning to Dingle Harbour with the wash of the boat behind us. Dingle lighthouse can be seen on the left.
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