A Letter from Ireland:
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The inside of a Blasket Island Cottage

Inside of an old Blasket Island Cottage

Notice the old “settle” – I still remember them. If this was lived in after 1963 John F. Kennedy might well be up there alongside the sacred heart like so many households in Ireland.

The population growth, decline and death tracks so many of the huge events that affected our small Island home over the last few hundred years:

Iron Age: Evidence that the island was inhabited

1290: Leased to the Ferriter family for 2 hawks per year

1756: Charles Smith reports 5 or 6 families living there – “all in very good health compared to the mainlanders”.

1800: Influx of families due to population increase and evictions on mainland

1821 census: Population 128

1841 census: Population 153

1851 census: Population 97 (effect of great famine)

1901 census: Population 145

1947 census: Population 53 (effect of emigration)

1953 Island abandoned

Information and photo from the Blasket Interpretative Centre, Dunquin, County Kerry.

  • Donna McGill says:

    why was it abandoned?

    • Mike says:

      Expectations got high for services and so on. It was a very isolated island without the use of a helicopter – and the population was declining – Donna.

  • pat says:

    I’m thinking this is how my mothers people old homestead looked once. In 2008 I was fortunate to see inside and have a drink offered by the recent owners the Taltys. Of course they modernized it but I was happy to be able to say I stood where my people lived, cooked, laughed and cried. Call me Thankful.

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