Photos of The Blasket Islands: Great Blasket Island, Inis Tuaisceart, Beiginis, Tiaracht, Inis na Bró and Inisvickillane by Helene Brennan
The Blasket Islands are a group of Islands off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry Ireland. They are the most westerly islands in Europe.
Great Blasket Island 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.
To spend a day on the island feels like a great privilege - walking amongst the ruins, paddling on the beach under the watchful eyes of the seals and sea birds, walking the length of the island to marvel at the views of the other islands and mainland and enjoy the peace and tranquility away from traffic. To spend a night or two is totally magical, to observe the changing colours of the sunset, listen to the whispering sounds of the sea and the gentle summer breeze, have a glass or two of wine beside a turf fire and ponder at the lives of the people who once lived there, with their language, music, dance, and also their many hardships. As midnight approaches one can experience the unforgettable cacophony of the Manx Shearwater returning in their thousands to their colonies.
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