‘The story of Inishmurray Island is a tale of two communities, each now deserted, each in its own era confronting great challenges. Today a visitor on a day trip from Mullaghmore might be tempted to idealise an imagined life on a small island 7 km out in Donegal Bay, with a postcard-perfect view of Ben Bulben and Knocknarea at the front door. But the monks who lived here were terrorised by the Norsemen starting early in the ninth century, forcing them to take their monastic life to the mainland. And in the modern era the last six households of Inishmurray—46 souls—abandoned their modest homes in 1948, trading their lives of sparse but splendid isolation on an island with neither doctor nor priest for cottages on the Sligo coast.’  Excerpt from Voices from the Dawn

The 10th of October saw our ‘Gappers’ take a two day trip to the island of Inishmurray, where they visited the monastic site and village that has long since been abandoned. The weather was cold and crisp, but the fire and steaming coffee kept it at bay. Exploring the monastic site had Molly pondering, but let’s hope that she wasn’t tempted to pick up the ‘Cursing Stones’ and put a curse on any of her fellow travellers.

Molly at the Cursing Stones

“When vengeance is desired…the stones are thrice turned, the curse being ‘loosed’ at each revolution…Woe to him, however, who anathematizes his neighbour wrongly, as the curse can have no effect on the innocent, and is sure to recoil, exactly as uttered, on the head of the issuer”

Hot Cuppa to Keep the Cold at Bay

Hot Cuppa to Keep the Cold at Bay

 

Grinding Barley on Inishmurray 1900

R. J. Welch’s posed photograph of an old woman, Mary Heraughty, grinding grain with a circular quernstone on Inishmurray, Co. Sligo, in September 1900. In early medieval Ireland such a task would also have been women’s work, and these objects may well have been symbolically and ideologically associated with women. (Welch, Robert John, E. Estyn Evans, and Brian S. Turner. Ireland’s Eye: The Photographs of Robert John Welch. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1977.)

The last house on Inishmurray abandoned in 1948

The last house abandoned in 1948

Campfire's Burning Bright

Campfire’s Burning Bright

Moonlit night on Inishmurray

Moonlit night on Inishmurray

Dawn Breaking on Inishmurray

Dawn Breaking on Inishmurray

Sophia Enjoying the Tranquillity of Inishmurray

Sophia Enjoying the Tranquillity of Inishmurray

Inishmurray camping

 

 

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