The island of Great Blasket, off the west of Ireland, was abandoned on November 17, 1953. The people who had lived there, fishing and farming, warming their bones with turf fires and lighting their houses with seal-oil candles, had given up the struggle. They made new lives on the mainland or much further afield, so that Blasket Irish came to be spoken in the suburb of Hungry Hill, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Sixty years on, the last of the islandmen, Mike Carney, now 92, returned for a final look at the place where he was born. Cole Moreton, in today’s Seven magazine in The Sunday Telegraph, reports movingly on the homecoming.
There’s a modest reference in the piece to Cole Moreton’s book Hungry for Home, tracing the islanders’ journey from the edge of Ireland to Hungry Hill. You can find out more on Moreton’s own site.