A century ago, a child was born on a remote island in the far west of Ireland. The community was small but unusually rich in language and culture. After the death of his brother, as life there became harder, the island had to be abandoned. The boy went to America, but never forgot his home. Decades later, as a very old man, the last islandman risked his life to return to the Great Blasket, one last time. Here is the story of that day.Read more
“I don’t know if I will be able to make it,” says Mike Carney, looking out across a wild stretch of water to the place where he was born 92 years ago. “I would like to put my feet down there one more time, but I wonder, is it possible?”Read more "1. Dreams of Home"
They were a tribe out of time, living with no fuel but the turf and speaking an old, pure form of Irish that had died away elsewhere. But the people of the Great Blasket have nearly all died away themselves, now.Read more "2. The Best Of Days"
This was a great act of heroism, inspired by raging grief and a sense of helplessness. If the youngest and strongest could be cut down like this, what future could the island have?Read more "3. The Worst Of Days"
It is time for Dr Mike to put a lifejacket over his tweed jacket and cap, and try to get back to the island one last time. Even if it means risking his life.Read more "4. The Last Islandman"
We shake hands, to say goodbye. I notice he is trembling. Is it the cold? The exhaustion? He says simply, as a matter of fact, “I will never see you again.”Read more "5. Saying Goodbye"