It is 20 years since I last visited this large island in the Rosses, West Donegal
Situated next door to Owey Island it has about 500 full-time residents, serviced by two car ferries in regular daily crossings
What remains of the old wall system are the bouldery granite kind
But the uninhabited northern shore is treachery itself – with cliffs of 120 meters
A harsh outpost, the lighthouse dates from 1798 – only gulls and sheep left here.
Here we find a pristine bog – worked with exactitude and respect – with sods carefully replaced after turf has been extracted.
Upon enquiry, we are told that the man responsible is known as ‘Donnelly’
A rigorous man who, we are told, has also built a mysterious structure high upon a hill above his bog.
We set to investigate & after a steep climb reach a beautifully crafted road.
Then at the summit we behold..
Donnelly has used a natural rock outcrop to build a cabin.
Up here, the granite is brittle & angular
Implanted into the mountainside, at the front he had to dig 10 feet down, to reach stone foundation
Mostly dry stone work, with a little cement towards the top, these battered walls are 4.5 foot wide at the base..
Donnelly intends to install a sod roof upon these scaffold pipes
We are talking here about the labour of ONE man.
Over two WINTERS.
Equipped ONLY with a spade & a hammer (and a bottle of poitín)
Some Irish people are plain astonishing.