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Blasket Islands, County Kerry

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Island
The Blasket Islands are a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland, forming part of County Kerry.GeographyThe six principal islands of the Blaskets are: Great Blasket Island (An Bhlascaod Mór)Beginish (Beiginis)Inishnabro (Inis na Bró)Inishvickillane (Inis Mhic Uileáin)Inishtooskert (Inis Tuaisceart)Tearaght Island (An Tiaracht)HistoryThey were inhabited until 1953 by a completely Irish-speaking population, and today are part of the Gaeltacht. The inhabitants were evacuated by the government to the mainland on 17 November 1953 due to the declining population and harsh nature of life on the island. Many of the descendants currently live in Springfield, Massachusetts, and some former residents still live on the Dingle Peninsula, within sight of their former home.The islanders were the subject of much anthropological and linguistic study around the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries particularly from writers and linguists such as Robin Flower, George Derwent Thomson and Kenneth H. Jackson. Thanks to their encouragement and that of others, a number of books were written by islanders that record much of the islands' traditions and way of life. These include An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin.
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  • One of the most amazing experiences of my life! Along with Billy, great guide and sympathetic person, we went as a group of about ten people from Dingle Bay in speed boat. Beautiful sitting on the back of this small and fast craft while you move away from the Bay to follow the spectacular rocky cliffs of Dingle peninsula. With our gaze on the sparkling water of the boat's wake and the waves crashing on the sides of the boat, Billy has brought us close to the caves and rocky ravines, pausing to explain what we were seeing. Then, at full speed, arrived on the open sea. Here we stopped at least a quarter of an hour to wait for the arrival of the dolphins. Everybody silently to scrutinize the waves all around us. From the air and on the sea surface vaulted flocks of many Gannets, which were diving at copofitto at sea, fast like torpedoes. Around the boat they reached dolphins, sea or leaping over the waves together beckoned and in the wake of water the boat at sea. Very close to us appeared the dark silhouette and impressive of a blue whale and we were all delighted and entranced by this spectacle of the sea and its creatures. After so much wonder, we landed aboard a small boat on the island, uninhabited and spectacular. Right away you notice the beautiful pink sand beach at the foot of the cliffs, covered with a thick green carpet grass. Through a steep but short natural staircase between the rocks, climb on top of Great Blasket. From the top the view is spectacular, with smaller islets in front and the mountains of Dingle Peninsula on the horizon. A sea blue with green shades under the eyes and in front of endless green slopes, grass paths, routes on which walk freely up to the limit of the cliffs outside the creeps. Wild bunnies, sheep, donkeys, and around chasing each other merrily on the lawns. Silence and sounds of seagulls, flying around or rest quietly on rocks at the edge of the meadows. We were freely on the island for about 4 hours, and can also have a snack with sconses and coffee at the small bar in a panoramic position with wooden tables and benches to be admired the skyline. The area is also scattered with the remains of old stone cottages, where lived the old inhabitants of the island: an old ghost town, where the hard life but authentic images of the Irish. Upon returning Billy took us by boat in a corner not far from the beach, where we were greeted by a group of seals, which appeared and disappeared with the snout from the sea surface. Arrived at Dingle Bay, we stopped along with other boats to wait the arrival of Fungie the Dolphin, which, like a divo, occurred several times to the delight of children and adults. A wonderful day and exciting in a unique place, one of those memories with his eyes still glistening with emotion!
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  • The midges were an unavoidable inconvenience, likewise the rude and exceedingly unreasonable boat taxi operators from 'blasket ferry and tours' in Dunquin. The island has great potential but I'd advis...  more »
  • Best adventure of my life as I'd always wanted to visit after reading Tomas O'Crohan, Peig Sayers, Maurice O'Sullivan and Robin Flower. You really should have hiking boots and a stick for getting up t...  more »