This is a project I am working on that I started in 2019. It is a series of portraits based on reference material that exists of the former inhabitants of the Great Blasket Island which is now uninhabited.
I moved to County Kerry in the late 80’s and had only heard of the Islands as being off the coast of Kerry and far away from Kenmare where I live. For many years my friend Deirdre and I had talked and planned an adventure to visit the Island and camp or stay overnight. Deirdre, who grew up in Kerry, had visited the Islands many times as a child for school trips and with her parents. The opportunity finally arrived in May 2019. We has a memorable boat trip, sleeping overnight in one of the old houses you can stay in and visited the strand and walked the entire perimeter of the Island. The atmosphere is indescribable and hauntingly beautiful, I had read The Islandman and images from the book filled my thoughts as we walked through the stone ruins of the village.
This is a portrait of Tomás O’Crohan born on the Great Blasket Island on 21st December in 1856. He wrote The Islandman, his autobiography, in his native language Irish, which was published in 1929.