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Scattery Island one of sixty islands surrounding Ireland no longer inhabited

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Remnants of the last remaining inhabitants of Scattery Island last to this day, 32 years after their departure.

Ireland stands alone on the uppermost Western corner of Europe. Surrounded by water all on sides. It is the third largest island in Europe and is surrounded by 80 smaller islands. Only twenty of these remain inhabited to this day.

In 1978, Scattery Island off the coast of Kilrush Co. Clare said goodbye to its last remaining inhabitants. However, the remnants of community still survive to this very day.

A row of houses opening onto a vacuous street, still leaves the lulls of lives once lived. Patty McMahon and her brother Austin were the last two individuals to take to the mainland. The landscape tells a tale of islanders sustaining themselves with the ardent demands of agriculture and fishing.

Second names native to Co. Clare made up the heart of the community. Amongst them were Brennans, Hehirs, McMahons, Morans and Griffins.

Looking at the etymology of the island, Scattery or Scatt derives from the Nordic word for ‘treasure’. Essentially, a real-life treasure island. Vikings laid claim to the island in the tenth century until Brian Boru took measures into his own hands, slaying Ivar of Limerick in 977.

The island also accommodated a British defence camp during the Napoleonic wars. Past wartime afflictions mar the island despite the scholastic grandeur of monastic settlement scattered around the island.

An avid reader from a young age, Cian’s love of the archives has been shared by Clare Echo readers who enjoy his Reeling in The Years section. Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton were his favourites writers in his younger years while he was always a fan of studying the opinion columns in The Irish Independent. A past pupil of Lissycasey National School and St Flannan’s College, he is currently completing his final year studies at the University of Limerick in New Media and English. From September, he will be commencing a Masters Degree in Journalism at UL.

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