The Blasket Island Guide
When walking the Dingle Way and rounding the corner of Slea Head, the Blasket Islands come into view and dominate the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean. A strong urge of curiosity develops when looking at the distant ruins of a small village and wondering what life must have been like on the Island in times gone past.
From the early Twentieth Century, the population fell into decline due to emigration to America. As life became increasingly difficult for those remaining behind, the Irish Government eventually took the decision to evacuate the remainder of inhabitants in 1953 and relocate many of them to Dunquin. Since that time, the last of the Islanders have now died and that important historic link has nearly all but died.
Since the mid-1960s, Ray Stagles has been a frequent visitor to the Island and Sue Redican (co-author of this guide) has also worked as a weaver on the Island each Summer for over twenty years. Together, they have put together a very informative walking guide that includes the history, flora and fauna of the Blaskets. There are a numerous beautifully-taken photographs spread throughout the entire publication and a series of maps which locate all of the main landmarks.
Throughout the Summer season, there are frequent ferry crossings to the Island, although these are very dependent on conditions at sea. It is possible to get a ferry to the Blaskets from both Dingle and Dunquin, so the best advice is to allocate a flexible day or two in this region and catch the ferry at the first opportunity and have a fall-back day if the trip doesn't work out at first.
In addition to visiting the Island, a trip to the Blascaod Centre in Dunquin is highly-recommended. It offers an opportunity to learn more about the history of the Blaskets.