Blasket Islands

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Blasket Islands
Native name: Na Blascaodaí
Blasket Islands as seen from Dunmore Head
Blasket Islands.png
Location map of the Blasket Islands
Location Atlantic Ocean
Total islands 6
Major islands
County Kerry
Population 0 (2011)

The Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodaí in Irish – etymology uncertain: it may come from the Norse word "brasker", meaning "a dangerous place") are an uninhabited group of islands off the west coast of Ireland, forming part of County Kerry.


The six principal islands of the Blaskets are:


The boat landing on the mainland near Dunquin, from where boats leave for the islands

They 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 because of the declining population and harsh nature of life on the island.[1][why?] Many[quantify] of the descendants currently[when?] live in Springfield, Massachusetts,[2][not in citation given] 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.

The Blasket Islands have erroneously been called Next Parish America,[1] based on the idea that the next parish west of the islands would be the United States. In fact, the next Roman Catholic parish west of the Blasket Islands is St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Panorama of the Blasket Islands against the afternoon sun


There is a ferry service that calls only to the Great Blasket and sails from Dunquin.[3] This ferry service is mainly for day-trippers. People can also camp on the island overnight. Passengers are transferred to a RIB (rigid-inflatable boat) once the ferry gets close to the island, as there are no adequate landing facilities for a larger vessel.


  1. ^ a b Stagles, Joan and Ray, The Blasket Islands: Next Parish America. Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1980 (new edn. 1998).
  2. ^ Flynn, Anne-Gerard (4 September 2015). "Irish president's tribute read at Blasket islander Michael Carney's Springfield funeral". Springfield Republican. Springfield, MA. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  3. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°05′21″N 10°32′49″W / 52.08917°N 10.54694°W / 52.08917; -10.54694