Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

How a Mirror on a Paddle Saved The Lives of Divers and an Artist off the Kerry Coast

28th November 2023
Artist Maria Simonds Gooding with An File - Blasket islander Micheál O Gaoithín
Artist Maria Simonds Gooding with An File - Blasket islander Micheál O Gaoithín

Imagine being on your own on a Blasket island, dependent on several divers to come and collect you – and then their dinghy runs out of fuel.

If a fishing vessel hadn’t spotted the reflection of a mirror they had tied to the top of an oar, the divers and artist Maria Simonds-Gooding might not be here to tell the tale.

Not only that, but a particular encounter after they were all brought ashore would change her life.

Etching of Inis Mhic Oileáin by Maria Simonds-Gooding.jpegEtching of Inis Mhic Oileáin by Maria Simonds-Gooding

In her latest interview for Wavelengths, Simonds-Gooding recounts her experiences of living on the edge of the Kerry coast.

She also has some interesting observations on how Blasket islanders adjusted when they moved to the mainland after the government evacuated them in November 1953.

She first recalled that first visit to Inis Mhic Oileáin, where she had no means of communication as she waited for that lift back to the mainland.

Listen to Wavelengths below

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Afloat's Wavelengths Podcast with Lorna Siggins

Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...