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#islanderstv3 – Islanders is an emotional TV series following the lives of native islanders across an entire year. Filmed in 2014, this observational documentary is the biggest in-house production undertaken by 3Studios. From Arranmore, Co. Donegal via Inishturk in Co. Mayo to Whiddy in Co.Cork, this four part series captures a way-of-life rapidly disappearing.

As reported by Afloat back last month, the series is set within breath-taking landscapes, the islanders' stories are emotive, uplifting and told with honesty and frankness. Narrated by Irish actor Andrew Bennett ('Angela's Ashes', 'Garage', 'The Stag'), this is a landmark series for TV3, supported by the BAI.

Episode 1 begins 14 kilometres out from the Mayo coast, where the beautiful island of Inishturk reveals itself. With just 55 residents, it is home to Bríd Heanue (33) and her son Nathan (12). Bríd's eldest son Chris (16) lives and schools on the mainland.

With no secondary school on Inishturk Nathan will be leaving the island in September to join his brother at Rice College in Westport. It is a day Bríd dreads.

"In September, Nathan is leaving to go to school. That's a very emotional subject with me. It's going to be heart-breaking for me as he's been my little baby here at home. I'm going to find that very hard. All of our family are going to find that hard."

Nathan's leaving in September is going to affect the whole family – his mother will be losing her son, whilst the island will be losing another islander.

The series premiere also brings us down the coast to County Cork and in Bantry Bay, Whiddy island is the home place of twenty-two people. Here we meet two contrasting brothers: fisherman Danny O'Leary (51) and his brother Tim O'Leary (44), who is the islands publican, ferryman and post-man.

Last year the brothers got a rude awakening when they travelled to Inis Oirr on the Aran Islands for the first time. They were taken aback that other islanders had never heard of Whiddy. The few that had heard of Whiddy didn't think there were people living and working on it. The brothers were shocked and when they returned home they vowed to put their island and community back on the map.

Northwards, in the Donegal Gaeltacht, sits the stunning island of Arranmore. Just three kilometres from the coast, Arranmore has two car ferries, two co-operatives, a fire-service, a secondary school and even a nightclub! Outwardly it seems perfect but it has a problem, a problem emblematic of many islands – its population is in swift decline.

Dr Shirley Gallagher (early 40s) is a typical Arranmore Islander, born off the island in London whilst her island parents were working there, the family were reared on Arranmore. Shirley is well-travelled, well-educated and well able to speak her mind. Working in Sustainability & Environmental issues, Shirley returned home two years ago to apply all her learning and experience to her own home. She believes there are those on the island that don't want to see change whilst others are apathetic:

"When I saw the statistics on population decline I was truly shocked. You see the empty houses and derelict homes all around the place but it didn't really trigger. I thought I need to do something about this – and here I am."

Also a resident of Arranmore is mild-mannered fisherman Neilie Kavanagh (mid 40s). Although preparing for the busy season ahead, Neilie is heartbroken over the decline of the inshore fishing industry in Arranmore. The 'injustice' of what has happened to his fishing village is deeply felt and it is hard not to feel sympathy for him. He explains the Catch-22 of the 'harsh regulations'. If he is caught fishing illegally his licence will be revoked and his father's family boat will no longer be able to fish. He is the custodian of the boat – the St. Anthony, built by his father on Arranmore over 40 years ago. Neilie has never worked or lived off Arranmore.

With many twists and turns along the way, Islanders will follow the lives and stories of these characters over a tumultuous year, to learn what threatens their survival, to discover a different way of life, and to share in what it means to be an islander.

The series premiere of 'Islanders' airs this Wednesday at 9pm on TV3.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#islandlife – Coming to TV3 in April, Islanders is an emotional series following the lives of native islanders across an entire year. Filmed in 2014, this observational documentary is the biggest in-house production undertaken by TV3 Productions.

From Arranmore, Co. Donegal via Inishturk in Co. Mayo to Whiddy in Co.Cork, this four part series captures a way-of-life rapidly disappearing.

Set within breath-taking landscapes, the islanders' stories are emotive, uplifting and told with honesty and frankness. Narrated by Irish actor Andrew Bennett ('Angela's Ashes', 'Garage', 'The Stag'), this is a landmark series for TV3 Productions and the BAI.

Islanders features stories including two brothers' solemn promise to revive their island; a tug of loyalty between a mother's children and her island; a long-distance love story set 14 kilometres out to sea; a lone fisherman fighting bureaucracy to save his islands future and an embattled activist trying to galvanise her community.

Episode 1 begins 14 kilometres out from the Mayo coast, where the beautiful island of Inishturk reveals itself. With just 55 residents, it is home to Bríd Heanue (33) and her son Nathan (12). Bríd's eldest son Chris (15) lives and schools on the mainland.
With no secondary school on Inishturk Nathan will be leaving the island in September to join his brother at Rice College in Westport. It is a day Bríd dreads.

"I have two boys, Nathan and Chris. They are my world the two of them. We are a little pack the three of us. They adore Inishturk, it's their little piece of paradise.

"In September, Nathan is leaving to go to school. That's a very emotional subject with me. It's going to be heart-breaking for me as he's been my little baby here at home. I'm going to find that very hard. All of our family are going to find that hard."

The series premiere also brings us down the coast to County Cork where we meet two contrasting brothers on Whiddy Island: fisherman Danny O'Leary (51) and his brother Tim O'Leary (43).

In Donegal, we meet Dr Shirley Gallagher (40s) – a typical Arranmore Islander, born off the island in London whilst her island parents were working there, the family were reared on Arranmore. Shirley is well-travelled, well-educated and well able to speak her mind.

Also a resident of Arranmore is mild-mannered fisherman Neilie Kavanagh (40s). Although preparing for the busy season ahead, Neilie is heartbroken over the decline of the inshore fishing industry in Arranmore. He is the custodian of his father's boat – the St. Anthony, built by his father on Arranmore over 40 years ago. Neilie has never worked or lived off Arranmore.

With many twists and turns along the way, Islanders will follow the lives and stories of these characters to learn what threatens their survival, to discover a different way of life, and to share in what it means to be an islander.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#RNLI - Volunteers from Arklow RNLI in Co Wicklow are to feature in a Christmas special to be broadcast on TV3.

The documentary, Unsung Heroes, will highlight the efforts of those who provide the essential rescue service throughout the year, including over the festive season.



It will be broadcast twice over Christmas, first at 8pm on Friday 21 December and again at 8pm on Sunday 23 December.



A TV3 film crew spent the morning of Tuesday 27 November at Arklow RNLI filming at what is the oldest of the 44 lifeboat stations in Ireland.



Producer Patrick Kinsella and cameraman Vinnie Broderick shadowed the volunteers on a training-based exercise when they launched their all-weather Trent class lifeboat, the Ger Tiighcelarr



"The documentary is about unsung heroes," said Kinsella, "and I suppose given my own experience having worked in the shipping industry, I feel the RNLI and its people – the men and women who run and manage this organisation - cannot be praised enough for putting their lives at risk to save others, and I think this programme is a good way to shine a light on the work they do."



During the exercise, Kinsella and Broderick had the opportunity to experience first-hand and get a glimpse of the level of training required by RNLI volunteers to become highly skilled and efficient in order to carry out lifesaving work which can often be difficult and sometimes dangerous.



Interviews were carried out with lifeboat operations manager Jimmy Tyrell, coxswain Ned Dillon and volunteer crew member Stephen Furlong.
 
Tyrell said filming with TV3 was a great opportunity to showcase the commitment of volunteers, not only in Arklow but in the many other coastal and inland water communities across Ireland.

He said the RNLI wouldn’t exist without fundraising, adding that the charity was totally reliant on the generosity of the public and indebted to work of fundraisers at station branches as well as those raising money inland.



Tyrell also said crew members would happily exchange their Christmas dinner and the comfort of their homes should the need arise this year to help anyone who may find themselves in difficulty at sea.



"It is because of the willingness and selfless nature of our volunteers, who will readily swap leisure, comfort and sleep for cold, wet and fatigue that the charity can provide an on-call, 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service here," he said. "The RNLI depends on its volunteers who give their time, skill and commitment, even at Christmas time.


"Indeed, while our lifeboats are busy all year round, some of the most challenging callouts can occur over the winter months. And while most of us will be enjoying the Christmas festivities with our loved ones, we know that somewhere, RNLI lifeboats will be launched to help save lives at sea."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
A TV producer is seeking surfers to take part in the next series of TV3's hit dating programme Take Me Out.
Sideline Productions is looking for both male and female "fun loving" contestants to audition for the enertainment show, where Today FM's Ray Foley plays cupid to thirty lovely ladies all hoping to find their perfect man.
This time around, the men of Ireland's surfing community are being encouraged to give it a shot.
Sideline wants singles who feel they have "the style and the personality to wow a TV3 primetime audience"
Application forms are available from www.tv3.ie/takemeout. The closing date is 31 October.

A TV producer is seeking surfers to take part in the next series of TV3's hit dating programme Take Me Out.

Sideline Productions is looking for both male and female "fun loving" contestants to audition for the enertainment show, where Today FM's Ray Foley plays cupid to thirty lovely ladies all hoping to find their perfect man. 

This time around, the men of Ireland's surfing community are being encouraged to give it a shot.

Sideline wants singles who feel they have "the style and the personality to wow a TV3 primetime audience".

Application forms are available from www.tv3.ie/takemeout. The closing date for submissions is 31 October.

Published in Surfing

Ireland's offshore islands

Around 30 of Ireland's offshore islands are inhabited and hold a wealth of cultural heritage.

A central Government objective is to ensure that sustainable vibrant communities continue to live on the islands.

Irish offshore islands FAQs

Technically, it is Ireland itself, as the third largest island in Europe.

Ireland is surrounded by approximately 80 islands of significant size, of which only about 20 are inhabited.

Achill island is the largest of the Irish isles with a coastline of almost 80 miles and has a population of 2,569.

The smallest inhabited offshore island is Inishfree, off Donegal.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Starting with west Cork, and giving voting register numbers as of 2020, here you go - Bere island (177), Cape Clear island (131),Dursey island (6), Hare island (29), Whiddy island (26), Long island, Schull (16), Sherkin island (95). The Galway islands are Inis Mór (675), Inis Meáin (148), Inis Oírr (210), Inishbofin (183). The Donegal islands are Arranmore (513), Gola (30), Inishboffin (63), Inishfree (4), Tory (140). The Mayo islands, apart from Achill which is connected by a bridge, are Clare island (116), Inishbiggle (25) and Inishturk (52).

No, the Gaeltacht islands are the Donegal islands, three of the four Galway islands (Inishbofin, like Clifden, is English-speaking primarily), and Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire in west Cork.

Lack of a pier was one of the main factors in the evacuation of a number of islands, the best known being the Blasket islands off Kerry, which were evacuated in November 1953. There are now three cottages available to rent on the Great Blasket island.

In the early 20th century, scholars visited the Great Blasket to learn Irish and to collect folklore and they encouraged the islanders to record their life stories in their native tongue. The three best known island books are 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. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey also kept a residence on his island, Inishvickillaune, which is one of the smaller and less accessible Blasket islands.

Charles J Haughey, as above, or late Beatle musician, John Lennon. Lennon bought Dorinish island in Clew Bay, south Mayo, in 1967 for a reported £1,700 sterling. Vendor was Westport Harbour Board which had used it for marine pilots. Lennon reportedly planned to spend his retirement there, and The Guardian newspaper quoted local estate agent Andrew Crowley as saying he was "besotted with the place by all accounts". He did lodge a planning application for a house, but never built on the 19 acres. He offered it to Sid Rawle, founder of the Digger Action Movement and known as the "King of the Hippies". Rawle and 30 others lived there until 1972 when their tents were burned by an oil lamp. Lennon and Yoko Ono visited it once more before his death in 1980. Ono sold the island for £30,000 in 1984, and it is widely reported that she donated the proceeds of the sale to an Irish orphanage

 

Yes, Rathlin island, off Co Antrim's Causeway Coast, is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island. As a special area of conservation, it is home to tens of thousands of sea birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. It is known for its Rathlin golden hare. It is almost famous for the fact that Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, retreated after being defeated by the English at Perth and hid in a sea cave where he was so inspired by a spider's tenacity that he returned to defeat his enemy.

No. The Aran islands have a regular ferry and plane service, with ferries from Ros-a-Mhíl, south Connemara all year round and from Doolin, Co Clare in the tourist season. The plane service flies from Indreabhán to all three islands. Inishbofin is connected by ferry from Cleggan, Co Galway, while Clare island and Inishturk are connected from Roonagh pier, outside Louisburgh. The Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory island also have ferry services, as has Bere island, Cape Clear and Sherkin off Cork. How are the island transport services financed? The Government subsidises transport services to and from the islands. The Irish Coast Guard carries out medical evacuations, as to the RNLI lifeboats. Former Fianna Fáíl minister Éamon Ó Cuív is widely credited with improving transport services to and from offshore islands, earning his department the nickname "Craggy island".

Craggy Island is an bleak, isolated community located of the west coast, inhabited by Irish, a Chinese community and one Maori. Three priests and housekeeper Mrs Doyle live in a parochial house There is a pub, a very small golf course, a McDonald's fast food restaurant and a Chinatown... Actually, that is all fiction. Craggy island is a figment of the imagination of the Father Ted series writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, for the highly successful Channel 4 television series, and the Georgian style parochial house on the "island" is actually Glenquin House in Co Clare.

Yes, that is of the Plassey, a freighter which was washed up on Inis Oírr in bad weather in 1960.

There are some small privately owned islands,and islands like Inishlyre in Co Mayo with only a small number of residents providing their own transport. Several Connemara islands such as Turbot and Inishturk South have a growing summer population, with some residents extending their stay during Covid-19. Turbot island off Eyrephort is one such example – the island, which was first spotted by Alcock and Brown as they approached Ireland during their epic transatlantic flight in 1919, was evacuated in 1978, four years after three of its fishermen drowned on the way home from watching an All Ireland final in Clifden. However, it is slowly being repopulated

Responsibility for the islands was taking over by the Department of Rural and Community Development . It was previously with the Gaeltacht section in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

It is a periodic bone of contention, as Ireland does not have the same approach to its islands as Norway, which believes in right of access. However, many improvements were made during Fianna Fáíl Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív's time as minister. The Irish Island Federation, Comdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, represents island issues at national and international level.

The 12 offshore islands with registered voters have long argued that having to cast their vote early puts them at a disadvantage – especially as improved transport links mean that ballot boxes can be transported to the mainland in most weather conditions, bar the winter months. Legislation allowing them to vote on the same day as the rest of the State wasn't passed in time for the February 2020 general election.

Yes, but check tide tables ! Omey island off north Connemara is accessible at low tide and also runs a summer race meeting on the strand. In Sligo, 14 pillars mark the way to Coney island – one of several islands bearing this name off the Irish coast.

Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire is the country's most southerly inhabited island, eight miles off the west Cork coast, and within sight of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, also known as the "teardrop of Ireland".
Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast, which has a monastic site dating from the 6th century. It is accessible by boat – prebooking essential – from Portmagee, Co Kerry. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not open to visitors in 2020.
All islands have bird life, but puffins and gannets and kittiwakes are synonymous with Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Rathlin island off Antrim and Cape Clear off west Cork have bird observatories. The Saltee islands off the Wexford coast are privately owned by the O'Neill family, but day visitors are permitted access to the Great Saltee during certain hours. The Saltees have gannets, gulls, puffins and Manx shearwaters.
Vikings used Dublin as a European slaving capital, and one of their bases was on Dalkey island, which can be viewed from Killiney's Vico road. Boat trips available from Coliemore harbour in Dalkey. Birdwatch Ireland has set up nestboxes here for roseate terns. Keep an eye out also for feral goats.
Plenty! There are regular boat trips in summer to Inchagoill island on Lough Corrib, while the best known Irish inshore island might be the lake isle of Innisfree on Sligo's Lough Gill, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem of the same name. Roscommon's Lough Key has several islands, the most prominent being the privately-owned Castle Island. Trinity island is more accessible to the public - it was once occupied by Cistercian monks from Boyle Abbey.

©Afloat 2020

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