Episide44: Arranmore Ferry
One of the places that we really wanted to visit on our trip was Arranmore Island not least because of the hugh connections between it and our own home place Achill Island. These connections mainly go back to the times when young people from both islands had to seasonally migrate to Scotland for the potato harvest. They were known as ”tatie hokers”. It was an exceptionally tough life as the living and working conditions for them in Scotland were atrocious. Many people from each island intermarried. Some returned to Arranmore or Achill but most remained in Scotland. Three disasters related to those unified the islands in grief. The Clew Bay disaster of 1894 where 34 emigrants were drowned near Westport, the Arranmore drowning of 1935 when 20 people returning from Scotland died and the Kirkintilloch fire disaster when 10 young boys from Achill were killed.
Today we accompanied Dominic Sweeney, the proprietor of Arranmore Ferry in the wheelhouse as we made the short 5Km crossing from Burtonport to Arranmore. If you have never been there before, we can highly recommend it. Even before we got to set foot on Arranmore, the views on the crossing were breathtaking. Dominic talked to us about the history of the islands that we passed during the crossing, the ferry business and how the future of the island looks brighter now than at anytime in the past.