An Island, Its Life, People and History
In the far northwest of Connemara, off the shores of Claddaghduff a single tidal island comprising an area of approximately 220 hectares of granite, sand and pasturage is the focus for Strands of Omey’s Story. This is the first publication of its kind by a Connemara author, which gives a brief insight into a now-lost way of life, experiences and events of yesteryear.
Due to the tidal nature of this beautiful and historic island, situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, it is possible at low tide, to walk or drive across the large sandy beach that separates it from the mainland at Claddaghduff. In pre-famine times the island had a population of 400 which decreased gradually over the decades resulting in its final abandonment in 2017, with the passing of its sole resident Pascal Whelan, a well known former stuntman and much-loved guardian of the island’s heritage.
Omey has a rich and varied history, where over the centuries, its people witnessed paganism, the coming of Christianity, proselytism, politics, foreigners and famine.
Today, the arrival to its shores of the many visitors, both regular and casual breathes new life that energizes the place. It is a very enriching and uplifting experience to spend a short time in this island haven, walking its sacred ground in the footsteps of the saints of old, and perhaps to ‘linger longer for old time sake’ in an effort to contemplate and unravel life’s mysteries and intricacies ‘far from the madding crowd.’