Peig would be pleased as Great Blasket to get a toilet

Peig would be pleased as Great Blasket to get a toilet

Author Peig Sayers wrote about her life on Great Blasket Island, living in two homes during the near-50 years she spent on the island.

It's a happy ending of sorts, and maybe one that would even have made Peig Sayers crack a smile of satisfaction — Great Blasket Island is to get a toilet.

The Irish Examiner's report that visitors to the island had been defecating in the ruins of author's home has prompted junior minister Patrick O’Donovan to say that he expected the facilities would be in place by next summer.

He also promised new signage would be erected to remind people to stay away from seals, after concerns that some day trippers were approaching them to take selfies.

OPW [the Office of Public Works], on my request, are looking at a number of different issues on an Blascaod Mór that includes a landing point, public facilities; it also includes greater management and looking after the environment and the number of people visiting there," said Mr O'Donovan.

Referring to the island's "very constrained" environment, he said providing facilities was "a priority for me" and he did not know why an earlier recommendation had not been acted upon.

Regarding the behaviour of some visitors, including people interfering with young seals, he said he wanted people to "exercise some cop-on".

Grey seals often come in close on the Great Blasket Island.
Grey seals often come in close on the Great Blasket Island.

The concerns were raised by Brock Montgomery and Claire de Haas, who left the Great Blasket Island on Tuesday having acted as caretakers since the start of April.

Brock, a 30-year-old Canadian former ice-hockey star, said: “The island has taught me to be in the moment a little bit more.

Living on the island kind of forces you to relax.” 

Brock Montgomery and Claire de Haas with their dog Lenny. Picture: by Noel Sweeney
Brock Montgomery and Claire de Haas with their dog Lenny. Picture: by Noel Sweeney

Claire, 27, said: “When we arrived back in Dingle, we had gone from somewhere that was so quiet to hearing cars again.

“It was strange. It may not have actually been busy when we arrived, but for us, it was like there was just so much going on again.”

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