Tomás Ó Criomthain’s house on Blasket Islands opens following restoration. Investment will help grow and sustain tourism on Dingle Peninsula.

6 June 18

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has completed work on the restoration of the original house of the renowned Great Blasket Island writer Tomás Ó Criomhthain. The vision for the restored house is to provide an authentic visitor experience and bring to life the harsh living conditions endured by the local community before the Island was finally abandoned by the 22 remaining inhabitants in 1953. The house which was in a roofless, derelict condition has been restored in a traditional manner to a high standard.

Despite the daily challenges of the environment, the once thriving community produced many works of literature in Irish which are regarded as classics. Ó Criomhthain wrote the first and probably most important of these, An tOileánach (The Islandman) and was notably followed by Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty-Years-a-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin and Peig, an autobiography by Peig Sayers.

As part of the restoration project another house in the historic village was also restored and will act as a reception point for visitors and focus for OPW’s guide staff during the tourist season which runs from April until September and receives up to 10,000 visitors a year. The restoration programme of the two houses cost circa €300,000. The works were funded by the OPW and a grant from Fáilte Ireland under its Wild Atlantic Way Tourism Development Programme.

The Blasket Islands are designated a ‘Signature Point’ under the Programme and further improvements are planned at the Visitor Centre in Dún Chaoin on the mainland, which already receives 50,000 visitors every year. Tourism makes a vital contribution to the socio-economic fabric of this remote area on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula and this investment in a unique visitor attraction and experience is vital to sustain and grow tourism in this part of the country.

-ENDS-

For further information please contact OPW Client Services and Communications at 087 947 5552 or opwcsc@opw.ie 

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Notes to Editors

Works began in summer 2016 and were completed over the following two operational seasons. 

The Blasket Centre uses a full array of interpretative media to tell the story of the Island community.  However, the vision for the Island is far simpler, as visitors can be brought on a journey back in time to see the reality of how the islanders lived and can appreciate the unique isolation and beauty of the Great Blasket.