In 1987, I took the small ferry from Dunquin to the Great Blasket Island for the first time.
I stayed the night in the hostel as the only guest. Very early in the morning the lady of the hostel took me for a walk over the island, before we went to sleep.
Two years later, I realized there were fishing currachs at Dunquin pier.
In 1993, I brought my sea kayak and had one trip to the Great Blasket Island from Coomeenole beach and one from Dunquin pier. Ritchie, the owner of the Rainbow hostel warned me to be very careful. Many experienced fishermen have been drowned in the Blasket Sound, he said. Although it was very quiet day, the waves got very high in the middle of the sound, but my little kayak luckily could handle that.
According to Tomas O’Crohan, the Blasket islanders got hold of a fishing currach pretty late and then probably started to build them themselves, which changed their economics a lot. There is plenty of photographic material available from the old days and their boats obviously don’t differ from the Dingle type.
Currach model from Dunquin, 1967
Artist Maria Simmons Gooding visits the Blasket Islands in a currach to get inspiration for her paintings, 1967