Guide Service introduced to An Blascaod Mór (Great Blasket Island)
After months of preparation, the OPW Great Blasket Centre (Ionad An Bhlascaoid Mhóir), on the mainland at Dún Chaoin, initiated a guide service on the Great Blasket island on Thursday, 10 June.
Whilst on the island, the guides will be based in rented premises on An Slinneán Bán. Part of the rented accommodation includes a house, built by the Congested District Board , at the beginning of the 20th century, where Peig Sayers raised her family and related her stories.
Weather permitting, there will be two OPW guides on duty on the island every day and there will be guided tours of the island village, at intervals, according to demand.
The guide service will be administered from the Great Blasket Centre and local ferries will be used to bring the guides, from the pier at Dún Chaoin, to An Blascaod Mór every morning and back to the mainland on the last ferry leaving the island.
The State, through the OPW, purchased the majority of the titles on the Great Blasket early in 2009, including most of the ruined village, leaving the State now as the majority landowner. Plans are being drawn up for the conservation and preservation of the island village – simply referred to as “An Baile” by its inhabitants.
Health and Safety measures are also being implemented, including the erection of protective fencing around some of the most derelict buildings on the island.
It is hoped that the introduction of the OPW guide service to the island will enhance the visitor experience and will, in due course, attract more cultural tourist to the “Next Parish to America”.
Those who have visited the island during the past week, in beautiful summer weather, have availed of the guide service and have been very laudatory about the quality of the information imparted by the guides.
Pictured above: Áine Ní Dhubháin, Head Guide, Great Blasket Centre (left) and Muireann Ní Chearna, a Blasket Centre Guide, on the Great Blasket Island on June 10, 2010, the day a guide service was initiated on he island by OPW. Muireann’s grandparents, Céit Sheáin Team Ó Cearna and Peaidí Sheáisí Ó Cearna were born on the Great Blasket.
Pictured below: Tigh Pheig: Sitting at the hearth in Peig Sayers’s island home on Great Blasket - Áine Ní Dhubháin, Head Guide, Great Blasket Centre (left) and Muireann Ní Chearna, a Blasket Centre Guide, on June 10, 2010, the day a guide service was initiated on the island by OPW. This is where Peig related her stories to all those who cared to listen to them.
For more information contact the Blasket Island Centre at +353 66 9156444/9156371
Watch TG4's recent report on the service at: beo.tg4.ie/main.aspx