Among a dozen deserted villages of Achill island there is one that is located near Cashel, which a little village in the eastern side of the island. This deserted village is in a better condition than the others. The whole story of the deserted villages is very mysterious. Some of them were occupied as late as the 1950s but there is no clear reason why these villages were deserted. When you approach them they look like a pile of stones, but as you get nearer you begin to make out the walls, the windows and the doorways. Every thing is made of solid stone. The walls are made of large stones without any mortar to join them together. Inside you can see remains of fire places, but no chimneys.
What strikes the observer is that there are no remains of any roofing visible. Peti Buchel, our kind guide said that in the old days when people lived in these dwellings, they wanted to avoid paying taxes, and one way of doing this was to take down the roof as soon as they heard that the taxman was on his way. So maybe the reason why you can not see any remains of a roof is that they took them away when they finally decided to leave for good. Then there is a theory that these houses were deserted because of decline of agriculture and rural life. Others believe that it was the emigration that was responsible for this, but there is no concrete theory or I have not heard any from the islanders.
Peti told us a lot about the landscape of the island and how it has affected the life of the islanders and how they have changed it. Peti is a Dutch lady who has lived on the island for nearly 35 years. Although she is very modest about her knowledge of social history of the island she is very well informed and we benefited from her guidance a lot.
The village of Cashel is named after a castle that was built in this area in the ancient times. Today all you can see is a large crater and a few rock-shaped remains. Standing on the hill above these remains one can see the Inishbiggle island to the north. It is reported that in the old days the residents of these islands intermarried from generation to generation, as traveling by boat between the two islands took only an hour. Nowadays going by car takes much longer, and intermarrying does not happen as often but one still meets a lot of people on these islands who are related.
I have now been on Achill four times and every time I have been astonished by the amazing hospitality and warmth of the residents. Thank you for having us and we are looking forward to coming back.
Surf’s Up - Surfing on Achill in February
On Monday we met some surfers on the beach who told us that it is possible to rent surf boards on Achill. Most of us had never been surfing before. That is why we decided to try this out as soon as we had enough spare time.
Guido set us up with Tomás Mac Lochláinn and we were pleased that he made a special student off-season price. Julia was so excited that she could not sleep the night before.
On Thursday we finally went to the beach where we met Tomás Mac Lochláinn, he gave us a short but good introduction on surfing. Afterwards Julia, Guido, Magnus, Matthias, Alex and Ben put on their neoprene suits, got their surfboards and rushed into the waves. Tomás told us that the water was only 10 C° so it was really cold but after catching some waves we did not think about that any more. Although we have not been surfing before, we did very well. Some of us were even able to stand up a few seconds on the board, but we also swallowed a lot of saltwater.
After 80 Minutes we were so exhausted that we went back to Tomás Mac Lochláinn who was waiting for us, put our clothes on and hurried into our cottages to have a hot shower and of course got to our lecture in time.
On lunch we told everybody that we have been surfing, and everybody were really impressed with our stories, some got an urge to go surfing tomorrow. If the weather is good enough we will probably ride some waves again…
|An Irish College
At the reception last Sunday we got in contact with Sheila who holds
evening lessons at GMIT college in Castlebar. At the moment she´s
teaching about Islam and since Poya is originally from Iran she thought
that it would be a good idea if he could tell her students about the Iranian
culture, At five o´clock Sheila picked us up and we started the
one hour journey to Castlebar.
Johan Sandberg and Poya Motai
The Deserted Village Workshop
Today we were very busy in doing the final preparations for the Farewell Party which will take place on Friday. Two of us went to the Deserted Village again in order to take some additional pictures: Tomorrow on these pictures everybody will be able to see that the nasty species of Bavarians contributed a lot to the fled of the former inhabitants of the village. These pictures will finally prove our new theory about the real reason why the village was deserted.
The rest of our workshop group finished the presentation of the facts for tomorrow including information about the social and religious background and worked on our antithesis to the facts the other group members found out. Later on the whole workshop group met again and fixed the schedule for tomorrows Farewell Party: We will have one master of ceremony, two of us will present the facts and the other three will prove that these information can be refuted by their results in analyzing the soil samples they have taken at the Deserted Village and the mysterious pictures they found.
We drove to Achill Sound getting online at the IT-Centre to do some research
about cross currency payment. There is no real Irish eBay platform so
the Irish merchants have to deal with the problem that they have to set
in the items in English pound on the platform. We found out something
about the Pay Pal system which can be used to deal with the cross currency
dealings. We checked the18 active auctions we uploaded Monday night.
page by Magnus Olofsson