The Blaskets are a group of seven, small islands off the South West corner of Ireland. Exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean, the islands have a remarkable history, having supported a population of around 150 people since the 16th century. The islanders emerged from relative obscurity in the middle of the twentieth century when linguists, ethnographers, writers and photographers began to visit, seeing the islands as a last outpost of Ireland’s language and culture, untainted by English rule or the Catholic Church; the islands had no priest, doctor or shop. The islanders responded by putting pen to paper; building on centuries of oral story telling they produced over 40 new books, a mixture of autobiography and island tales, just as their culture and community was starting to implode. In 1953 the islands were abandoned.
We were commissioned by Ireland’s Office of Public Works to make a documentary film telling this extraordinary story. Shot over four seasons, using specialist 4k equipment and a drone, the film captures the full glory of a year on the edge of the Atlantic. It is shown in a purpose-built cinema at the Blasket Island Visitors Centre, which is situated on the mainland, overlooking the islands.