Last resident of Omey Island

In today’s Letter from Ireland Mike Collins writes about Pascal Whelan, “The Last Resident of an Irish Island.”

Omey Island lies off the western coast of Connemara, just one of many islands inhabited through the centuries but with a dwindling population by the 1970s. Researching the 1901 census, Collins reports there were still over 100 residents of Omey Island with these family names: Faherty, McLoughlin, Walsh, Powell, Cahil, King, Mongan, Cloonan, Conneely, Bodkin, Kearney, Lydon and Malloy.

Last February the last permanent Omey resident was laid to rest. Pascal Whelan was a character. He emigrated to Australia where he eventually found work as a movie stuntman. (We’ve probably seen him in films such as Crocodile Dundee or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.) In the 1970s Whelan moved back to Ireland and settled in a mobile home on Omey.

Quite a life! You can read more about him in the Irish Times obituary.

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