Old village on Blasket to be surveyed, says OPW

 

BUILDING CONSERVATION officers are on their way to the Great Blasket Island off Co Kerry to carry out surveys of the old village with a view to stabilising buildings there, the Office of Public Works (OPW) said yesterday.

The island management committee, involving ferry owners, conservationists, islanders’ descendants, Fondúireacht an Bhlascaoid – the body set up in the 1980s to conserve the island’s heritage – and other stakeholders is also being re-established, and will be chaired by the OPW.

Last week Minister for the Environment John Gormley and the Minister of State responsible for the OPW Dr Martin Mansergh jointly confirmed the purchase of the majority land holding on the Blasket, at a cost of €2 million. This means most though not all of the island is now in State ownership. A number of other individual landowners may wish to sell their property to the State, and discussions are set to take place with them over coming weeks.

The OPW’s chief conservation architect Dr Grellan Rourke will lead the survey of the old village, a spokesman said yesterday.

Last summer, an oral hearing into an application for a services and cafe building on the island heard that the buildings were in dire condition and a harsh winter could see them collapse altogether.

The island was abandoned in 1953, and many of the islanders’ descendants live on the mainland around Dún Chaoin and Dingle.