Pippa Hare passing the Foze Rocks
It is of course, Ireland's most westerly lighthouse, in fact the most westerly lighthouse of Europe, excluding Iceland. A remote spot with precious little space for cat-swinging and not the ideal spot for your children to play tag.
The Blasket Islands off the Dingle peninsula. Inish Tearaght is middle left. Great Blasket, which I have visited, is the large one (obviously). Inishvickillane was owned by former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey. And the Foze Rocks are bottom left.
The reason I am banging on about the Foze Rock on a lighthouse blog is that this was originally the location earmarked for the Tearaght lighthouse. The great debate of Victorian Ireland was not Home Rule or Darwinism but should the Ballast Board build on Foze or Tearaght? To quote from the Irish Lights website
In fact, it seemed, according to the Irish Builder of 15th June 1862, that the debate had been settled:
The Little Foze
But then two events happened which thrust it, if not into the limelight, at least back on stage behind the curtain.
Firstly, it was learned that our Great Leader, Charles J. Haughey, while working tirelessly to heave the country out of the economic morass we were in during the 1980s, decided with some friends on Inishvickillane to take advantage of a day with the sea as flat and calm as glass to visit the Great Foze. Not only did they land but they had a party there and on leaving, left a bottle of Cork Dry Gin and several glasses on the island for the benefit of any poor mariner that might be shipwrecked thereon.
Secondly, the Round Island Yacht Races of the late 20 teens threw up an odd scenario to do with record times. In sailing around Ireland, you naturally have to sail around Ireland. Even I can grasp that. But there are strict specifications about routes you can use. Naturally you have to go around the Blaskets, but the Foze Rocks weren't mentioned in the specifications, so technically, you could dive in between the Foze Rocks and Inishvickillane.
Well, in one of the races you could. Afloat wrote two great articles about it here and here. Seems there are two races that circumnavigate Ireland, one going clockwise and one anti-clockwise but the routes aren't quite the same. And both were claiming record times.
(Just as a postscript, check the date on one of those Afloat articles!)
And then... nothing. Not a word. No inquest, no news that anything had been found. It was surely Ireland's worst peacetime maritime disaster but it appears to have been airbrushed from history? Or does it count as 'our' disaster if the journey started in another country? Plenty of the names of those lost are Irish though.