The Tory Island lighthouse c.1905. The lighthouse, like Mew Island, was painted black until 1954/55 when both were given a white band. (Photo the CIL collection, National Library of Ireland)
But although the facts of the incident remain central to the plot, it is the ingenious way that the fictional story fits into the narrative that delights. I probably have an advantage in that I've visited Tory, more than once. Though hardly an expert, I can recognise the landscape and the people. Today they are a law unto themselves - 140 years ago, they were fiercely independent, politically, economically and religiously, as well as geographically, like their fellow islanders on Inishtrahull. They were Christians on their own terms, with a smattering of an ancient religion thrown in for good measure. Like Inishtrahull, they had a King who adjudicated on disputes. The priest, like the lighthouse keepers, were accepted but were regarded as transient visitors, held slightly at arm's length.
Tory Island lighthouse c.1954 shortly before earning its white stripe. I have no idea where this photograph came from.
In all seriousness, I have no qualms about recommending this book to anyone. Its a cracking read from start to finish and I was kind of sorry when I finished it.