Mutton Island, lying just a mile off the West Clare coast, is inaccessible except for brave and hardy kayakers or people such as the Raidió Corca Baisicinn crew who were taken out there by the Kilkee Marine Rescue Service. The four half hour programmes in the series explore the geology, natural history, early history and more recent lives of islanders.
The series was made with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound & Vision Fund.
The first programme explores the story of a much larger island called Fitha which was reportedly struck by a tsunami in 804AD, recorded in the Annals of the Four Masters. Fitha was devastated by the wave and reduced in size by two thirds, to leave Mutton Island. Dr Andy Pulham, a geologist with a special interest in West Clare’s geology, made a surprising discovery whilst out on the island, leading him to be able to identify some possible evidence of a tidal wave, which was very exciting.
The second programme explores the wildlife of Mutton Island with local ecologist, Michael Marron. In this programme he looks at the adaptations the goats, rats and rabbits have had to make in order to survive on the island, as well as the seals, dolphins and seabirds that live in the waters that surround it.
This third programme looks at the evidence for human activity on Mutton Island, from early promontary forts and enclosures through to the use of the island for smuggling in more recent times. Local archaeologist and Mutton Island enthusiast Carol Gleeson takes the listeners through the evidence for human activity on the island, and explains in detail about the watchtower that you can see on the island from the mainland.
This fourth & final programme looks at the recent history of human activity on Mutton Island. John Daly and Michael Falsey talk about the last people to live full time on the island, the man who lived out there as a herder, an explosion caused by a World War II mine, and even how Ford Anglia came to be out on the island!