A remote island off the coast of Donegal will be lit up once again this evening as people gather to remember the families who fled the island back in the 1960s.
Gola Island, a mile off the coastline of Gaoth Dobhair, was left uninhabited in the 1960s.
Tonight around 40 lanterns will light up the evening sky as they are placed at the homes and ruins which once made up a thriving community which number more than 200 people in the 1940s.
The island, which is 500 acres in size, is the backdrop to one of the country’s best-known traditional Irish songs, ‘ ‘Baidin Fheilimi.’
The ESB did connect electricity to the island back in 2005 and some families still use the island in good weather in the summer months.
Today’s gathering ‘A Taste of Gola’ will see people retrace their ancestor’s footprints and take part in many of their customs.
At 1pm Vincent Breslin will give an informational and historical talk on the life of the island author Seán ‘Ac Fhionnlaoich- Johnny Mhicí Thaidhg, who wrote books based on island life- “ Ó Rabharta go Mallmhuir” and “Is Glas na Cnoic”.
From 2-4pm the island will promote the riches of the seas with a pop-up seafood tent, showcasing locally sourced crab claws, lobster, chowder and fish.
Refreshments will be available to complement the local produce.
At 5pm, the islanders will maintain and re-establish the old tradition of saying a rosary at the grotto on the pier.
As those who gather wait for dusk to fall, a local house will have an open door for islands, locals and visitors to mingle and chat at an Oíche Airneál (night visiting) with tea/ coffee and refreshments available.
Finally, as people make their way back to the mainland, the ferry ‘The Cricket’ will tour the bay to view the island lights.