Different islands, different approaches: surveying the built heritage of Clare Island, Clew Bay, and Island Eddy, Galway Bay

Paul Gosling

The Royal Irish Academy’s New Survey of Clare Island was a multidisciplinary project on a grand scale. Surveyed and published between 1991 and 2019, it built on a pioneering baseline survey of the island undertaken between 1909 and 1915. Since 2010 a community group has been conducting an interdisciplinary survey of Island Eddy, a small but strategic and now uninhabited island in Galway Bay. The contrasting scope and scale of the two surveys provide an opportunity for comparison not only of results but also of issues such as access, funding, community engagement and the distribution of results.

Paul Gosling is an archaeologist who lectures part-time in the Galway–Mayo Institute of Technology. He was a joint editor of volumes 4 and 5 of the Royal Irish Academy’s New Survey of Clare Island (2005 and 2007) and is an active member of the interdisciplinary survey of Island Eddy.

St Kilda—‘the last and outmaist Ile’

Angela Gannon

In 1527 Hector Boece’s description of St Kilda as ‘The last and outmaist Ile’ first brought this remarkable archipelago to the attention of a wider audience. Rising as dark silhouettes in the Atlantic Ocean some 45 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, the islands epitomise the romantic notions of isolation, insularity and a life on ‘the edge of the world’. Yet while there is no doubt that the archaeological remains on this archipelago are exceptional and represent unique responses to such a distant and dramatic landscape, it is equally clear that life here can only have been sustained if the islands belonged to a much wider social and economic network. It is this story of connectivity that makes life on St Kilda, ‘the last and outmaist Ile’, so enduring.

Angela Gannon is an archaeological investigator with Historic Environment Scotland. She has participated in several major field survey projects across the length and breadth of Scotland. She is co-author of St Kilda—the last and outmost isle, which was nominated for three book awards and is the subject of her contribution.


Share this..