Irishon the BBC
Tory Island is an enchanting isle situated nine miles off the coast of Northwest Donegal. It lies stretched out in the sea among three smaller islands, Inishbofin, Inishdooey and Inishbeg.
Tory Island is three miles long and less than a mile in width, with four small towns - Baile Thiar (West Town), An Lár (Middletown), Úrbhaile (Newtown) and Baile Thoir (East Town). The meagre population is spread throughout these four towns. In the past hundred years a sharp decline in population has occurred, owing to the lack of employment opportunities and the emigration that accompanies it. The situation was at its worst during eighties when half the island residents moved to Falcarragh because of the hardships and lack of services on Tory. The government finally recognised that valuable traditional island life was in danger of being lost and stepped in to help to the native people. After a while, they returned to Tory and to their heritage.
A ferry boat travels the nine nautical miles to the island regularly from Machaire Rabhartaigh quay, which, like the island, is part of Cloughaneely Gaeltacht in Donegal. There is another ferry service from Bunbeg as well, but this trip take ninety minutes compared to the fifty minutes from Machaire Rabhartaigh.
Tory is an enigmatic island, offering wild rugged beauty as it bravely battles the Atlantic Ocean. Life on Tory is hard, between the buffeting high winds that never cease and prohibit any trees from growing, and the lack of jobs to keep young people on the island.
Irish is the language of Tory Island, and her people are very proud of it. There is a healthy culture of music and dance here too, and many’s a welcome is made for visitors and tourists with a great céilí in one of the pubs.
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