Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On the ground in Ireland's Eye

After our lunch at Black Duck Cove we took a leisurely paddle up the west side of Ireland's Eye, the island, until we reached Ireland's Eye Point at the north end.  There we paddled ...

... into a stiffening breeze down the east side until we ...

... reached the entrance to Irelands Eye, the community.

I was so excited to be here I raced ashore and was well up on the hill when the rest of the gang arrived.

These are some of the remains that dot the abandoned community.  This particular building housed the post office and was still standing in 1989 as this picture from Memorial University's Maritime History Archives shows.

The post office operated from 1941 to 1965.

I walked on up the hill to ...

...  what was left standing of St. George's Anglican Church.  There is an "Ireland's Eye" near Dublin, Ireland.  The fact the church was Anglican suggests the first settlers in early 1800 were of English extraction and not Irish as the community name implies.

By 1836 the community had 32 occupants, increasing to 123 in 1874 and peaking at 157 in 1911.  St. George's was an imposing and massive structure to build for what was essentially a small community.  This historical picture again from the archives shows its original grandeur.

This is all that remains of St. George's School.  Families of Toops [Toopes], Coopers and Hodders sent their children there to be educated.  See the archival picture of the school taken in 1973 here.

The archives have many other pictures of the old community that are worth a detour!

We stayed about 30 minutes before getting back into our kayaks to ... 

 ... set up our tents at Thoroughfare.  This is the view I had looking out my front "door".

After setting up our tents we had ...

... "happy hour".  Cocktails at half price!

A memorable day drew to an end with a beautiful sunset but not before we ...

... collected firewood for our traditional camp fire. 

For me, Ireland's Eye is, in one sense, one of the quintessential example of resettlement of outport communities in Newfoundland (along with Merasheen).  It has been on my list of destinations for some time.  Now I've been there.  I plan to go back and spend a full day there.

The track.

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