The Loneliest Boy in the World

The Loneliest Boy in the World : The Last Child of the Great Blasket


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Gearoid Cheaist O Cathain was the last child brought up on the Blasket Islands off Ireland's southwest coast. His childhood was unique, as he was the only child on the island, the nearest in age being his uncle who was thirty years older. A 1951 newspaper article described him as 'The Loneliest Boy in the World - he has only seagulls as playmates.' In this captivating memoir, he recalls growing up on the island without a doctor, priest, school, church or electricity. The trials and tribulations of the small, vulnerable fishing community until its evacuation are vividly related. Despite public perception, Gearoid remembers a wonderful childhood, cherished by parents and neighbours. His memories are entwined with the beliefs and customs handed down through the generations and are an insight into life on the Blaskets. He speaks with authority of the difficulties and challenges facing the final generation on the island. After the dramatic events of the evacuation, in Dun Chaoin he could pursue Gaelic football, traditional music and formal schooling as the islanders settled into a new environment across the water from their deserted island. The Blaskets, of which nothing remains but crumbling cottages and windswept land, will live on, in part due to the invaluable memories of the last child of the Blasket Islands.

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  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 20mm | 280g
  • The Collins Press
  • CorkIreland
  • English
  • 1848892071
  • 9781848892071
  • 151,915

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Review quote

'Simply written but richly detailed.' Sunday Times 'Remarkable.' The Irish Catholic 'Simply written [ - ] O Cathain's observations of the more ordinary aspects of life are sharp and valuable.' The Irish Times 'Contributes significantly to the existing literature on Blasket living.' Sunday Independent 'Fascinating, touching book.' The Wild Geese

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About Gearoid Cheaist O Cathain

Gearoid Cheaist O Cathain is the only survivor of the islanders evacuated from the Great Blasket Island in 1953/54. In 1953, he moved with his parents to Dunquin. An accountant by profession, he enjoyed a varied career. He lives in Cork, works with Gael Taca promoting Irish, and occasionally lectures at University College Cork. Patricia Ahern is the author of Picture Poetry Mallow and the co-author of In Search of the Missing and The Lightkeeper. She has an MA in Women's Studies, a HDip in Journalism and Media Communications and a BA in English and Sociology. Born in Mallow, she now lives in Ballinhassig, County Cork.

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