This episode of 'Discovery' takes a look at Achill Island off the west coast of Ireland and investigates the effects of unemployment, emigration and tourism on the island.
Regional Tourist Manager for the area Michael Heffernan has seen a noticeable increase in foreign tourist traffic to Achill. There are now visitors coming from Britain, Europe and the United States and he sees this as a direct result of promotion and publicity material.
A European artist now living on Achill originally moved there on the recommendation of a writer friend who also lives on the island. She recalls her disappointment of her first day on the island when when it was raining and visibility was poor. But
There was sunshine the next day and I thought it's beautiful.
During late spring Achill prepares itself for the arrival of tourists. In the past the talk at this time of year would have been about oil for paraffin lamps, or the fear of possible drought. Times and island life have changed. Hotel owner Thea Boyd, who has lived on the island for thirty years, has experienced this transformation first hand.
The biggest changes she has seen are the arrival of electricity, mains water supply and the improvement of roads. Water was the greatest improvement as many times they had a drought and
A drought in Achill is no fun.
A student studying the use of land on the island thinks tourism is having an obvious effect on Achill. She has noticed that people living in the area, where guest houses and a hotel are situated, are keen to talk and interact with strangers. However the people in the part of island not developed for tourism are unwilling to answer questions and are reticent and wary.
'Discovery: The Idyll and the Idle' was broadcast on 2 May 1966.