What should be done with the abandoned settlement of Slievemore? Achill islanders wonder what to do with the ghost village.

Slievemore is one of the largest derelict and abandoned villages of its kind in Europe. The Achill island settlement has attracted increased international attention in recent years. People are being very cautious about how best to hand on the deserted village to future generations.

Nobody really knows when or why this sprawling, straggling now skeletal village sprung from the mountainside here.

It is believed that up to three thousand people may have lived in Slievemore at one time in the three hundred houses which now lie in ruins.

The report features an excerpt from the programme 'Discovery: Looks at the Idyll and the Idle" broadcast in 1966, featuring the deserted village.

The dilemma now is to make sure that this desolate settlement does not disappear completely and does not become another tasteless tourist attraction.

Cartographer and local historian Bob Kingston believes that as the largest settlement in the country, the buildings will have to be stabilised before any further decisions are made. If something is not done, there may come a time when there is nothing left of Slievemore.

Folklorist Tom MacNamara of the Achill North West Development Group says that if the site is left as it is, there is a danger that the walls will collapse. Any development of the site must be carefully handled.

An archaeological goldmine

In the summer of 1912, painter Paul Henry came to Achill and fell under the spell of the ghost village of Slievemore. This report includes audio from the documentary 'Clouds in the Irish Sky' featuring narration by the artist.

The questions remain as to why the village was deserted in the first place and what should now be done with the ruins left behind.

This episode of 'Nationwide' was broadcast on 20 November 1994. This reporter is Jim Fahy. This report is introduced by presenter Michael Ryan.