Another family leaves Gola Island where once hundreds lived there are now only a handful.

Gola, the island in the song familiar to all Irish schoolchildren ‘Báidín Fheilimí’ covers approximately one square mile (500 acres).  In 1881 it was home to one hundred and seven people. By the time of the 1911 census it had 169 residents, a result of a boom in the fishing industry. But by 1969 following years of population decline, only five people are still living here. 

RTÉ commissioned Professor F.H.A. Aalen of the Department of GeographyTrinity College’s and Hugh Brody, a research sociologist at Oxford University to conduct a social survey of the last days of the Gola island community in conjunction with the making of the film ‘Terminus’. 

Film maker Odran Walsh wanted to record the island, its people and the departure of one of the last families for life on the mainland. In an article for the RTÉ Guide of 23 January 1970, he explains the significance of the programme, because  

We can’t always look the other way while our island communities give up and die.

As the O’Donnells family leave their house for the last time, life goes on for those left behind - Bridie McGinley and her husband Eddie a fisherman, Tadhg McGinley, also a fisherman, Mary Diver, an elderly woman, and island postmistress Nora McGee and her husband John.  

Time, and love, and life, and dreams discharged into oblivion. The full stop that speaks the end of three hundred years.

‘Terminus : Gola Island’ was broadcast on 30 January 1970. The narrator is Padraig Ó Raghallaigh.