Young people describe what life is like for them living on Achill Island in County Mayo.
Children in one of Achill's national schools describe the geography of the island, which was connected to the mainland by bridge in 1886. Prior to that people had to make the journey by boat.
The island's name may derive from the Latin word for eagle, aquila, as Golden Eagles were widespread here one time. Another possibility is a derivation of the Irish word 'coill' meaning forest, as the bogs of Achill contain remnants of ancient trees.
Many people left Achill to look for jobs in Dublin and Cork, but England or Scotland were also places where many emigrants were employed. Sadly in 1894 thirty two people, mainly teenagers, who were en route from the island to Scotland to work on the potato harvest drowned. Tracey shows where their graves are located in Kildavnet cemetery, as are those of the victims of the Kirkintilloch disaster of 1937, when ten young men died in a fire on a Scottish farm, where they worked picking potatoes.
This fulfilled a prediction by the seventeenth century prophet from Erris Brian Rua Ó Cearbháin who foretold that,
The first and last trains to Achill would carry coffins.
Near the graveyard is a the fifteenth century tower house which belonged to legendary pirate queen Grace O'Malley (also called Grainuaile). She used it as a lookout tower, explains one national school pupil,
For English merchants…she asked them for money.
Achill is lively during the summer for teenagers, but much quieter during the winter, as school rules dictate that only one dance per month may be organised by the youth club, and going out to discos at weekends is forbidden. Anyone who breaks this rule faces consequences,
If you're caught out, it could mean expulsion.
Restrictions aside, there is plenty to keep young people entertained on the island. GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) sports are popular, as are outdoor pursuits such as orienteering and rock climbing.
With the Atlantic ocean on their doorstep, surfing is another hobby many have taken to. Wetsuits make the cold water is bearable says Arthur, and they get big waves here,
It's very exciting, especially if you can get on top of a wave.
'Our Town' was a section of RTÉ programme 'Youngline' where young people told the viewers all about life in their town or village. The lives of young people on Achill Island are the subject of the first 'Our Town' report of the autumn season of 'Youngline'.
This episode of 'Youngline' was broadcast on 26 October 1981. The reporter is Ultan Guilfoyle.
Youngline was a once weekly, half-hour magazine show for younger viewers. The first programme was broadcast on Tuesday, 23 November 1976 from 5.30 to 6.00pm. Youngline continued until May 1984.