The King of Tory has a personal welcome for every visitor to the Donegal island where life for residents is often a challenge and traditional music thrives.
On his eighth day of exploring Ireland by bicycle, reporter Cian McCormack visits a wet and windy Tory Island off the north-west coast of County Donegal. Every visitor to the Island arriving by the ferry, is personally welcomed to by Patsaí Dan Mag Ruaidhrí (Patsy Dan Rodgers), the King of Tory Island.
To help ease the Island’s isolation Tory Islanders have been lobbying for a small airstrip since the 1970s. A helicopter pad will soon be built which Patsaí Dan Mag Ruaidhrí agrees will be most welcome. He would love to see greater number of visitors to Tory Island which has so much to offer tourists
With the high cliffs, with the Atlantic birds with the music, with the Gaelic language, an canúint na Gaeilge and the culture on the Island, I mean should have many, many more coming to us.
In 2013 John Joseph Doherty, the lighthouse keeper on the island took over running the hotel on Tory and this is a big employer.
His son in law Damien Coleman does not feel the north of the country is benefiting from the Wild Atlanic Way, as it is better marketed to the south of the country. He believes County Donegal is neglected in terms of infrastructure and funding.
We never actually had the Celtic Tiger in Donegal.
Manager of Comharchumann Forbartha Oileáin Thóraí (Tory Island Community Co-operative) Bridget McGarvey says there has been a huge improvement in terms of services since the Island was allocated a cargo ferry service in 2009.
Music is an integral part of Tory Island culture and Patsaí Dan Mag Ruaidhrí says there has always been a great tradition of accordion players. Tory accordion players have their own distinct style that is not found anywhere else in the country.
Music’s part of the culture here and it’s essential, the same as the language, the same as the dancing I think if you lose one, if we lost the music we would lose our culture.
A ‘Morning Ireland’ report broadcast on 16 July 2014. The presenter is Fran McNulty. The reporter is Cian McCormack.