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The lives of the Scattery Island Pilots


The older name for Scattery is  Inis Cathaigh, an Island steeped in tradition. The recent social history of Scattery Island can be said to have begun with the settling of a number of families from the Kilbaha district of West Clare.  A number of these family names included Melichan, Griffin, Keane, Hanrahan, Scanlon, Moran, Brennan and McMahon. While most originated from Kilbaha, we believe the name Moran came from the North Kerry area. These people were chiefly engaged in the pilotage business. The story of the Winsor Castle boat has a large part to play in the social history of the island people.

Its connection began on the morning of March 13th 1843, when the Kilbaha pilots observed a dismasted ship  about nine miles off Loop Head. When they boarded her, they saw that not a living soul remained onboard. She was from Liverpool, which was on route home from Bombay with a general cargo of Cotton Indigo, sugar and spices.

The pilots brought her to anchor at Kilbaha, but many tried to board and plunder her there, so they moved her to the shelters of Scattery Roads. A lengthy court case followed on the salvage rights to the vessel. Eventually, a settlement was agreed which provided each of the families involved with between 110 and 160 pounds, which they then used to purchase lands on the island from Marcus Keane and relocate there.

You can learn more about the life of the islanders that inhabited Scattery, as part of the guided walking tour included with our ‘Island Visit’ and ‘Great Island Experience’ Tours..



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