The British Isles including Ireland are a unique tapestry of islands off NW Europe. Though there are thousands of islands making up this archipelago, a modest 223 are permanently inhabited, mostly in the Gaelic, Irish and Welsh or Celtic west. Though some are vibrant modern-day communities, many are small and with declining populations, clinging onto survival in the North Atlantic. Their rich history of oppression from first Viking through to more recently English rulers over the centuries has made the islanders resilient and unique in culture with a rich identity forming a unique Celtic diaspora.
The journey starts in the Scilly Isles and slowly weaves its way through the Hebrides (Inner and Outer), the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland) whilst taking in the more obscure islands off the West coast of Ireland from County Cork to County Donegal. Travel is by all types of vessels, bridge and causeway links and at low tide simply walking the distances from the mainland. Most are open to public access though a significant number are private, a safe haven for the wealthy or those wishing for peace and solitude away from prying eyes.
Starting out with no preconceptions the author fell under the spell of the islanders, their culture and history, many clinging on resolutely to their homes despite the changing worlds in which they live.
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