5.1 Life on the Island:
The inhabitants of Scattery
Island appear to have escaped the deaths and emigration, associated with
nearby Kilrush, during the famine period. The total population
of the island, including the soldiers,
actually increased from 65 in 1841 to 99 in 1851 and to 139 in1861, the
numbers of houses in this period increased from 9 in 1841 to 24 in1861.The
memorial inscriptions on the gravestones do not show any deaths of islanders
during the period 1845 to 1850. Perhaps a combination of fishing and additional
shipping, due to famine imports and emigration, provided good employment
for the pilots at this time and helped them to survive. Annual ship numbers
to Limerick increased from 585 in 1845 (76658 tons) to peak at 1013 in
1847 (149867 tons).
The families who settled on the island no doubt had some salvage money
left out of the £110 to £163 , paid to the pilots in late
1843, to purchase expensive supplies such as Indian corn from Kilrush
and perhaps some smuggled goods from passing ships would also have helped
to sustain them.
Farming and fishing would
have been the main sources of sustenance during the early period. Fishing
which began in February with net fishing for salmon continued until July,
and mackerel and pollack were the main catches done in summer and late
autumn, herring were also caught and each house salted a barrel for the
winter. The diet could be varied with shellfish such as periwinkles and
limpets known locally as báirneachs.
An important aspect in the life of the island was the fact that the women
inhabitants had to be expert in the art of farming and especially adept
in using the canoes to travel to and from the mainland as the men were
often away from the island. The following which include some miscellaneous
newspaper reports gives an outline of some aspects of life on the island.
of Public Works
The work of conservation of the Seven Churches at Scattery Island has
5th December (Kilrush Herald)
The Memorial Altar: The following contributions to the Kilrush Memorial
Altar are gratefully acknowledged.
Sinon Griffin: 12s-6d, Patt Brennan: 8s-6d, Sinon Scanlan: 7s-6d, Felix
Brennan: 7s-6d, John Williams Lightkeeper: 7s-6d, Michael McMahon: 6s-6d,
Patt Moran: 5s-6d, Mrs Hehir: 5s, Thomas Moran: 4s-6d, John Melican: 3s-6d,
Stephen Hanrahan: 2s-6d, Patt Scanlan: 2s-6d, Pat McCarthy: 1s-6d.
1936 17th June
Residents in Scattery Island, off the Clare coast, and other islands in
the Shannon are stated not to have paid any rates since 1931, and the
accumulated arrears are now almost £5,000.
When a committee of the Co. Council discussed the matter with representatives
of the islanders, Mr John Brennan, for the latter, pointed out the disadvantages
the islanders were labouring under as compared with people on the mainland
and definitely stated that the islanders would not pay any arrears of
rates. They were prepared in future to pay a rate equivalent to the benefits
they derived from county services. They would not pay for maintenance
of roads as the sea was their road and boats their only means of transport.
When the committee offered to recommend the acceptance of one year's rates
to March last in discharge of all arrears. The offer was rejected.
The committee reported
to the County Council Finance Committee, and the Co. Council, adopted
the Finance Committee's recommendations as follows:
That the arrears of rates to March 31st 1935, in respect of the islands
adjoining the county be struck off as irrecoverable.
That one year's rate, in respect of the year ended March 31st 1936,
is carried into the warrants for 1936-37 against all rated islanders.
of the Islanders
The principal occupations
as listed in the censuses of 1901 and 1911
are Pilot, Pilot/Farmer, and Seaman/Sailor with 20 involved in these in
1901 and 13 in 1911 and the following is a brief outline of these occupations.
Piloting was the primary
occupation of the islanders and a separate section six contains more detailed
information on the pilots taken mainly from newspaper reports of the Limerick
Harbour Board’s minutes and Pilot Account Books. After piloting
the next most popular occupation was sailor/seaman it is likely that a
significant number of sailors and pilots were away on both censuses nights
Sailors and Seamen were divided into two categories those that served
in the Merchant Navy and those that served in the Royal Navy as detailed
below. Usually after some years service in the Merchant Navy some seamen
found employment in the Lightships and Lighthouses.
The following inhabitants served
in the Royal Navy during their careers as seamen:
Sinon Scanlan born 07/08/1886
served from 29th May 1902 to 17th March 1919 Reference 221118.
After leaving the Royal Navy he joined the Merchant Navy and was lost
at sea near Newfoundland from the SS Derville (Official Number
146348) stated to be missing since 15th October 1925.
William Moran born 23/02/1876 served from 29th September 1894 to 8th December
1902 Reference 181311.
He re-enrolled 4th December 1911 and was accidentally drowned from HMS
Majestic on the 6th October 1914.
Stephen Moran born 03/01/1883 (brother of William above) served from 19th
January 1903 to 5th May 1910 Reference 225316.
John Moran born 27/01/1885 (brother of William) served from 5th June 1902
to 1st March 1919 Reference 221121
died on board SS Empire Mallory 5th May 1945.
Siney Moran born c 1912 (son of William) lost when HMS Orchis was mined
in the English Channel on 21st August 1944.
Edward Moran born c 1910 and his brother
Siney Moran born c 1918 both served in the Royal Navy. Siney survived
the sinking of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales in the South
China Sea on the 10th December 1941.
A significant number of seamen from Scattery sailed with the Limerick
Steamship Steampacket Company which started operations in 1893
and continued until 1970 when as part of Hibernian Transport it went into
liquidation. The home and continental trade was the main focus of the
company with regular cargo services between Limerick, Galway, Tralee,
Ballina and Liverpool, Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam. The Company also
had deep-sea interests which were served by three steamers, the Innisbofin,
Knockfierna and the Kilcredaun up until 1935, a full list
of their ships is detailed below. In addition seamen from Scattery served
with many other Shipping Companies including Irish Shipping (Dublin),
Bulk Oil Steamship Company (United Kingdom), Kelly's Ships (Belfast),
Shell Tankers (London), and Mullocks (Limerick).
||Collision loss 1904
||Collision loss with Oceanic 1901
||Sold Stewart & Fulton,Glasgow
||Sold Ensor Cobh,Broken up 1929
||Sold Milford 1911
||Detained Hamburg 1914,Lost 1916
||Ex-Zorriza sold Italy 1911
||Ex-Whimbrel,sold Edinburgh 1915
||Paddle steamer,sold Greece 1918
||Ex Jabiru sold London 1916
||Paddle tug passenger,sold France
||Ex Taff sold Edinburgh 1915
||Ex Hollandia Tralee trade.
||Ex Wellpark sold Edinburgh 1916
||Ex Lillie war loss 1917
||Ex Highlander war loss 1916
||Ex Almagro war loss 1917
||Ex Lady Wolseley sold Newcastle
||Ex Kylemhor war loss 1917.
||Ex Traveller sold Germany
||Ex Q-Ship Privet war loss
||Sold Greece War loss 1941
||Ex Lady Anstruther stranded Cape Clear 1940
||Sold Australia lost As Natal Coast 1954
||Ex Cid sold Glasgow
||Ex Channel Queen sold London
||Ex Mogileff sold Norway
||Ex Fairfield war loss
||Government X barge sold to Kilrush
||Ex Udny Castle sold France
||Ed Rotterdam broken up Alloa
||War loss August 1941
||Wrecked Galway Bay February 1946
||Broken up Holland
||War loss Feb 1943
||List on Goodwins Jan 1940
||Broken up Dublin 1950
||Ex Sussexbrook sold Bombay
||Ex Aranmore broken up Holland
||Ex Felixstowe broken up Holland
||Ex Peterjon wrecked Inisheer March 1960
||Ex Marton sold Italy 1961
||Ex Rhetais sold Greece
||Sold 1971 to Greenore Ferries
||Ex Knebworth sold Canada
||Sold 1970 renamed Redthorn
||Sold Aberdeen renamed Torquay
||Sold renamed Lady Sophia
| Table 11: Limerick
Steamship Company Fleet List
The following is a list of Scattery seamen together with the names of
some of the lightships that they served on: Stephen Brennan born 13/09/1923
Codling, Sinon Griffin born16/11/1931 South Rock, Sinon
Scanlan born 13/08/1911 Arklow, John P Scanlan born 23/06/1923
Coningbeg, and John Scanlan born 30/05/1925 Daunt. Cornelius
Brennan born c 1932, Patrick Brennan born c 1920, John Melican born c
1925, David Moran born 01/01/1907, James Moran born13/08/1908, Thomas
Moran born c 1919, Patrick Scanlan born c 1910, Michael Griffin, Daunt,
born 31/08/1898 and Sinon Scanlan born 15/03/1887.
Scattery islanders that served
on the lighthouses around the coast were, Thomas Scanlan born 22/12/1892,Thomas
Scanlan born 06/12/1896, Patrick Scanlan born 23/09/1892, Thomas Scanlan
born c 1920, Kevin Brennan born 12/04/1934, John Brennan born c 1925,
Stephen McMahon born 24/02/1882, Patrick McMahon born c 1920, Donatus
Scanlan born c 1920.