|Scattery Island: Population Growth and Decline||
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There are nine surnames intimately associated with Scattery Island. First and foremost were the Keanes, Kanes, or O'Cahanes, traditional coarbs almost from the time of Senan. The other family names of Scattery were Scanlon, MacMahon, Brennan, Melican, Hanrahan, Hehir, Moran and Griffin.
the 18th and 19th centuries, many of the inhabitants of the island earned
their living primarily as river pilots.
The women of the island were also great oarswomen and considered the finest
currach-handlers in Ireland. The pilots raced each other to reach the
approaching ship first. Whoever did so, put their mark on the vessel and
this entitled them to navigate the ship up-river to safe anchorage in
Foynes, Clarecastle, Limerick or elsewhere. This was a hazardous occupation
and by the mid 19th century, 12 men had been drowned while working as
The census shows an increase in population between 1841 and 1881 when it recorded 141 inhabitants. From 1926, it declined rapidly due to economic and social factors. After World War II some families moved to the mainland, principally to educate their children. They were followed in 1960 by most of the remaining families, many of whom built houses in Cappagh, Kilrush. The last people to leave the island were Bobbi and Patty MacMahon, a brother and sister, in 1978.
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