March 2, 2010

Clare Island's Post office - Last day of the 150 years

FOR 150 years, four generations of the Scott family provided a lifeline to remote Clare Island through its tiny sub-post office.

But this weekend, Scotts at Roonagh Pier, near Louisburgh, Co Mayo, closed its doors for the last time.

Chris O'Grady delivered the post for over 60 years.  Photo: Michael McLaughlin

Chris O'Grady delivered the post for over 60 years. Photo: Michael McLaughlin

In storms and swells, hail and sleet, sunshine and fog, love letters and epistles, notes cards and parcels were brought to and from the windswept post office.

Opened in 1879, the post office was once also a telephone exchange and used to dispatch geese and turkeys by post.

"Today is a strange day at Roonagh. I feel sad the post office is closing. You know, the Scotts were like an extension of our family," said septuagenarian Chris O'Grady, as he disembarked from his sons' ferry, The Clew Bay Queen.

For over 60 years retired island hotelier and ferry company owner, Mr O'Grady, has collected and delivered the post at the remote post office.

"Honest to God, when I look back now, I don't know how I survived landing in this spot," said Mr O'Grady, flinging the postbag over his shoulder.

Just like his grandfather, Austin, and father, Michael, before him, Chris has often risked life and limb landing at the volatile little harbour, renowned for its raging swells.

"I started off with dad when I was 12, just after the second world war. It was all sailing then in Achill yawls," Mr O'Grady said.

"Back then there was no breakwater or shelter."

The proposed computerisation of the country's network of post offices expedited 85-year-old Margaret Scott's retirement last weekend.

The mother of eight took over as postmistress after her husband Dick retired in 1969.

The late Dick Scott's grandfather, James, was the first postmaster in Roonagh.

- By Aine Ryan

Monday March 01 2010

Original title: Historic island post office's last delivery

May be this is the post office that mentioned as above. I found these from other website.

Clare Island Lighthouse

Clare Island, Co Mayo, Ireland

Clare Island (Oilean Cliara in Irish) lies off the west coast of Ireland at at the entrance to Clew Bay. The largest of the Mayo offshore islands, it has a varied terrain: spectacular cliffs with large numbers of nesting sea birds and a rich 'inland' topography of hills and bogs and small pockets of woodland, making it ideal for hill-walking.
The island's complex history can be read through its landscape: from archaeological remains of the Neolithic and Bronze age, to rare medieval wall-paintings in the 14th century abbey, to the 'pirate queen' Grace O'Malley's (Grainneuaile) castle and burial place. The island population is now around 130, yet everywhere there are traces of past generations, most significantly the 19th century population explosion and subsequent famine when the island's population of 1600 was reduced by half. Old potato ridges, or 'lazy beds' are everywhere: the evening sun reveals them jutting out from the land like the rib cages of some dying beast. The island has been much studied, with the R.L. Praeger's The Clare Island Survey the most well known.

The island lies roughly four miles off the nearest mainland point and the ferry crossing takes approximately 20 minutes. The current permanent population of 130 increases substantially during the summer when there is a steady tourist season. The island has a number of B&B's, one hotel with a bar and one shop which is also the post office.

Clare Island, near Westport
From Review: Amazing B&B right outside of Westport on Oct 2009, (IrishFlair)