My friend Matthew McGrath of Rostrevor has recorded a CD which includes a lovely song, his own composition, Spirit of the Village. This tells how he was personally affected on seeing the Deserted Village on the slopes of Slieve More in Achill Island.
The following poem by Richard Ryan is on the same theme.
Famine Village by Richard Ryan
This maze of stones which the wind cut and hones
Smooth now, was in another century
The houses of famine fishermen, where bones
Long scattered, now without a memory
Have fertilized this bramble wilderness
Of grass and thistles reaching to the knee
Which press upward and thicken, and caress
The naked chimneys and the broken walls
Breathing the sea-mist and the emptiness.
Where once children played, now only gulls calls
Echo and die slowly across the wide
Wild curve of sand to where the mountain falls
Into the sea. From the sick land they tried
To work the tide; they lived a life-long fight
To live, and lost to graves on Slieve More’s side.
Now a grey rain thickens the fading light.
Slowly the ruins become the mist and
Merge silently with the descending night.