A pleas­ant sur­prise in some at­tic ar­chives

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

WHILE re­cently rum­mag­ing through my at­tic ar­chives I came across a most in­ter­est­ing, in­for­ma­tive and well put-to­gether book on the Skel­ligs en­ti­tled Skel­lig-Is­land Out­post of Europe, writ­ten by Valen­tia Is­lan­der Des Lavelle of the Ca­ble Sta­tion, Knight­stown, and now Glan­leam.

The book, pub­lished by the O’Brien Press, first ap­peared in 1976, long be­fore Star Wars was ever as­so­ci­ated with the place. It was signed and pre­sented to my fa­ther, the late Jim Lynch, by Betty and the late Ron­nie Fal­coner of Water­ford and the Valen­tia Ca­ble Sta­tion.

The in­tro­duc­tion in the book states thus: “Des Lavelle, son, grand­son and great-grand­son of a light­house fam­ily on one side, and sixth gen­er­a­tion of a Valen­tia Is­land fam­ily on the other, has more than a drop of the sea in his blood.

Aged 42 years, mar­ried with two daugh­ters, he lives on Valen­tia Is­land and works as skip­per on his own 32-foot fish­ing boat-spend­ing most of his sum­mer days in close prox­im­ity to the “is­land out­post of Europe.”

He speaks Ir­ish, French and Span­ish, but his in­ter­ests also in­clude pho­tog­ra­phy, and he has used every op­por­tu­nity to shoot a wide file of his own pho­to­graphs as il­lus­tra­tions for this book. In an ex­tract from the book’s fore­word Des writes:

“Th­ese Skel­lig Is­lands fas­ci­nate me. I have sailed around them, flown over them and dived on every sheer un­der­wa­ter cliff face be­neath them.

“I have vis­ited them to wan­der and won­der at least 40 times in 1975, and the same the year be­fore, and the year be­fore, and by re­search­ing and writ­ing and por­ing over a wide va­ri­ety of pho­to­graphs, I can be out there im­me­di­ately in spirit, savour­ing, as Ge­orge Bernard Shaw said about the place, “the magic that takes you out, far out, of this time and this world.’’

This hard­back pub­li­ca­tion is a thump­ing good read for any­one in­ter­ested in all as­pects of the ven­er­ated Skel­ligs.

Photo of Valen­tia au­thor Des Lavelle

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