Deserted Village - Dooagh
Starting at the Carpark of Slievemore graveyard, follow the track west which will take you along the base of Slievmore, past the white stone quarry and into the village of Dooagh returning by the same track to the car park.
Although abandoned as a permanent settlement sometime in the late 19th century, the deserted village at Slievemore, Achill Island, was used as a 'booley village' well into the 20th century (some accounts suggest as recently as the 1940s). A booley village is one that is occupied for only part of the year, for instance for the summer months to allow cattle to graze on fresh pasture. Booleying was common on Achill Island in former times, and Slievemore is but the largest of many other former booley settlements on the island.
Ordnance Survey of Achill Island, carried out in 1838, indicates that the village at Slievemore was inhabited. However, less than 20 years later, and following the Great Famine, a correspondent writing about the Rev. Nangle's Protestant Mission at Dugort makes
reference to a deserted village nearby: "In approaching the Colony [Nangle's Mission], the roads wind along the base of Slievemore. Here the ruins of a Deserted Village strike the eye unpleasantly, and should be removed, as they disadvantageously occupy the
ground". (Howard, J.E., 1855, 'The Island of Saints')
A-B. Facing the mapboard, turn right and follow the purple arrow as the loop skirts around the back of some hoses to exit onto the main road (R319) at the memorial stone to Don Allum. Cross the road, turn left and, almost immediately, turn right onto a minor roadway. As you continue to follow this roadway along the Owenavalley River (Abhainn Bhaile in Irish) it changes from a surfaced road to sandy roadway. As you pass a second track on your left the roadway veers right and away from the river.
B-C. Continue along the roadway for nearly 2km as it passes through bogland and crosses a stream (midway) to reach a sharp right bend. After another 200m you reach a junction with a sand roadway from your left. Veer right here.
C-A. Now the loop begins the descent back to Dooagh Village along the Tenregee River Abhainn Toin re Gaoithe in Irish). At midway the roadway changes to surfaced road and on the final section you pass a number of bridges on your left. At the junction with the main road cross to the other side and the trailhead is 30m away.
The island is only 2.6 km2 in area – and is home to about 20 people. The main activities are farming (sheep and cattle) and fishing. The little Holy Trinity Church on the island has an interesting history. Constructed in the early 1900s (in a time of strict Church divisions) it was built exclusively for the use of the Protestant people on the island - Inishbiggle is the only Irish island that has a Protestant church of its own. Almost exactly one hundred years later (2003), Inishbiggle set a headline for ecumenism in Ireland, when the church was rededicated to serve both the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic communities.
A-B. Starting from the mapboard at the slipway at Bull’s Mouth, follow the red arrow along the roadway. After 500m pass a roadway on your right and (after 100m) another on your left. Pass the Post Office on your right and (300m later) you reach a crossroads. You will be returning to this point towards the end of the loop. For now, proceed straight ahead.
B-C. The loop now joins another loop which starts and finishes at the Gubnadoogha pier on the Ballycroy side of the island - this is marked with green arrows. Continue to follow the roadway past the schoolhouse (on your left) and a roadway (on your right). After 1km you reach the island’s Church at a crossroads. The loop turns left here - but you might like to take a short trip to the beach which is 100m straight ahead.
C-D. From the church, the loop ascends gently and levels out to pass a laneway to a house (on your left) before turning left at a 3-way junction. Another 300m takes you to a T-junction where the green loop turns right toward the Gubnadoogha pier. You turn left here. [Note: if you have the time you might enjoy the trip to the Gubnadoogha pier - allow 30mins out and back to this point.]
D-A. Follow the red and green arrows along the roadway to reach a house at a left bend. Turn left and after 50m pass a sandy roadway on your left. After 200m pass a roadway on your right and descend to reach the crossroads from where you began the loop at B above. The green loop turns left here - but you turn right and make your way back to the trailhead (1km).