Inis Meáin; Middle Island. A mile offshore from the old pier at Port Arthur, Donegal. Back-to-the-wind and cosied between mighty Gabhla to the south and the seagull-screeched, salted endurance of Inis Oirthir to the north. Sixteen houses, some with a roof still, a school and the shell of a bunkhouse where the migratory herring men of Oban would roost in season. Light as a feather and tarred black currachs rowed back and forth at will, not a timetable. For groceries and Mass, to the dance and just because.
There never was a telephone, even at the end. And Gaeilge is not a language that lends to the harsh shouting of semaphore. So each returning islander called for a boat by standing at their particular family mark on the mainland shore, where their grandparents had always stood, and simply looked out to sea.