* `The Loneliest Boy in the World - he has only seagulls as playmates.' 1949 newspaper article * Gearoid Cheaist O Cathain had a unique childhood - he was the last child brought up on the Blasket Islands of Ireland's southwest coast. The nearest in age was his uncle who was thirty years older. In this affectionate memoir, Gearoid recalls growing up on the island without a doctor, priest, school, church or electricity. Despite public perception of this small, vulnerable fishing community, he remembers a wonderful childhood, cherished by parents and neighbours. His memories are entwined with the beliefs and customs handed down through the generations and are an insight into life on the Blaskets. He speaks with authority of the difficulties and challenges facing the final generation on the island. The Blaskets, with their deserted, crumbling cottages, will live on, in part due to the invaluable memories of the last child of the Great Blasket Island. * Also available: From the Great Blasket to America by Michael Carney
Gearoid Cheaist O Cathain is the only survivor of the islanders evacuated from the Great Blasket Island in 1953/54. In 1953, he moved with his parents to Dunquin. An accountant by profession, he enjoyed a varied career. He lives in Cork, works with Gael Taca promoting Irish, and occasionally lectures at University College Cork. Patricia Ahern is the author of Picture Poetry Mallow and the co-author of In Search of the Missing and The Lightkeeper. She has an MA in Women's Studies, a HDip in Journalism and Media Communications and a BA in English and Sociology. Born in Mallow, she now lives in Ballinhassig, County Cork.