In the eighteenth century, the islands then owned by the Burkes entered a period of relative tranquillity and benign neglect. The islanders resorted to the old age practice of ship wrecking and smuggling. A surviving warrant of 1741 gives a fascinating description of the wrecking of a ship, the Kitty Briggs who was bound for England with a rich cargo from Antigua in the West Indies. She was attacked in Inishbofin harbour by three O’ Flaherty brothers, one being a priest.
In the nineteenth century fishing supported an enormous population of over 1600 people which included the hunting of seals and basking sharks. The Irish language continued to be spoken on these islands up to the 1900s when it was gradually replaced by English. In recent times the growth of the tourist industry has brought fresh life into Inishbofin and this should revitalise the economic life of this most picturesque of islands.
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Categorised in: Heritage