The people from the townland of Eachléim are to feature on TG4's Bailte programme - a series presented by Síle Nic Chon Aonaigh that looks at townlands all around Ireland - on next Wednesday at 8.30pm; the show will be repeated again on Saturday, March 16 at 7.15pm.
On the eve of the anniversary of the Rescue 116 tragedy, next Wednesday's edition of Bailte on TG4 brings the team to Eachléim - a townland in the southern part of the Mullet peninsula north of Black Sod – to a community that stood up in the hour of need.
Eachléim's name is said to come from old stories about a great horse that jumped from An Baile Nua down the road up here to Eachléim - it means Horse (Each ) and Leap (Léim ).
The show will feature a number of local people, including Máire Uí Ruadhain, who was central to the building of the Community Historical Centre – Ionad Deirbhile – 21 years ago. The centre tells the history of the area, through many photos that were collected from the local people. The centre is named after the local Saint, who reputedly plucked out her eyes - the water in the well is said to have restored her sight. Máire Uí Ruadhain brings tourists on historical tours around the area and there is a special interest in Deirbhile and her Church and well. Emigration has always been a huge part of the story of the Mullet peninsula. In 1883/4 through the Chuke scheme, thousands of people left to find a new life in America and Canada. The names of all those who boarded the ships are carved into a memorial near where they left.
Other locals to feature in the show are Blacksod lighthouse keeper, Vincent Sweeney, who is the current lighthouse keeper and his father was the keeper before him. Kathy Meenaghan and Noreen Togher, who moved home from Chicago with their parents when they were children also feature, as does Cillian Ó'Mongáin, a software engineer who runs his business working with some of the biggest multinational companies based in Silicon Valley. He works in An Eachléim as part of a team, despite being in one the remotest parts of Ireland. He moved there from his native Dublin in the 90’s because of his love of the place, which stemmed from his time there as a student in the Coláiste Uisce.
Mikey-Willie Phat, who has an old style garage with pumps, second hand cars, two pickups for breakdowns and a repairs service, is also featured, after having kept going despite all the changes in business over the years.
The show will also feature a number of members of the community who supported the Rescue 116 search - the community response to the tragedy was centred in the Community Hall in An Eachléim – an event which pulled the community together and a tragedy that will never leave them. The programme concludes with a helicopter flyby and members of the Coastguard presenting the community with red and white roses (the colours of rescue 116 ) to thank them for their support during the greatest tragedy in the history of the Irish coastguard.