Mayo island on insightful new TV3 series

Bríd Heanue, her partner Joe, and sons, Nathan and Chris, feature in the new series Islanders on TV3.

Bríd Heanue, her partner Joe, and sons, Nathan and Chris, feature in the new series Islanders on TV3.

Television viewers across Ireland are to get an insight into life on Mayo’s furthermost outpost - the tiny island of Inishturk, located 14 kilometes off the coastline. It has a population of just 55 people.

Islanders is a new observational documentary series, starting on TV3 on Wednesday, April 15, and it premiers with a visit to Inishturk to meet mum-of-two Bríd Heanue and her mother Mary Catherine, the island’s development manager.

The filmmakers arrive one Inishturk as Bríd is preparing for one of the hardest parts of island life - sending her 12-year-old son Nathan off to secondary school on the mainland.

It is the second time Bríd has gone through the heart-wrenching process, as her eldest son Chris has been attending Rice College, Westport, for the past three years.

“It is a very emotional subject with me,” says Bríd. “It is going to be heartbreaking. He has been my little baby here at home, and for him to leave, I’m going to find it hard. We are all going to find it hard.”

As well as preparing to send another grandson to the mainland, Mary Catherine, in her role as island development manager, is dealing with storm damage to the island’s infrastructure. She is also focused on securing a fish farm on a site, one mile from Inishturk, to build some future employment prospects for the island and halt the population decline.

The series also visits Arranmore off Donegal and Whiddy off Cork.

Against the backdrop of breathtaking Atlantic scenery, the islanders speak frankly about why they feel it is so important to preserve their unique way of life in the face of ever growing challenges, such as declining island populations, the economic realities and even falling in love and finding a life partner.

Islanders will air on TV3 on Wednesday, April 15, at 9pm.

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