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Diving into Scotchport’s past

Scotchport, a small and beautiful sheltered cove near Corclough on the Mullet, has an interesting history and today is a popular location for scuba diving in Mayo.

The inlet is sheltered by rock formations opening out into a narrow exit leading to the wild Atlantic. This natural harbour once made Scotchport the perfect embarkation point for the boats that serviced the nearby Eagle Island lighthouse.

Local people say that Scotcport was named after the Scottish Saint, Lachtín, who came ashore there in the 6th century with a group of Scottish monks who built their monastery at nearby Annagh Head.

Today, Scotchport is a popular location for scuba diving in Mayo. Scuba divers take advantage of the bay’s safe, calm and clear water which is alive with a variety of wonderful marine life.

The horseshoe-shaped bay is rimmed by a stony foreshore that’s difficult to walk even at low tide.

The bay is overlooked by a two-story boathouse, dating back to the early 1900s, that was once the base for the boats that ferried lighthouse keepers and their supplies to Eagle Island.

The old boathouse at Scotchport, Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey
The old boathouse at Scotchport, Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

The old boathouse, which is still in use, is an impressive stone structure with red-bricked window lentils.

Nearby is another reminder the Scotchport’s past links to Eagle Island in the shape of an old rusting winch which was used to pull boats in and out of the water.

There are two plaques beside the boathouse – one plaque, inscribed with a list of names, commemorates the boatmen who rowed The Rose and St. Mary to and from Scotchport to Eagle Island.

An old rusting winch which was used to pull boats in and out of the water at Scotchport, Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey
An old rusting winch which was used to pull boats in and out of the water at Scotchport, Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

The epigraph also includes the fisherman’s prayer:

“Dear Lord, be good to me. The sea is so wide; my boat is so small.”

The second plaque is in memory of local men, Charlie Williams and Martin Gallagher, “who left here on the 6th June 1911 and perished on the Atlantic.”

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.

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