Friday, 7 October 2016

Island 356 - Ilaunnacuska, Ahakista, County Cork

Illaunnacuska is a small tidal island located about 200 metres south of the Air India Memorial Garden at Ahakista on the south side of the Sheep's Head Peninsula in County Cork.  It is joined to the mainland at all but the highest tides by a rocky tombolo, which has grass growing on it.  However there was dried out seaweed strewn across it, so I presume that the island is sometimes cut off from the mainland.  The island is about 400 metres from east to west by 150 metres from north to south and the highest point on the island is 13 metres above sea level.  I think the island is probably grazed occasionally by animals, as there is a dry stone wall and gate on the side facing the mainland and also a water trough.

When I visited in early September 2016 heather, gorse, bird's foot trefoil, sheep's bit scabious, sea mayweed, ragwort, yarrow and thistles were in flower.  Most of the island is covered in lush long grass with some patches of bracken and brambles.

Air India Flight 182 on its way from to Montreal to Delhi via London, was blown up by a bomb over the Atlantic Ocean to the west of County Cork on 23rd June 1985.  329 people were killed including 280 Canadians, 27 British and 22 Indians.  The memorial garden at Ahakista was officially opened on the first anniversary of the disaster. The giant sundial was designed Ken Thompson, a sculptor from Cork and paid for by the people of Canada, India and Ireland.

Air India Memorial Sundial looking west
Air India Memorial Garden
Illaunnacuska from Ahakista
Ahakista from Illaunacuska
Ahakista from Illaunnacuska

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