Belfast Telegraph

Rathlin Island cut off for fourth day due to bad weather

Rathlin Island Ferry company predict that it may be Wednesday before it's safe to cross

By Joanne Sweeney

Rathlin Island may remain cut off until Wednesday due to severe winter gales which has forced daily ferry crossings to be cancelled.

The inhabited island has been cut off for the fourth day running, however, the hardy  islanders are likely to cope well with the situation.

The ferry - which is the island's main link to the mainland - is run by husband and wife Ciaran and Mary O'Driscoll who predict that the six mile Sea of Moyle crossing may not be safe to undertake until Wednesday at the earliest.

Mrs O'Driscoll said: "We had to cancel today's crossing and we really won't know about tomorrow until the morning. It's always the skippers call.

"It has to be safety first as we won't take a risk with people's lives.

"However, my husband reckons it could be Wednesday before we can cross again.

"It's not just crossing over, it's also about getting back safely.

"The islanders have plenty of food to last as we all were aware last week that that the gales were coming. There's always the helicopter service in emergencies."

Mrs O'Driscoll added that she was aware of one young woman who has not been able to return to her college in time.

Frances Black, one of the island's most famous natives, told on Facebook how she was worried about not being able to leave the island over the weekend in time for an important gig with Sharon Shannon and Mary Coughlan at the Millennium Forum in Londonderry.

Her friends Paddy McLoughlan and his friend came to the rescue and took her over in "some horrendous seas" to arrive safe and sound in Cushendal.

It's the first time in 20 years that the inhabited island has been cut off for so long, some islanders have claimed.

According to island Michael Cecil, it's been about 20 years since Rathlin was cut off from Northern Ireland for so long.

Over 100 people live on Rathin and many commute daily to Ballycastle for work, shopping and school attendance.

Read more:

Frances Black: Since I started my own recovery from alcoholism, life has been amazing ... now I look back and see that it was meant to be A day in the life of the storm chasers Pensioner airlifted from Rathlin Island after being cut out of crashed 4x4 Family-run island company targets worldwide sales growth with its hand-harvested seaweed products


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