A Foot of Turf



Salmon fishing is hard-wired into the DNA of the people of Arranmore—an island community of native Irish speakers whose population hovers barely above five hundred. In the latest film from David Drake, we are introduced to this unique and storied society whose way of life is increasingly imperilled as a result of a 2006 ban on salmon fishing by the European Union. The ban puts an end to a resource that, for generations, has been the life-blood of the community. This, explains Drake, “was a death sentence for the local economy, and it is doubtful the distinct culture of the island will survive long without it.”

The island’s population—many of whom have been forced to move away in search of work—is dwindling and ageing. And yet, there are efforts to keep the flame alive: “Islanders from as far afield as Leicester return to Arranmore in support of their football team, which isn’t just another club—it’s an expression of their pride and identity.” Each weekend the players set to work, tackling and scoring between the great blue mass of the Atlantic and the wall of wild mountains that rise from the island’s interior.

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