THE end of an era was marked in West Kerry last Thursday as Pádraig Ó Catháin, Baile an Fheirteáraigh, one of the few remaining Blasket Islanders, passed away.
In the advent of Pádraig's passing there are now only seven native islanders left living and three of those live in Springfield, Mass in the USA.
Mícheál de Mordha, curator of Ionad an Bhlascaoid, and the author of a new book documenting the history of the islands, expressed his sadness at Pádraig's passing.
"Peaidí was the grandson of Peats Mhicí Ó Catháin, 'Rí An Oileáin' and son of Seán A Rí Ó Catháin, from the Great Blasket Island," Mícheál told The Kerryman.
"He was also known as 'Peaidí Mheáig A' Rí', after his mother, 'Meáig A' Rí', nee Kavanagh, who hailed from Ventry Parish and married Seán A' Rí in 1919.
"Seán A' Rí died in the island in 1934, leaving his widow and a young family, including Peaidí.
"They subsequently transferred to Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, where Peaidí lived the rest of his life. He was a shy, unassuming individual and one of life's great gentlemen."
Muiris Bric from Gorta Dubh, President of The Kerrymen's Association in New York, was a close friend of Pádraig's.
"Peaidí was very quiet and unassuming," said Muiris, "he didn't say much but he was a nice man. He loved the sea and he often accompanied Ger and myself fishing off Ceann Sibeál."
Pádraig (90) was waked at his home last Friday before being brought to Séipeál Naomh Uinsean.
Requiem Mass was celebrated on Saturday morning before Pádraig was laid to rest in Reilig Cáitríona, Ceann Trá.