East Light Oral History Project

Tuesday 17th October 2023

The East Light Oral History Project was carried out by the Rathlin Island Oral History Group (Jessica Bates, Jennifer McCurdy, John McCurdy, Noel McCurdy, Marina McMullen & Margaret McQuilkin) during 2021. This lead to a total of 28 interviews (with 29 individuals) about their memories and stories relating to the East Lighthouse. A book was produced bringing together some of the material collected.

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A professional film was commissioned and made by film-maker Margot McCuaig about Rathlin islander, Noel McCurdy and his time at the East Light and what working there has meant to him.

The final part of the project involved an online event where the film was shown, along with some of the stories and images collected from the interviewees, to the island community. Participants at this event were also encouraged to share any memories or stories they had relating to the East Light. Visual minutes were commissioned for this event and these capture and reflect the event and overall project in a visually effective manner.

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We hope that the project provides an insight into the life and work of generations at the East Light, and the long-lasting impact on the island community.

A huge thank you to everyone who participated and shared their stories and memories as part of this project. The booklet contains only a fragment of the material collected.

The Rathlin Oral History Group would like to thank and acknowledge the support of the Rathlin Development and Community Association and in particular David Quinney Mee and Stephen Ryan in the Rathlin Resource Centre; Commissioners of Irish Lights; the Department for Communities, NI; and the Heritage Lottery. The project was undertaken with funding from the Community Heritage Fund, which The National Lottery Heritage Fund administered on behalf of the Department for Communities. The publication of the book was made possible with funding from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Cultural Arts and Heritage grants scheme. Thanks also to Professor Arthur McIvor, Margot McCuaig and Dr Nic Wright for their guidance; to oral history group member Dr Jessica Bates who brought her professional expertise to managing the collected material; and to purpleTV and Margot McCuaig for the film of Noel McCurdy at the East Light; More than Minutes and Claire Stringer for the visual minutes; Tom McDonnell for the professional photographs; Dr Allison Campbell for all the transcription work and Impact Printing for the printing and design of the book.

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