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Lough  Gill,  County  Sligo.

Beezie's Island, Lough Gill, County Sligo.

Beezie's Island

The Lady of the Lake

Beezie GallagherCottage or Beezie's Island as it is called by locals is situated near Dooney Rock and has an area of about 14 acres.

It contains the ruins of an old church which belonged to the Trinity Abbey, Lough Key, County Roscommon.

The Island also contains the ruin of a centuries-old cottage which was occupied, until her death in 1949, by Mrs. Beezie Clerkin (nee Gallagher) - the last resident of any Island on Lough Gill.

Beezie was much loved by local people for her kindness and hospitality.
Her love of nature and rapport with wild animals & birds was well-known.

Often reffered to as 'The Lady of the Lake' Beezie lived all her life on her beloved Island.

In her early years she was employed as housemaid to the Wynne family of Hazelwood House and when her husband died in 1934 Beezie continued to live alone on the Island, regularly rowing the 6 mile round trip to Sligo Town for her pension and provisions.

Beezie Stranded in Artic Weather

Following the blizzards of Feburary and March of 1947, locals became concerned that Beezie's stock of food & supplies would be exhausted and not seeing chimney smoke from her cottage tried to break a path for a boat accross the frozen lake.

When this effort to reach the Island failed, Sligo Gardai were alerted and organised a rescue attempt.

A big tough U.S. Army truck, owned by Mr Kevin Murray from Sligo Town was placed at the disposal of the rescue party.

U.S. Army Truck Incidentally, after the snow storms, Kevin Murray with his truck undertook several vital missions to get relief supplies through to people living in isolated places in County Sligo.

Led by Gardai, the rescue party arrived at the lake shore at Aughamore, near Dooney Rock, with a flat-bottomed boat on the truck.

The rescuers tied a rope to the boat and in single file, each holding the rope, they pushed the boat ahead of them across nearly a mile of the unpredictable frozen lake to the Island.

On reaching the Island safely, they found Beezie huddled in her little cottage, no heat and provisions all gone. Her faithful dog and cat already dead from exposure and hunger.
The rescuers realised they had just arrived in time.

Beezie was given food, wrapped in blankets, placed in the flat-bottomed boat and the party made the return trip across the frozen lake.

Beezie was brought to stay with friends for a few days, at the Riverside, Sligo Town but was never fully content until she was back in her Island home.

End of an Era

Beezie Boating on Lough Gill
Locals feared the 80-year-old Beezie was destined to drown while boating on Lough Gill but instead she died in a small accidental fire in her Island cottage.

On Christmas eve 1949 Beezie visited Sligo Town and returned home safely.
Her body was discovered a few days later by local friends who had arrived to cut firewood for Sligo's
  'Lady of the Lake'


  Pics. of Beezie Gallagher (above & right)
  by Gertrude O'Reilly, who as Sligo
  correspondent for the 'Western People'
  visited Beezie on her Island in 1948.

See Also:  Church Island

Copyright © 2004 Áine

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