A Fogo Island Iceberg Self-Destructs…

25th February 2014
Pól Ó Conghaile

10 minutes after this iceberg drifted by Cape Cove on Fogo Island, its centre gave way.

“There was a loud noise and within five or six seconds, the middle section collapsed into the sea,” says Paddy Barry of Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn, who took the pictures.

paddy barry

“10,000 years in the making and just five seconds to just self-destruct.”

iceberg, paddy barry

Ireland’s links with Newfoundland go back centuries (some bloke named St. Brendan, anyone?). In fact, some 20% of Newfoundlanders are said to claim Irish heritage, making it “the most Irish place outside of Ireland” as Tim Pat Coogan writes in Wherever Green is Worn (2002).

This is one reason Westjet, the low-cost Canadian carrier, begins direct flights between Dublin and St. John’s this summer. Going to press, bookings for its “new flights to the old country” were among the strongest in Westjet’s history.

Getting to St. John’s is only the start of a journey to Fogo Island, however – it’s located a further six-hours (including a ferry ride) along the Trans Canada Highway.

“By the way, have you ever heard of the community of Tilting on Fogo Island?” Paddy adds.

“Tilting is an all-Irish community on Fogo Island. It is the most Irish spot in Newfoundland… [it] was settled in the early 1700s by Irish immigrants. Everyone who lives in Tilting has an Irish name and they cherish their Irish heritage. Tilting is full of surnames like Foley, McGrath, Lane, Broders, Kinsella, Greene, Keefe, Hurley, Reardon, Burke and Dwyer. They are a fine bunch of characters.”

I think I’ve just got a new addition to my bucket list.