The Island House

by John C McTernan

The Island House or, Flood's as it is popularly referred to in more recent times, was built in the centre of the Island and facing eastwards, by George Dorran around 1786. The structure was far too tall, three stories and a basement and unusually narrow. It consisted of a drawing room and dining room on the first floor, three bedrooms on the second, in addition to two garrett rooms on the top floor and a basement. Its windows, front and back, were draughty and far too large, and the hall-door opened straight into the shaft of the stairs which acted as a funnel for the winds blowing in from the Atlantic.

After Thomas Meredith had built the smaller and more comfortable Lodge on the more sheltered N.E. end of the Island, the Big House was vacant for long periods. George Dorran lived there periodically and after the death of Thomas Meredith it was either occupied by his family during the bathing season or let to visitors. During the Famine years Jane Meredith, widow of Joseph of Cloonamahon, stayed there from time to time and organised relief for her Island tenants. In the fifties James Crawford of Scardan leased the House and 170 acres from Captain Thomas J. Meredith of Cloonamahon, son of the afore mentioned Joseph and grandson of Thomas and Olivia.

Following the sudden death of James Crawford as he crossed the Strand in 1861, his widow, Margaret, married Joseph Flood (1837-1924), a young man from the Parish of Drumcliffe who had spent a few years in the London Mounted Police. After his first wife died in 1889 without any offspring, Flood lost no time in marrying Anne Parke of Strandhill, who was sixteen years his junior. By her he had three daughters and two sons, John and Herbert. Both took up careers in banking, with Herbert rising to the post of Manager before his death in 1964. On his father's death in 1924, John Jack Flood, resigned from his job and returned home to reside in the Island House and run the two hundred acre farm which Joseph had got in the division of the Meredith Coney Island estate in 1913. He married Delia daughter of James and Kate Ward, but the economic depression of the thirties forced him to sell out and emigrate to New York with his wife and three children, where he died in July, 1941, aged 46 years.

Since then the so-called Folly or Bleak House has remained vacant. Although still roofed but without windows, doors or floors, it still stands a sturdy though desolate-like landmark not only for the Island itself but for the whole of Sligo Bay from Raughley Point to Aughris Head.

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