Above: The new border sign at Dooneen Cove Island, erected yesterday at the east end of the islet.
Co-President Ó Cathail returned to Dooneen Cove Island for the first time since annexing it on the Confederation’s behalf just over one year ago. Yesterday evening he arrived at the island to inspect the condition of the island and note any major changes since the annexation. The first duty he carried out was to see if the bottle containing the original Declaration of Annexation was still in the place where it had been hidden, a hollow in the centre of the island covered with rocks. The bottle was gone and the rocks removed. Ó Cathail cited a poor choice of location as the cause, saying the location would have been visible to anyone walking across the island (which is connected to the mainland with a concrete causeway).
Above: The new sign is the first border sign on any of the Confederation’s three frontiers with Ireland, and the sign’s location has been found to fit in well in its sheltered location beside the main trail across the island.
The most notable part of the visit was the erection of the border sign at the point where the causeway connects to the island. This is the first permanent visible statement of authority the Confederation has made on the island. The laminated paper sign was nailed to a small wooden stake and pushed into the sandy soil next to the main trail across the island. The location was chosen because it is backing onto a elevated part of ground covered in grass, sheltering it from the wind.
Above: Before and after; the narrow gap (left), and the pallet which is now the bridge across the gap.
Above: The new bridge across the gap, as seen from the side. This humble piece of recycled architecture will hopefully prove useful to visitors to the island.
The first infrastructural development on the island was also made yesterday. A wooden pallet washed up onto the nearby shore has been used to cover a gap between two parts of the main trail across the island. The gap, a valley like feature across the middle of the island which is about 3 feet across and the same in depth, is narrow enough to be crossed by foot, but nevertheless could cause a twisted ankle if approached without care. The pallet will act as a footbridge to allow visitors to the island to walk all the way across the island without risking injury at the gap.
Above: The Annexation Act in its bottle, in a hidden ledge (left), and covered up with rocks.
This morning Ó Cathail returned to the island once again. He checked that the new border sign was still in place, and secured the bottom of it with a large stone to ensure it doesn’t detach from its stake in strong winds. He then placed a copy of the Annexation of Dooneen Cove Island Act 2014 into a plastic bottle. Since the Declaration of Annexation had been taken due to its obvious location in the centre of the island, he climbed along the north coast of the island until he found a hidden ledge carved into the rockface, visible only by standing next to or below it. Once the bottle was in the ledge, he covered it up with rocks, and ensured it wasn’t visible. It is hoped that the better location will ensure that an official document won’t be taken from the island for a second time!
Above: The island as seen this morning, with the new border sign visible as a white dot directly above where the causeway meets the island.
Above: Rock art in the centre of the island (left) and at the northernmost tip of the island (right).
One of the observations made by Co-President Ó Cathail was the rock art in the island, which had not been there this time last year. The art consists of stacks of stones from the nearby strand, with some stacks connected to one another with a longer stone on top. Some of the rock art is able to withstand the changing tides, as they lie below the high tide line and carry some seaweed. This curious addition to the island has not been removed, perhaps because it reflects the quaintness of the island.
Above: A show of sovereignty; with no flagpole the national flag was spread across the new bridge (left) while the new sign, secured with a stone, is seen above where the causeway meets the island (right).
Co-President Ó Cathail returned to Orchardstown this evening having spent a weekend in the area around Dooneen Cove Island. The events of the past two days are among the most significant in the history of the Confederation. The erection of the border sign on the island is a major display of sovereignty over the island, and sets a precedent for future procedure in the annexation of further territories.