Island Boy

Island Boy

Valentia, Skellig and my life at the ocean’s edge

‘There were twenty-five hours in my day then ... any job or challenge that the ocean or the harbour might offer was an option.’ From movies to oil rigs, damaged ships to deep-sea diving, running ferries and literally writing the book on the Skellig Islands, discover a unique life lived to the full.

Hardback: €19.99
Hardback: 256 pages
Size:226x155 mm
ISBN: 9781788492867

E-Book (ePub): €11.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781788493512

‘There were twenty-five hours in my day then ... any job or challenge that the ocean or the harbour might offer was an option. I undertook them all.’

Des Lavelle was born on Valentia Island in County Kerry in 1934, surrounded by the wild Atlantic waters. Known to the world for his passion for the nearby Skellig Islands, Des has led a fascinating and varied life, but his heart forever draws him back to Valentia. His wide-ranging memoir takes us on an extraordinary journey from an idyllic childhood on Valentia, through a short-lived ‘permanent, pensionable job’ with the Western Union Telegraph Company to a rich and fascinating life where the sea always offered opportunities.

When the movie Ryan’s Daughter needed marine advice in 1968, they came to Des. In 1974 a North Sea oil rig sought him out to help with a giant safety net, and a few years later his special skills came to the fore once more as Telecom Éireann laid their cables under the waves. From sea-faring on his beloved 32ft Béal Bocht to pioneering deep-sea diving, running a ferry, campaigning for his beloved island outpost, crewing with the Valentia lifeboat and travelling to far-flung places, Des Lavelle shares his ups and downs on his road to becoming a renowned author and expert on the historical and wildlife riches of Kerry’s intriguing Skellig Islands.

Island Boy is the compelling story of a man born and raised in Valentia and of a unique life that he continues to live to the full.

Des Lavelle

Des Lavelle of Valentia, County Kerry, is a man of marine passions, and the beautiful Skellig Islands are listed ahead of the rest. A seaman, photographer, diving instructor and author, he – with his venerable boat, the Béal Bocht – has guided many thousands of visitors to the Skelligs. Allied to this activity, his summer days are spent personally appreciating the wonders of wildlife, archaeology and history that occupy every nook and cranny on Skellig – above and beneath the sea – and he has spent many winters taking these topics on a lecture circuit that stretches from mainland Europe to the west coast of the United States. His photographs and texts also form the core of the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre on Valentia.

Though now retired from commercial boating, the call of the Skellig still draws him, on special summer days, to his Lorelei in the Atlantic Ocean.


full of tales intertwined with life, nature and the precious interpretations arising from this interaction. But the spellbinding and ever-present existence of the sea remains a centre point of the book

The Kerryman

Also by Des Lavelle:


Go to author page...

Similar Titles: