A grandson of the King of Tory has started to build his own kingdom on the island off the north-west coast of Donegal.
Eight-year-old Dean Cullen enlisted the help of his father Daniel last week to erect a pier out onto West Lake close to the family home.
A number of his friends have since moored their replica fishing boats to the ten-foot long pier as he makes tentative plans to build a miniature house and boat shed nearby.
“The local school has been closed for the past two months and the big thing has been trying to stop the lads climbing the walls at home,” Daniel said about Dean and younger brother Fionn, two and a half.
“The weather has been wonderful and it’s a nice things for kids to do. It’s had a positive effect on them and it’s gone down well with their friends,” he said.
The pier has been built at West lake, a popular picnic spot on the island.
“It’s a quiet area and kids like to come over with their wee boats and put them out onto the lake. Dean wanted to put his boat out and leave it overnight so he decided he wanted to build a pier. He put down a few stones and made a bit of a pier but it started to fall apart once he walked on it so I decided to help him make a proper pier.
“I mixed a bit of cement and Dean and his friend went and got stones to use as bollards and I shuttered it that evening. It now allows them to tie up their fishing boats,” he said.
An islander, Michael Finbarr Rodgers, builds replica traditional island fishing boats for sale and nearly every child on the island has their own boat which they have named.
“There could be up to ten miniature boats tied up there at any given time,” he said.
“Dean’s talking about adding a house now and sure we could end up with a wee village before all is said and done,” he laughed.
Daniel’s wife Majella is a daughter of the late Patsy Dan Rodgers, the King of Tory.
“Maybe this is the start of his own little kingdom. It’s hard to keep children occupied these days with computer screens etc but this seems to have had a positive effect on them,” he said.
Cushla Rodgers and her younger brother Michael, two of Dean’s young friends came over to the pier and played with their boats last Sunday.
Daniel used to run the social club on the island but he’s been laid off these past few months and probably will be for much of the summer season too.
In the meantime he’s available to help Dean should he wish to extend his own kingdom any time soon!