Our Chatty Creatures

Olann’s Lamb’s Tale: Boycott

Hey it’s great to see ewe again! I’m just back from the ‘Lady Baa-Baa’ concert! She’s so talented! What a star! She reminds me of someone…Oh yeah…me! When I’m not being a fabulous icon in the Achill Experience Aquarium (What am I saying, I’m always iconic!?), I enjoy reading up on the rich history of the island.

Today I want to share my history tale. Let’s talk about a very famous but not so popular man who once lived in Achill. I’m sure you’ve heard of him before…’Boycott’. (1832-1897) That’s right. Charles Boycott was an actual person living in Achill in the 19th century. He first came to Achill in 1857. He earned the reputation of being a cruel land-agent. His behaviour was so unpopular among the locals that his name began to be used as a verb. (‘boycott’, a form of protest, to avoid something or someone) (Maxwell, 2013)

The ruins of his old house are located at the base of the mountain near Keem Bay (pronounced ‘Kim’ or ‘Kem’ by locals). He later moved to Corrymore House. Charles spent 20 years in Achill. Becoming legendary for the wrong reasons, fining tenants and refusing to reduce rents during tough times such as poor harvests. The locals began to shun the land owner. They encouraged his staff to leave. Shop keepers wouldn’t serve him. Even the post boy would not deliver to him. (MayoCoCo, n.d.) Finally, he had enough of being ‘Boycott’-ed by everyone. You could say he felt the serious ram-ifications for his actions! See what I did there!? Boycott eventually left Achill and moved to Ballinrobe in 1877 to work as Lord Erne’s land agent. And the rest as they say, is history!

You can visit the existing ruin of Boycott’s house today near Keem Bay. And uh…don’t ‘Boycott’ us! When you are visiting the island, be sure to stop in for a visit to the Achill Experience. Why not challenge yourself to learn 5 facts in the history museum?! I like to call them my history tales! In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed today’s lamb’s tale! Gotta go my now. My favourite movie is starting…’Ram-bo’! Hehe…Come back again soon.

Olann x

Olann the sheep

 all words by Eleanor Hoggard


MayoCoCo. (n.d.). Captain Boycott 1832-1897. [online] Available at: https://www.mayo.ie/discover/history-heritage/great-battles-conflicts/captain-boycott. (Accessed 2 May 2023).

Maxwell, N. (2013). Captain Boycott: man and myth. [online] History Ireland. Available at: https://www.historyireland.com/captain-boycott-man-and-myth/ [Accessed 2 May 2023].