The abandoned Great Blasket Island off the west coast of Ireland holds a special place in the heart of 92-year-old Dr Mike Carney who was born there. The Telegraph goes with him as he visits his birthplace for the last time.
"I don't know if I will be able to make it," says Mike Carney, looking out across a wild stretch of water to the place where he was born 92 years ago. "I would like to put my feet down there one more time, but I wonder, is it possible?"
Frankly, it seems crazy to try. The Great Blasket is famous throughout the world as a place where a remarkable community once lived, but it is remote, empty and inaccessible for most of the year.
We are in the far west of Ireland and the weather is turning bad, making the ground treacherous underfoot. Dr Carney walks with a shuffle and wears a brace for his back.
He is standing on the headland, looking out at the Blasket Sound. Under those waves there are many wrecks.
To get to the island, the old man will have to negotiate a wet quayside, a rubber dinghy, a sharp climb up into a converted fishing boat and an hour's journey by sea, buffeted by the Atlantic waves. Then he will face the dinghy again and the derelict island slipway, slick with seaweed, leading to a steep rock path as slippery as ice. Yet he says: "I have the determination within me to do this."
He has come a long way already to reach this point; more than three thousand miles from his retirement home in Massachusetts, then down the coast of Ireland from the airport to the far tip of the Dingle Peninsula, a finger of land that points back west.
"I can't get the island out of my mind," says Dr Carney, with the strong accent of a man who grew up speaking only Gaelic and who has never let the language go.
"I dream about the island at night. I dream about the way it was when we were young."
The Great Blasket island was abandoned 60 years ago, as the result of a tragedy that had broken the hearts of the Carney family and their fellow islanders. The evacuation took place on 17 November 1953. Nobody has lived there permanently since. The houses are ruins. So what is calling Mike Carney now? Why is he risking his life to get back?
Get the latest headlines http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
Subscribe to The Telegraph http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=telegraphtv
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/telegraph.co.uk
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/telegraph
Follow us on Google+ https://plus.google.com/102891355072777008500/
Telegraph.co.uk and YouTube.com/TelegraphTV are websites of The Daily Telegraph, the UK's best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.