Emigration has always been a plight on the landscape of Valentia Island, from those who left to the other island (Ireland) to those who have been forced to flee further afield, and then there was Free Emigration which was introduced when Ireland was being hit by a second famine. In order to qualify for a family’s free Passage to America, you were forced to give up you’re holding and the entire family had to go.

In June 1883 two ships the Furnesia and the Belgravia came into Valentia Harbour and took a human cargo of 1,200 people from the Iveragh Peninsula to America. As a result, the two old villages of the island, Clai na Cartan and Cnochan Cora Beg located in Coromore & Corabeg were decimated. Clai na Cartan had 50 houses in 1800, 21 houses in 1853 and only 1 house remained in the 1901 census. Cnonchan Cora Beag had about 60 houses at its height.

There were 253 pupils in the Ballyhearney National School before the 2nd ship sailed. The following week there were only 46.