Many people who come to Edernish do not recognize the depth of history that this island has seen. Edernish was bought by Emerson Herdman from the Marquis of Cunningham and built the house in 1904. It is a wooden house and was erected by a Norwegian firm. The house was semi-prefabricated. But the transport difficulties in getting it to the island were so great and costly, that the poor firm went bankrupt after building it. It was their last job. It is a fine house of three storey; three reception rooms, kitchen, pantries, nine bed-rooms, including dressing rooms, bathrooms, cloakroom and a big hot press where we could dry all our wet clothes and bathing things. It has a tile roof, which is generally not a success in Ireland. It has withstood frightful winter gales and tempests for over 60 years, and is still standing up to them.
They also built a jetty and slipway and a big boathouse. The boathouse however was blown away in a gale in 1924. It has been replaced by a smaller house.
The Herdman’s used the house as a summer retreat for many years but sold it then in 1935 to a couple from Dublin (Mr. and Mrs. Knox-Peebles). But Mrs. Knox-Peebles died tragically soon after that and Mr. Knox-Peebles sold Edernish after a year to Dr. Patricia Mayo, a dentist from London.
Dr. Mayo and her friend Dr. Sharp enjoyed the summer on Edernish until Miss Mayo became seriously ill and she sold it then to James Walsh who came from Burtonport but lives in Dublin. He had the island for 20 years but almost never visited it.
When we bought it from him in 1994 life came back to Edernish and our extended family is honored to carry on the tradition that Emmerson Herdman had started over 100 years before.
Partially taken from the book: "They all made me", by Rex Herdman, Omagh 1970