Murrisk has a tradition of fishing dating back to the 12th Century. This came about from the fact that the Augustinian Monks,
who built Murrisk Abbey between the 11th and the 14th centuries, used small boats or currachs for fishing as they had little other food.
Local people learned the art of fishing from the monks. One must consider that the population in Murrisk, and in Ireland in general, was very large by today’s standards, and the main food was derived from grain, in particular, wheat, which was ground in the hand quorn, as is done by some societies in the underdeveloped countries today.
It was only in 1587 that the potato was introduced from America and became the staple diet of the Irish people. This large population was devastated by the Famine in 1846. Some 113,000 men and boys were engaged in the fishing industry in Ireland prior to the Famine, and yet by 1880 only 23,000 were employed.
People had to be self sufficient in those times. Life was not easy, and people accepted this fact. Repairs to their currachs or boats were undertaken during the winter months, and often new boats were built in preparation for the next season.
Fishermen and small farmers often supplemented their income by gathering seaweed and periwinkles along the Murrisk shoreline.
The name “Murrisk” or “Muir-Iasg” means a Sea-Monster.