Harvard professor's disappearance
on Donegal island
by Linda McGrory
THE MYSTERY disappearance of a Harvard professor
while visiting a Co Donegal island is set to breathe
new life into the Gaeltacht where he vanished.
Arthur Kingsley Porter, a multi-millionaire
professor of fine arts, disappeared in 1933 from
Inishbofin where he had built himself a hermit's hut
on the north east of the island.
Mr Kingsley Porter was the owner of Glenveagh
Castle, Co Donegal, at the time and, along with his
wife Lucy, had embarked on a restoration project at
the 19th century building.
The wealthy 50-year old academic had come to Ireland
to study archaeology and Celtic mythology, the
pursuit of which resulted in his book, 'The Crosses
and Culture of Ireland'.
Harvard professor, Arthur Kingsley
Porter, who vanished without trace on Inishbofin
island, Co Donegal, in July 1933 at the age of 50.
While staying on
Inishbofin, a small Gaeltacht island off the coast
of Magheraroarty, he went for a stroll along the
shore on July 8, 1933. He never returned. His
disappearance remains a mystery to this day with
various rumours abounding. Some believe the American
drowned, others say he stole away to Europe while
more grisly rumours have him meet a violent death. A
special collection of over 1,000 monographs and 500
pamphlets from his library was later donated to the
National Museum of Ireland by his widow.
Thomas Williams, manager of the Arthur Kingsley
Porter Project says the "true story" of Mr Kingsley
Porter's disappearance is to be revealed in a
forthcoming book, film and documentary about his
"From the initial idea to write a script for a film
documentary on the professor’s mysterious
disappearance, many incredible offshoots have begun
to take root in the realms of film, publishing,
tourism, the visual and performing arts and in the
regeneration of Inishbofin Island," said Mr
Lugh Films, under the direction of Loïc Jourdain,
are currently negotiating a feature film and
documentary for the project while a new book,
published by Merrion, will be launched in Glenveagh
Castle in November.
Meanwhile, it is hoped the Arthur Kingsley Porter
Project will result in a tourism boost for the North
West and more specifically the rejuvenation of
Mr Williams said the project team are currently
liaising with the island's Fr Brian Ferry about
rebuilding the academic's original stone hut. Eight
artists have been signed up to create a unique
collection of jewellery, knitwear and artworks based
on the life of Kingsley Porter and his wife. A new
craft centre is also being proposed for the island
while a stone sculpture commemorating the Harvard
academic will be unveiled there on July 8, eighty
years to the day of his disappearance.