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Harvard professor's disappearance on Donegal island 24.04.12

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 life.
"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 Williams.
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 Inishbofin.
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.
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