Summerbook #6: The Lost Island
Eilís Dillon published 50 books during her long career; at first she wrote in Irish, and The Lost Island seems to have been her first English book. It came out in 1952 and after that she wrote in English, and also switched to adult novels, mainly mysteries set in Ireland. She was deeply involved in the Irish literary scene and, among other things, she founded the Irish Children's Book Trust.
Somewhere on the western coast of Ireland (my own guess is the bay of Galway), Michael helps his mother run their farm. He is 14 and his father disappeared four years ago; Michael has never been exactly sure what happens. When a menacing tramp brings the family a message from the lost man, Michael learns that his father had been inspired to sail after a treasure, said to be found on the legendary island of Inishmanannan, from which no one has ever returned.
Michael and his friend Joe just have to go in search of the lost father. Their directions sound like a fairy tale and the only boat they can get is borrowed from Pat Conroy, an obviously greedy man who would be happy to shove them overboard and get any treasure for himself. In fact, most of the story is Michael and Joe dodging around the bay, trying to outwit Pat and his henchman Matt so they can get to the adventure they want -- searching for Inishmannan and Michael's dad.
It's an exciting and fun story that has the boys continually working on solving the latest problem to pop up. The setting on the west coast of Ireland, and the sea adventuring, reminded me of The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry. Recommended.