David Mullen visits Dorinish Island
“Alistair, I want you to buy me an island. Oh, and it mustn’t be more than two hours from London.” These were the words of The Beatles’ singer and songwriter John Lennon to Alistair Taylor, the personal assistant to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, in 1967.
Taylor was known as ‘Mr. Fixit’ and often handled business matters like property deals for the ‘Fab Four’. At the time, Lennon was at the height of his career with the release that year of the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and with ‘Beatlemania’ a worldwide phenomenon. What he wanted was somewhere to get away from it all.
Taylor eventually came across a 19-acre island in Clew Bay, County Mayo being sold by the Westport Harbour Commision. Dorinish was uninhabited and the two islets linked by a shale causeway reputedly held the best grazing land in the bay. The island fitted the bill – it was private and with the aid of jets and helicopters, it wasn’t much more than two hours from London. When Taylor showed Lennon pictures, he told him to go buy it.
Taylor travelled to Westport, and, with thirty other farmers bidding for the island and discretion of paramount importance, the auctioneer advised Taylor to let his son, Michael Browne, a local solicitor, to do the bidding for him. Browne won the auction and, at £1,700, John Lennon had bought himself a County Mayo island.