late Michael the First was both a colourful character and a legend
in his own life time. Married to Anne he is survived by his family
of five sons and one daughter. Both Michael and Anne are buried in
the family vault in Bannow Bay Co.Wexford.
In around the year 1920 the
ten year old
Michael made a vow to his Mother that one day he would own the Saltees and become their first Prince. Twenty three years later in
December 1943 he realised his dream. However his coronation on
the Great Saltee did not take place until July 1956.
A throne, flag-staff and obelisk
were shipped to the Great Saltee, the obelisk bearing a plaque with his
likeness in profile. The throne is a memorial to his mother
and features a coat of arms
and the following
chair is erected in memory of my mother to whom I made a vow
when I was ten years old that one day I would own the Saltee Islands and become the First
Prince of the Saltees. Henceforth my heirs and successors can only
proclaim themselves Prince of these Islands by sitting in this chair
fully garbed in the robes and crown of the Islands and take the Oath
of Succession" - Michael the First.
One of the first jobs undertook on the
Great Saltee was the leveling of a field in the centre of the
island as a landing strip for his private airplanes. He was
taught to fly by Capt.Darby Kennedy (Weston Aerodrome) and
regularly flew his Miles Messenger aircraft to the islands. Between
1945 and 1950 over 34,000 trees and shrubs were planted on the
island. The most successful of these were Cordyline Palms, which are flourishing to this day.