Atlantis / The Screamers

Also known as Atlantis Foundation, Atlantis Commune, Atlantis Ecological Community, or Atlantis Primal Therapy Commune. Unofficially referred to as “The Screamers.”

In 1974 on Innisfree, off the coast of Donegal [Ireland – AI], a group of free thinkers formed a community called the Atlantis Foundation. Their goals were simple: to live in harmony with their environment and in peace with each other.

The Atlantis Foundation may have remained low-key if it wasn’t for Primal Screaming Therapy – a way of removing angst by screaming your lungs out and thus reverting, so the theory goes, to your most primal self. The community members would wail away, happy in their private location.

But Ireland is a small place and it was only a matter of time before the locals in Burtonport found out. In no time at all they were known by all and sundry as “The Screamers”. Legend had it that, weather permitting, you could hear them screaming like banshees.

Before long, the Irish and UK media were taking boat rides out to see The Screamers, and they featured on many a tabloid front page. Questions were even asked about them in the Dail, and there was a wild rumour that the Health Board was sending Donegal children to them when hostels were full. In fact, very sincere and active members such as Mary Kelly and Jenny James, who founded the group, peopled the community. Kelly, a qualified midwife, delivered some of the island’s babies.

The group stayed on Innisfree until 1988 when a split led many of the members to found a community in Heya Grande, Colombia, still called the Atlantis Foundation. Others left for Baltimore in Cork.

One of those who went to Colombia was Tristan James Murray, born on Innisfree and delivered by Mary Kelly. On July 2000, aged 18, Tristan was kidnapped with another boy, Javier Nova, shot and then beheaded by Farc Urban Militia. The tragedy had a devastating effect on the group.

The Atlantis Foundation still exists in Colombia, Baltimore and Donegal. Mary Kelly went on to campaign for Palestinian rights in the Middle East and was arrested for damaging a US Air Force plane used to ferry military weapons to Iraq.

The Screamers exist now only in the folklore of the pubs around Burtonport.

– Source: Rory Egan, The Screamers? Irish Independent, July 2, 2006