John Canny was a hermit who lived in a cave on the Isle of Doagh in County Donegal. He had worked in the US for many years but was unfortunately robbed of everything on his way home to Ireland (story goes that he was robbed by a black haired woman and he hated the sight of black haired women ever after!). Back home with nothing, he dug a 12 foot space into the sandbanks and existed there for a number of years, mainly on fish and birds – including seagulls and crows. One particularly harsh winter, the locals feared for his survival. Stones were collected and everyone came together, building him a house in a day. He eventually agreed to leave his cave and move into the house.
The little house still survives in Doagh.