North coast of Inishturk. Only a handful of people live on this island.Mike Simms

Residents of Ireland's most remote island are praying the future of their isolated outcrop will be saved by a new prime-time documentary series.

The survival of Inishturk hangs in the balance, as its once thriving population has plummeted to just 58, with only three pupils attending the outpost's once busy primary school.

Inishturk seen from Carrownisky Strand on the coast of Mayo. Photo: Oliver Dixon / Creative Commons

Inishturk seen from Carrownisky Strand on the coast of Mayo. Photo: Oliver Dixon / Creative Commons

But the island's dwindling community – situated 9 miles (14.5km) off the west Mayo coast – is hoping an upcoming observational TV series on life on the exposed outpost will transform their fortunes.

Mary Heanue, Turk's development officer, said: "I always worry about the future of the island, but we have to remain hopeful.

"Our main concern is employment and trying to bring families back to live here, because the population is declining.

"But we're really hoping the TV series will make a difference and show the rest of Ireland what a beautiful place Inishturk is and what an amazing community we have.

"It's a wonderful place to live and bring up children and I'd hope that it will encourage families to move over and settle here."

Inishturk is one of three islands that will feature on 'Islanders,' the biggest in-house production undertaken by TV3 productions.

TV crews spent most of last year following the lives of native islanders on Inishturk, Whiddy Island, Co. Cork, and Arranmore, Co. Donegal, for the landmark production.

But as uncertain as the future of Inishturk is, the future of Whiddy island in Bantry Bay seems even more precarious.

Whiddy Island seen from the south shore of Bantry Bay, Ireland. Photo: Angus McClellan / Creative Commons

Whiddy Island seen from the south shore of Bantry Bay, Ireland. Photo: Angus McClellan / Creative Commons

In the first episode of the four-part series, Whiddy resident Tim O'Leary admits the future of his beloved home – and its population of just 22 – is more uncertain than ever.

The resourceful 43-year-old – who is the island's postman, publican, ferryman and also a part-time farmer – said: "The island is reaching a tipping point. If something can't be done now, it's finished. At one stage 850 people lived here."

Burtonport Ferry to Arranmore. Photo: Joseph Mischyshyn / Creative Commons

Burtonport Ferry to Arranmore. Photo: Joseph Mischyshyn / Creative Commons

Larger Arranmore, an Irish-speaking island off Donegal, has also seen its population halve to 500 in the last 50 years, while its fishing fleet has plummeted from 30 trawlers to just four working boats today.

'Islanders', which is a four-part series, kicks off at 9pm on Wednesday (April 15) on TV3.