There are at least two islands named Flatey in Iceland. The one we briefly visited was Flatey Island in Breiðafjörður. Flatey means ‘flat’.
The Icelanders tend to name things in a very literal way. For example, the volcano that disturbed air travel in early 2010, Eyjafjallajökull, means Island – Mountain-Glacier, which pretty much describes it.
Flatey Island was originally the site of a monastery founded in the 1100s. It is now a small settlement and a ferry stop on the sail from Stykkisholmur to Brjanslaekur. From there you can drive to the spectacular bird nesting cliffs (puffins!) at Latrabjarg. The ferry is the only way to get to Flatey unless you have your own boat.
When we arrived at the Flatey dock there was a lot of activity. A young mother was bringing her new baby home to the island and she was the centre of attention for the locals. But then a group of young disadvantaged adults, escorted by several Red Cross volunteers, made their way off the ferry to the dock to begin their summer holiday on the island.
The main attraction immediately became the young woman getting her first wheel barrow ride (no cars on Flatey). Her shrieks of laughter were soon the centre of attention for all on the dock and the ferry.