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The blows of County Clare
Jeremy MacClancy

thought an ideal zone for collecting folk beliefs (Foster 1997: 195). After visiting the Aran Islands off Clare, Yeats urged the young writer J. M. Synge to ‘live there as if you were one of the people themselves; express a life that has never found expression’. Between1898–1901, Synge visited five times, gathering material there he later used in his plays. In his account of these stays, Synge acts the amateur ethnographer translating the ways of these insular characters for an educated, urban audience. He sees the locals in patently primitivist terms: unsullied by a

in Alternative countrysides
Martine Pelletier

seems partly inspired by the real-life Alfred Cort Haddon (1855–1940). As David McConnell explains in the programme notes, Haddon, a graduate from Cambridge University, was appointed Professor of Zoology at the Royal College of Sciences in Dublin in 1880: ‘A follower of Galton he became interested in distinguishing races and sub-races by measuring the shapes of skulls (craniology), and in relating these physical qualities to behaviour’.34 The Gallery Press edition of the playscript features both an extract from ‘Studies in Irish Craniology: The Aran Islands, Co Galway

in Irish literature since 1990
Open Access (free)
Writing home in recent Irish memoirs and autobiographies (John McGahern’s Memoir, Hugo Hamilton’s The Speckled People, Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark and John Walsh’s The Falling Angels)
Stephen Regan

in the old ancestral homeland. It is towards the west of Ireland, the place of myth and folklore and Irish language, that the memoir is drawn. The title recalls another literary work of indeterminate genre, John Millington Synge’s book The Aran Islands, in which the Irish playwright in the guise of anthropologist encounters the denizens of those far-flung islands. In his account of his visits to Inishmore, the largest of the islands, Synge recalls how he met an old blind fisherman called Mairtin Conneely, who told him the story of how Satan and his angels were

in Irish literature since 1990
Kelly Sullivan

point, this time arguing from the perspective of the reader or viewer, in an essay about his map-making process: ‘we could not use or even bear to look at a map that was not mostly blank’.2 In describing the means by which he created maps of the Aran Islands, Connemara and the Burren, Robinson also describes the aesthetics of writing about place; his maps and his books both function as ‘conceptual model[s]‌of the terrain projected onto paper … representation[s] of spatial relationships in a symbolism that facilitates calculations’.3 In the same essay he explains that

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
In defence of the Irish essay
Karen Babine

during his Aran explorations, he mentions the difficulty of mapping specific places on the islands, because of the fragile nature of the limestone: he might return and find that the cliff has collapsed and the place is gone forever. Seen from a different light, the physical landscape of the Aran Islands, as well as Connemara, limestone and granite respectively, offer insight into a truth that may exist for a while, but may erode away, perhaps a distinctly Irish version of Heraclitus’s dictum that ‘no man may step into the same river twice’. In ‘A Connemara Fractal

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
Intercultural exchanges and the redefinition of identity in Hugo Hamilton’s Disguise and Hand in the Fire
Carmen Zamorano Llena

troublesome friendship with Kevin Concannon, Vid gains access to Kevin’s life story and to a dark family legend of discrimination and exclusion linked to the symbolically charged Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. Thus, Kevin’s life story and the family’s ‘silent [or, rather, silenced] ancestry’ are the two narratives that will enable Vid to find a different sense of place in his host country. By emphasising the connecting points between Kevin’s and Vid’s experiences of estrangement in Ireland, the novel fosters what Ronit Lentin has called a ‘politics of

in Literary visions of multicultural Ireland
Tim Robinson as narrative scholar
Christine Cusick

long time. And to an extent, I suppose that perhaps I never really want to let it go. In Robinson’s preface to Pilgrimage, he tells the now famous story of his and his partner’s Máiréad’s first day on Aran Island in the summer of 1972: ‘On the day of our arrival we met an old man who explained the basic geography: “The 90 Christine Cusick ocean”, he told us, “goes all around the island.”We let that remark direct our rambles on that brief holiday, and found indeed that the ocean encircles Aran like the rim of a magnifying glass, focusing attention to the point of

in Unfolding Irish landscapes
Úna Newell

villages that do not allow the decencies of life, it is not at their election they do so. If cabins are poor, none too comely, or weather-proof, and if cattle are to be found in them together with human beings, the fault lies in painful causes in history. One does not, in desiring to help a friend to whom time has not been too kind, insist on drawing attention to his frayed cuff.20 From the Aran Islands, Fr S. J. Walsh protested: ‘We are not so badly off as the Connacht Tribune makes us, though goodness knows we are bad enough … I have written a strong letter to the

in The west must wait
W. J. McCormack

. The final breakdown of the Gaelic language and the accompanying penetration of its territory by English-language newspaper and political posters, by mass-produced goods and the demands of the London markets, will be delicately reflected in the work of J. M. Synge. The Aran Islands has more to say about factory trawlers than W. B. Yeats ever conceded, and the recognition of

in Dissolute characters
Abstract only
Cara Delay

’, allowed women to speak and even shout.56 As they keened the dead, Irish women ‘incorporated extemporaneously composed, sung, oral elegiac poetry, interspersed with choruses of loud, wailing cries’.57 In Irish tradition, keening also was bound to the image of powerfully supernatural women: the goddess Brigid and the Banshee or otherworldly death messenger.58 In 1907, John Millington Synge, while visiting the remote Aran Islands, observed the keen as follows: After Mass this morning an old woman was buried. … While the grave was being opened the women sat among the flat

in Irish women and the creation of modern Catholicism, 1850–1950