Monday, December 03, 2012

Another Wee Treasure Has Landed!


 
I read. A lot. No teevee by choice can open up one's life.  I hunt for books sometimes. One such was #10 on a list of loves written about here. Today another love dropped into my spanking new mailbox that I can access 24/7 now that the post office has been shut down. It's a little beaten and bruised but a new treasure none the less.

John Millington Synge has been a hero of mine for a long time. One of the most fascinating aspects of his writing has been his detection of the inherent paganism beneath most rural Irish beliefs, particularly in the Aran Islands where he stayed in the summer months of 1898 through 1901. He had been living in Paris and ran into WB Yeats who urged him to further his understanding of the Irish language  by visiting the Aran Islands.

He maintained  a journal on his stays on the islands which was published. Of which I now have a copy, after much hunting.

JM Synge was the playwright of "The Playboy of the Western World" amongst other great works and died far too young of cancer.

This journal has many photos and maps and quotes from the locals and the structure of their daily lives and the cost of lodging and of food. I am finding it utterly riveting.

Listen to this (what he says about Inishmore):
The sense of solitude was immense. I seemed to exist merely in my perception of the waves and of the crying of the birds, and of the smell of the seaweed.
And this: (from a resident of Inishmore):

"Do you see that straight wall of cliff? It is there the fairies do be playing ball in the night, and you can see the marks of their heels when you come in the morning, and three stones they have to mark the line, and another big stone they hop the ball on."

And I leave you with a quote from Padraic Colum, the poet, quoted by JMS in his journal:
"And I knew what you heard and what you saw, 
That left you for a little while withdrawn -
The lonely land, the lonely-crying birds!"



14 comments:

  1. Another destination for a visit in my next life, WWW - The Aran Islands!
    Am engraving my inter-life memory bank as I type. I can smell the salty air already!

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  2. I went to the Aran Islands for the first time in 1965. I was a fashion student and was gobsmacked by the women's red woolen skirts and the men's herringbone waistcoats. But what struck me most was the imported stuff - grannie smith apples and pyrex plates.

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  3. I have yet to visit to the Aran Islands, actually I would love to buy a camper van and travel all around Ireland stopping where the mood took me.

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  4. GFB:
    Of ways long gone but brought so much to life by ones who placed importance on them!
    XO
    WWW

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  5. T:
    they are very special though beginning to get far too much into modernization when I visited there last in 1996.
    XO
    WWW

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  6. Enna:
    Welcome!
    I'm trying to remember the first time I visited there, I think 1966 and then again in the late seventies and lastly in 1996.
    Enchanting.
    Pyrex being a memory of yours - wonderful, the slow erosion....
    XO
    WWW

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  7. GM:
    I wonder if you could get the camper across on the ferry?
    Marvellous if you could get a small teardrop camper and wend your way around.
    My brother and I did a lot of travelling there in 1996 and so far I've been 3 times to the Arans...
    Do not miss them.
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Another place in Ireland ear marked for visiting when I get there. Thanks.

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  9. OWJ:
    Don't know why Blogger insists on throwing you into the cesspool in spite of my protests!
    Yes, John Millington Synge had an incredible output for one who died at 39.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Yes, Ramana, you would love the Aran Islands if they haven't "modernized" it too much.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Last time I was near the cliffs of Moher they'd put up a barricade so you had to pay and along with the pay booth came the tatty souvenir stand. It was so much better when they left it to Mother Nature. My ambition, or maybe just a daydream, is to walk all around the coast of Ireland before I die. That camper idea is much more practical!

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  12. Aye Molly they sure did, I vowed not to go near them again (and didja get a load of the paddywhackery music for sale there?)

    I've done most of the coast, or maybe all of it, I have to think. One time we dreamed of sailing around her...

    XO
    WWW

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