Great Blasket IslandPosted: May 27, 2018
Not easy to get there:
Lucky weather on this particular day.
What we might call in the USA a ghost town. The last inhabitants were evacuated in 1953:
In 1907 Norwegian linguist Carl Marstander went there to learn Irish from this local:
Tomás Ó Chriomhthain, who later wrote a book about his life there.
Some other islanders wrote, or dictated, their own tales of their hard and primitive lives on this island:
As a girl Peig Sayers was supposed to go join a friend in America, but the friend had an accident and couldn’t send the money. She gave birth to eleven children. Five died.
Peig’s book was (I’m told, by the excellent tour guide) forced on generations of Irish schoolchildren. In 1941 this genre of rural Irish poverty literature was parodied by Flann O’Brien / Brian O’Nolan / Myles na gCopaleen:
An Béal Bocht is set in Corca Dhorcha, (Corkadoragha, Corkadorkey), a remote region of Ireland where it never stops raining and everyone lives in desperate poverty (and always will) while talking in “the learned smooth Gaelic”.
Blasket life does seem rough.
This was my second visit, and both times I’ve been blown away by the Blasket Center / Ionad Blaiscoid Mhór.
The architecture and design and use of landscape on this building is just very cool:
Here’s it from afar:
Couldn’t find online who the architect was, so I emailed them, and they wrote back and told me:
The architect of the centre was Ciaran O’Connor, who is the State architect nowadays.
State architect. Cool.
Let’s wish him well!