The Islandman by Tomás Ó Crohan

Translated by Robin Flower

The Great Blasket lies off the coast of West Kerry, uninhabited, its houses roofless, open and vulnerable to the ever-changing moods of the Atlantic. Who lived in these houses? How did they survive on this isolated, windswept Island, and what were their lives like? Tomás Ó Crohan (1856-1937) was a child of the Great Blasket. Born, reared and dying there, he shapes in his book a unique insider’s view of Island life and how it was lived. His language is direct and unadorned, offering the reader an immediacy that is both captivating and refreshing. The reader will be very glad that Tomás observed those around him with such keen interest, reflecting on their joys, sorrows, struggles and humours. He also knew that…
“One day there will be none left in the Blasket of all I have mentioned in this book – and none to remember them”.
The Blasket story can be followed further in a number of other books including: Twenty Years a Growing by Maurice O’Sullivan, and Letters From the Great Blasket by Eibhlis Ní Shúilleabháin (a daughter-in-law of Tomás Ó Crohan).

Breda Gleeson,
Kildare County Library.

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