John Millington Synge’s The Aran Islands has long been considered a definitive depiction of the Aran Islands, off the Connemara coast. Less well known is that a young university student named Agnes O’Farrelly also travelled to the islands in the summer of 1898, lodged in the same fisherman’s cottage Synge had just vacated, and proceeded to write an Irish-language travelogue about her experiences on the islands. O’Farrelly’s travelogue, entitled Thoughts on Aran, is here translated into English for the first time. This is a social and cultural document which portrays a period of transition in Inis Meain in particular, when age-old Gaelic culture was succumbing to the influence of the modem world. Focusing primarily on Aran women, much neglected in previous literature, O’Farrelly reveals the modus operandi of the Gaelic League as it simultaneously attempted to protect and to modernise the Gaelic culture of the Aran Islands at the turn of the twentieth century.
Distributed for Arlen House
5.5 x 8.5, 144 pages, 22 black and white illustrations