Okay yeah… The SD card in my camera got corrupted and I lost every single photo I have taken on this trip thus far. I mean I have the photos from my blogs and a few others from here and there but the majority of them are gone. I’m not that upset though, not in the long run cause I will have these memories and friendships. Between the few photos I have left, the blogs, the journaling, the scribbling, the late night conversations, and the explorations I will never be able to forget this trip. Plus I was able to fix my camera in time for the visit to the Blasket Islands which has been the place that I have been looking forward to the most! So all is well and prepare yourself for a bunch of photos!
Alright now tell me these aren’t beautiful? Before going any further on about entering into the Blasket Islands I figure I might as well educate those, who like me before I begin my Irish Immersion, have zero education on the history of these gorgeous Islands. There is a ton of history behind these islands, full of Spanish Galleons, priests, castles, and some hauntings, but were not going to talk about any of that. You want to know more I suggest you check out this site. What I will cover is the most recent history of the past 100 years. These chain of Islands have been officially been inhabited since the 1800s, with the main population being on the Great Blasket Island. Well with only a peak population of 180 in the 1920’s you can understand that this is a very small but tight-knit community. The Island lacked any form of medical expert, priest, or pub. The men of the Island had to travel 3 miles back to the mainland by naomhóg, a small 3 person rowing boat, much like a canoe, for all the basic essentials and to sell their wares.
Well as you can imagine, with such a tiny population it’s quite hard to keep the village substantiating growth. As children grew older they didn’t wanna live this harsh working life so they would chase down opportunities in America, the next parish. Well this continued on until only one child remained only a handful of children remained on the Island. The straw that broke the camels back happened during one of the devastating sea storms that plagued the island. While these storms raged it was impossible to make it back to the main land. Even in relatively calm conditions the crossing was quite perilous and many an island man lost his life as their boats smashed against rocks or got carried away on the currents. Well right before this storm a man by the name of Seainin O Cearna had collapsed from what is now assumed to be meningitis. Within a matter of days he died. Now normally the bodies were taken by boat to be buried on the mainland because of the lack of priest or graveyard. Due to this storm they were unable to bring the body from house, so it sat there for almost a week upon the kitchen table. This completed shattered the spirit of the village and six years in 1953 the entire island was evacuated.
Cheery history now isn’t it? Throw that in contrast with the complete beauty of the Island. Which now you get to see more pictures of because now you understand the history.
As you can see it is absolutely beautiful place despite its dark history. As I talked about in my post yesterday, this rough way of living mixed with the beauty of the island led rise to some great literary achievements. Over 40 different books have come from this Island, and many are required readings throughout Ireland as well as being hailed as masterpieces throughout the world. Books such as Peig, The Island Man and 20 Years a Growing came from the hardships of this island way of living. They tell stories of the people, of the community, of the poems music and tall tales that came from this land.
I think that’s why I enjoy them so much, because they show the bare bones of humanity. These men and women struggled and fought against death day in and day out. They lost the ones they loved, they lost children, they lost themselves. Yet in all of this being so close to the brink they truly were alive. When you pay the toll of your own sweat and blood for everything you have, you appreciate it so much more. When things get taken away from you, you appreciate what you have. Living that connected with nature and the earth, seeing the beauty in it and the harshness, that’s life, at least for me. They must have felt the same way, you can read it in their books, hear it in their stories. This was a place they called home. A place that they didn’t want to leave, something they will hold in their hearts forever. All we hear is of the hardships and we wonder why they would ever stick around. I believe they felt something on that island, the raw energy of being alive.
Enough of my philosophizing and all that. You ever get tired of it? Think I might be going off my rocker a little bit? Well to bad, thoughts like this are always boiling around inside my head and often I can’t express it in voice, or at least don’t have anyone to listen to me ramble. So you, my lucky readers, get to see a little bit deeper. Enjoy more pictures!