Twenty Years a Growing - by Maurice O'Sullivan, an Islander. First published in 1953. - The Blasket Islands
Fiche Bliain ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing') was originally written in our beloved Gaelic Irish language and the sweet thing about the enclosed autobiography is that much of the idiom of our native language has been retained in the English translation. Readers will be enraptured in the old ways of life on the Island in this story told by Maurice O'Sullivan, an Islander himself, who wrote this book for his own pleasure and for the entertainment of his friends, without any thought of a wider public. His style is derived from folk-tales which he heard from his grandfather and then sharpened by his own lively imagination. Maurice tells a touching story of life in the islands and within its pages the reader will find Irish folklore, proverbs, old Irish traditions and culture, love, wisdom, mythical stories, legends and songs!
Music and Song from the Blasket Islands - By Claddagh Records, Dublin.
This CD and book is unique. We found the last recordings and there was just about enough for MyIrelandBox subscribers! We must first mention 'Port na bPúcaí' as it is very special to us. Katharine first heard it in her Grandfather Michéal O'Catháin's house (he too was a native Irish speaker whose family came from Clogher, on the mainland also directly across from the Blasket Islands). She thought that it was enchanting and asked him about it. He told her the story of how the tune was composed by the people who lived on the Great Blasket Island. He said that one night, these musicians heard a tune coming from the darkness and it was haunting but beautiful. Although they were unnerved as they believed it could be only one thing, Púcaí (Ghosts), they set about composing a tune on their instruments that sounded like the haunting song that surrounded the Island. Katharine was delighted when her Grandfather told her that the tune became known as Port na bPúcaí and that it was only years later that the link between the composed tune and the song of the humpback whale was made. Other versions of this story tell that it was the fishermen of the Blasket Islands who heard the sounds coming from the sea below their curragh and that they believed it was the fairies who were making the sounds around their boat!
It is clear to us that the humpback whales visited the waters surrounding the Great Blasket Island that night that Port na bPúcaí was composed and luckily they have returned to these waters again as they are frequently spotted by local fishermen and boaters.
Tin whistle by Feadóg - The Original Tin Whistle - Dublin
Feadóg (the gaelic for 'whistle') are a family-run business founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1978 with a reputation and passion for producing high quality, traditional Irish whistles. The Feadóg is a huge part of the Irish Traditional music session and we think that it is one of the instruments that can really get your feet tapping and the crowd cheering! The tin whistle players here on the Dingle Peninsula are real professionals and you can be spellbound by the tunes that are played every night in the town. Children are taught how to play at a young age in the local schools and it is an easy instrument to take out and play when visiting relatives or entertaining guests!
Peat Turf by Bog Buddies - County Westmeath
We had to include Turf Peat in some form as it was such an intrinsic part of life on the Island. This Irish Turf Stack is handmade with love from bog in the heart of Ireland and of course each little piece is unique. The turf can also be lit to create the aroma of a real turf fire and you will note that instructions are included by the maker. Turf was so important to the Islanders and they only had a seasons supply at a time to rely on. Women brought home the turf on the donkeys and of course it was used in the fire for heat, cooking and light.
Booklet - Na Blascaodaí/The Blaskets - By Pádraig Ua Maoileoin
We are delighted to send this very informative book on the Blaskets Islands, written in both the English and Irish language that will answer many questions that MyIrelandBox recipients might have on the way of life of the Islanders, their pastimes, livelihoods, what they ate, where they lived and of course the high influence of the later visitors to the Island and then of course the infamous (well in these parts anyway) Peig Sayers who we learned all about in school as we studied her autobiography in Gaelic!