A Pity Youth Does Not Last: Reminiscences of the Last of the Great Blasket Island's Poets and Storytellers

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1982 - Authors, Irish - 137 pages
'The tide spreads a mantle of silkAround the Great Blasket Island'So wrote Micheal O'Guiheen of his beloved island home. But by 1953 the authorities had evacuated the Great Blasket and its traditions were vanishing. Micheal O'Guiheen, 'the Poet' of the book, was the son of Peig Sayers, who wrote 'An Old Woman's Reflections'. But while that was a celebration ofthe good times, and her son's schoolmate Maurice O'Sullivan's 'Twenty Years A-Growing' was a book of laughing youth, this takes the story to sombre middle age. It tells of sunny times clouded over only by unconscious intimations of mortality, not only of youth but also of an irreplaceable culture:the consternation caused by a passing comet, the drudgery of a turf-gathering expedition turning into a carefree rabbit hunt. This first and only English edition of O'Guiheen's 'cri de coeur' is supplemented by translations, from the author's own poetry, previously only available in the original.The Blasket Islands are three miles off Ireland's Dingle Peninsular. Until their evacuation just after the Second World War, the lives of the 150 or so Blasket Islanders had remained unchanged for centuries. A rich oral tradition of story-telling, poetry, and folktales kept alive the legends andhistory of the islands, and has made tier literature famous throughout the world. The seven Blasket Island books published by OUP contain memoirs and reminiscences from within this literary tradition, evoking a way of life which has now vanished.
 

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Contents

Youth and Sehool
1
New Houses being built on the Island
5
The Comet
9
The Day of the Auction on the Island
14
Living in the new House
17
How I got Tbrush
19
The Mackerel Season
25
A Days Hunting and Peevishness
29
The British Soldier on Ballymullen Bridge and how he let the Islandman go ahead
67
How Cait came home from Limerick and how we scattered from one another
70
How Padraig came home from America and took my Sister Eibhlin hack with him
73
The great Change that came over the Minds of the People on the Island and how I went to America myself
75
The Strangers on the Island
79
Im thinking sadly about the Life that is gone
82
A Change in my Life again
86
How Life went to the had on the Island
88

Sbrovetide and the great Commotion
31
Bad News The Death of Nell Mhors little Girl
35
The Great War
37
Sitting on the Bank of the Strand
43
How the Warship came to the Island
46
The Coming of Donall OSullivan
49
The Rising
51
My Term at School finished
55
How the Volunteer came on the run to the Island
64
How the Islanders were clearing off and settling down on the Mainland
92
The big Aeroplanes and the Fright they gave the Women of the Island the first time they saw them
97
Paidin Mhuiris comes home from England
99
My Mothers good Advice to me
103
The Death of Sean Dhiarmaid The Wake and the Trouble that followed putting him into Gods Ground
107
How a Persons Life passes away
112
Thinking to myself
114
Selections from Coinnle Corra
126
Copyright

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