Photography plays a major part in telling the story of the Great Blasket Island. Thousands of photographs now in the archive of Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir/The Great Blasket Centre cover a range of material, from the private mementoes of family members to the work of folklorists, press photographs, and much more. The first photographs of the Great Blasket were taken by Alma Curtin in 1892. Synge arrived in 1905 and Del Rio, a Galician, compliled a small but exquisite collection in 1928. The Blasket writers feature at various stages of their lives.
For the next sixty years or so, the islanders and the island would be photographed by all who visited the island. Photographs were also taken by the children of people who had left to live abroad. Letters from America carried photographs of two communities that lived worlds apart but were Blasket islanders at heart. Most moving is a portrait from an album of Dónal Ó Criomhthain drowned in 1905 attemting to save Eibhlín Nic Niocail, linguist, feminist and apparently the love interest of Patrick Pearse.
The result is an extraordinary picture of an island community, a way of life and kinship recorded by generations of islanders. The photographs in this book chronicle the life and death of the Great Blasket, evacuated in 1953 but never abandoned. It is still at the heart of a community which remembers the resilience and spirit of its people. This snapshot catches the spirit of the island community, from the excitement of discovery at the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth, through the heyday of the 1930s, the decline of the 1940s and the legacy since 1953. Many of these photographs have never been seen in public and the view is that of the islanders and the people who witnessed their lives, up close and in person.
- Book Format: Hardback
- Published: 2013
- Dimensions: 277 x 219 mm
- Number of pages: 224
- ISBN: 9781848891753
- Illustrations note: B&W photos,