On an Irish Island
The Lost World of the Great Blasket
By Robert Kanigel
(Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780307389879, 320pp.)
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
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On an Irish Island tells the remarkable story of a remote outpost nearly untouched by time in the first half of the twentieth century, and of the adventurous men and women who visited and were inspired by it.
In a love letter to a vanished way of life, Robert Kanigel brings to life this wildly beautiful island, notable for the vivid communal life of its residents and the unadulterated Irish they spoke well into the twentieth century. With the Irish language rapidly disappearing, Great Blasket became a magnet for scholars, linguists, and writers during the Gaelic renaissance. As we follow these visitors—among them John Millington Synge, author of The Playboy of the Western World—we are captivated both by the tiny group of islanders who kept an entire country’s past alive and by their complex relationships with those who brought the island’s story to the larger world.