The Aran Islands of Aranmor, Inishmaan, and Inishere lie thirty miles from Galway, and so attracted J M Synge that he returned to them time and again. He recounts here his travels and encounters on the islands, telling of magic wells, poteen drinkers, fishing expeditions in currachs, and stories told him by the solemn Pat Dirane, of islanders fallen victim to the druids and the fairies. Synge developed a great and reciprocated affection for these fine-featured people, for the ungovernable eyes and wild jests of the men, and for the dark beauty of the women, dressed in their heavy scarlett wool clothes. He faithfuly records the pathos and strangeness of the life of the Aran peasantry at the turn of the century. The book is illustrated with fourteen of Synge's own photographs depicting rope-making, kelp collecting and drying, threshing, wool-spinning, the horrors of evictions, and many other aspects of island life. 'I had some photographs to show them that I took here last year' which were 'examined with great delight, and every person in them identified.'
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