Tósaigh mé an téacs seo ar An Bhlascaoid Mór!

Tósaigh mé an téacs seo ar An Bhlascaoid Mór!

I arrived by the ferry, of course, and my arrival was spoilt by some insensitive chump singing silly songs, so I got out my personal stereo that I use to mask out annoying music, and selected Brandenburg 1: Adagio. It suited the mood of the disinhabited island. With the sad music playing, I looked over the ghost of a village, most houses tumbled down, a few standing, a few painted, some fenced off; imagining an old man whose friends have died or been placed in a museum. This is a fate that may yet happen to the remaining inhabited islands; I’d like to think we know at least a little better now, but of course those in power are most interested in lining their own pockets through such mechanisms as NAMA.

It’s a fate that may yet happen to much of what is tasteful in life, as idiocy becomes the norm and almost compulsory.

I didn’t have that long on the island, as I’d booked to go on the `eco-tour’ in the boat, so I just walked around the abandoned village, looking at the derelict houses and the few intact ones.

Hilltop on the Great Blasket IslandI came back a couple of days later for a longer walk around the island. Unfortunately, there were many biting insects, but I carried on; they weren’t too bad as long as I kept moving. The views were fantastic, on a large scale and in detail, enhanced by including not only land, not only sea, but the sparse patchwork of an archipelago. But the real joy was being so far from other people; almost complete quiet of anything artificial, and the only sounds were those that we have not spoilt in our scramble to upstage each other and secure our petty mortal insecurities.

I was surprised by the number of small ruined buildings scattered around the island, that I had not seen mentioned in any of the literature. Perhaps storm refuges for those caught out by weather? They looked too small to be regular dwellings (unless of earlier monastic inhabitants) and certainly too small to be sheepfolds.

I didn’t make it as far as the last, and largest, of the hills I was aiming for; I didn’t think I’d have time before having to get the last boat back.

I had set out from the village on the northern path (that is, going anticlockwise round the island) and when I got back to where the path split, I took the southern one. If you only have the chance to try one of them, I think the northern was more spectacular.

And I got a lot of very pleasing photographs (you may have to search back; zooomr numbers from the most recent, so page numbers are not stable); some of them in series that I hope to convert to panoramas some time. And I’ll reflect more on the place, so rich in itself and so rich as a source of analogy.

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