Ní Shúilleabháin, Eibhlís  

Letters From the Great Blasket


A selection of letters from the Great Blasket, by Eibhlís Ní Shúilleabháin.

Thank you for your interest in this title. Please note that this book is printed to order, with a standard delivery time of 7-14 days. However, we understand that you may require your book sooner. If this is the case, kindly contact our customer service team at info@mercierpress.ie, and we will make every effort to expedite your order and ensure a timely delivery


This selection of Letters from the Great Blasket, for the most part written by Eibhlís Ní Shúilleabháin of the island to George Chambers in London, covers a period of over twenty years. Eibhlís married Seán Ó Criomhthain a son of Tomás Ó Criomhthain, An tOileanach (The Islandman). On her marriage she lived in the same house as the Islandman and nursed him during the last years of his life which are described in the letters. Beginning in 1931 when the island was still a place where one might marry and raise a family (if only for certain exile in America), the letters end in 1951 with the author herself in exile on the mainland and the old folk of the island scattering to their graves. By the time Eibhlís left the Blasket in July 1942 the island school had already closed and the three remaining pupils left to run wild with the rabbits. It must be remembered when reading these letters that they were written in a language foreign to Eibhlís whose native tongue was Irish. Only very minor changes were thought desirable in the letters and these in the interests of intelligibility. Here, through the struggling idiom and laboured passages, emerges in fascinating detail a strange and different way of life as seen unconsciously through the eyes of a woman. This is not the island of the summer visitor but one intimately known, loved and feared and finally abandoned.  

You may also like…