Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas on an island

"It is wild and gusty today. People are gathering green branches and to decorate the windows – ivy and other evergreens. The houses have been without a daub of whitewash since last summer. There was not a crumb of lime to be had in Dingle since the trains stopped running. Many another item is not to be found, and no means of procuring it.

I am writing this on the Saturday before Christmas; Christmas Eve is tomorrow. The people who have gone out to the mainland have not yet returned yet on account of the bad weather. ‘Maybe,’ the children say, ‘the bad weather will ruin the Holy Night.’

The people of this village have made a trip to the hill and a sheep for nigh every household has been slaughtered. I suppose those who have such delicacies will share them with the neighbours; the established custom here is for everyone to share, except that we are seeing many changes in the world now, where there had been none for a long time."

-- From the diaryof Thomas O'Crohan, on Blasket Island, 1922.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this a quote from some text?

Brian Kaller said...

My apologies - when I first put it up I forgot the citation.

Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks. Interesting that the slaughter took place on a hill. Not the most obviously practical location, so there must have been some other reason.

Vince Crunk said...

these diaries ... where are you finding them? Sort of like our blogs of today but with more substance and real-ness.

Brian Kaller said...

Anonymous, yes it does seem strange, doesn't it? I've seen hills around here that have a small stable at the top, a place where the farmers could look out on their flocks all around while sheltering from the rain; perhaps it was in that sort of structure.

Vince, Tomas O'Crohanlived on Blasket island off the Dingle coast, and his diaries were compiled in the book "Island Cross-Talk." I the diary part so no one would think it was a fictional story.