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Inis Meáin, through the peephole, 1973


Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Ireland. 1973 from Brendan F. on Vimeo.

A short film on life in Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) in the early 1970's. Inishmaan (meaning "middle island") is the middle of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland. It is part of County Galway in the province of Connacht.

Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Ireland 1973


Op-Ed Contributor
"Well, the heart's a wonder," says Pegeen Mike in John Millington Synge's comedy "The Playboy of the Western World." It was a sentiment first articulated by Patrick's converts, who put down their weapons and took up their pens. They copied out the great Greco-Roman books, many of which they didn't really understand, thus saving in its purest form most of the classical library.



Brian Cronin


No doubt, several reasons could be proffered. But for me one answer stands out. Long, long ago the Irish pulled off a remarkable feat: They saved the books of the Western world and left them as gifts for all humanity.

True enough, the Irish were unlikely candidates for the job. Upon their entrance into Western history in the fifth century, they were the most barbaric of barbarians, practitioners of human sacrifice, cattle rustlers, traders in human beings (the children they captured along the Atlantic edge of Europe), insane warriors who entered battle stark naked. And yet it was the Irish who were around to pick up the pieces when the Roman Empire collapsed in the West under the increasing assaults of Germanic tribes.

more after the jump

Due to the stormy weather conditions, the Inis "Iron" Meáin race has been rescheduled for Saturday the 23rd of January 2010. The new application form is here and there are still free slots available.
 
See application button below and here

 
IM1.jpgA 10 kilometer run over winding roadways, rough terrain, sand dunes and beaches, is what it takes to compete in the 'Inis Iron Meáin'. Every November since 2004, Inis Meáin hosts one of the most challenging athletic events in the country, a fact confirmed by regular participants such as Sonia O'Sullivan and David Campbell (last years winner). The 10 kilometer run was initiated by Lorcain O'Callarain in 2004, the then Muinteoir i bhFoighil of Coláiste Naomh Eoin as a fundraiser for the new secondary school.
From late September onwards, the students and staff of Coláiste Naomh Eoin start preparations for the event. Entry fees must be recorded and acknowledged, the courses (crua agus fíor crua) must be marked out, hot food for after the event has to be organised, maps are prepared, accommodation and restaurants are booked, 10k goody bags are packed and nightly entertainment is decided. This hustle and bustle radiates throughout the island and the whole community gets behind the school, making it one of the most anticipated events of the year.
Text Box: Inis "Iron" Meáin Fancy Dress 2008. The Inis Meáin Pink ladies!However, the weekend does not just focus on strenuous activity alone. It is a chance for friends to meet up and a fancy dress competition is held in the pub on the night of the 10k. Last years fancy dress theme had to do with the letter 'P' which saw both islanders and mainlanders dressed up as Popeye, priests, pirates, pink ladies and pea pods!
However, to participate in the Inis "Iron" Meáin you do not have to be a serious athlete. There is an easier shorter course and you can walk, jog or run. On behalf of Coláiste Naomh Eoin, we would like to extend much thanks to all of you on the mainland and on Inis Meáin who supported the event to date, making it an event to remember which goes from strength to strength every year.

 
The Inis "Iron" Meáin will be held on the 23rd of January 2010. If you are up to the challenge, then please contact:
Coláiste Naomh Eoin at (099) 73991 or ring Geraldine on (086)3460792 and we will fill you in on all the details for Inis "Iron" Meáin 2009. Cost per entry is €50.

Application Forms: Click here

Aran's first green roof in centuries starts to bloom


Aran Islands

                        
Thumbnail image for Green Roof 09.JPG                  
                         
Beautiful yet rugged,
the Pabshsaer Barr Aille, aka the Sea Pink, clings to a crack in the limestone cliff near Synge's Chair. Now hundreds of cultivars of this wild Inis Méain plant are growing on the first green roof to be built on the Aran islands in centuries. The Clochán, built in the bronze age which a few feet behind our green roofed studio still has an intact green roof on it. Its a reminder that there is nothing new under the sun.  We have plenty to learn about becoming sustainabile from looking at the past. Read more about the living roof here here
 

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Aran drivers go electric

x2 electric car.JPG

Aran islanders are getting the opportunity to skip age of petrol fumes. This week got their first glimpse of the electric car that could pave the way for a total transformation of life as they know it.

The first Mega 'e-City' three-door hatchback arrived on Inis Mór on Tuesday for residents to test drive. One of their most pressing questions for the accompanying boffins was if this brainchild of French engineers could conquer the island's notoriously steep hills without the benefit of petrol or diesel.

One thing they know already is that if the car hits its top speed of 64kph they will almost certainly escape the wrath of the law - the speed limit across the three islands is just 60kph.

The electric car, which is about the same size as a Nissan Micra, is one of ten to be rolled out across the three islands as part of a three-year pilot project to see if the wind and ocean can generate enough energy for electricity, heat and transport for a small community.

The project, which is a collaboration between Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, attracted tenders from 18 companies from around Europe.

From January there will be six cars leased to residents of Inis Mór, two to Inis Meain and two to Inis Oirr, with different households chosen for each year of the project.

Interested motorists must apply to the local co-op, Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo, to be accepted, but they must have a clean licence and driving history, they must be under 65 and currently drive a fully taxed vehicle.

According to Fiona Smith of (SEI), successful applicants will have to pay a nominal amount for the lease of the car, around €12, a fee for a connection charge point on the outside of their home, which will be around €330, and then the cost of the electricity to run it. That is likely to be no more than €60 for the year.

The electric car consumes 130 units per km, whereas a similarly sized car such as a Peugeot 107 consumes 520 units per km. Motorists are tipped to save up to 80% in fuel costs.

"It really is a much, much more efficient alternative," explained Ms Smith. "This could become an alternative to shipping in fuel, making the island more self reliant and sustainable."

Dara O'Maoildhia, secretary of the energy community on Inis Mór, said his first impressions of the first bright orange 'e-City' were extremely positive.

"It's roomy in the front, there's no sense you're up against the window. But in the back I would say there's room only for two children. It's got electric windows, reversing sensors, it's comfortable enough. I've no doubt people will be interested in it," he told the Connacht Tribune.

Queries put to the engineers by residents during their day-long visit to the island included how long the car would run before it needed charging, how long it would take for a car to be fixed and how many charging devices were necessary on the island.

These are all issues likely to be ironed out before the launch in early January.

The energy committees on the three islands have been pushing for more energy efficient alternatives for some years. Inis Mór now boasts an electric post van, while tourists can now rent electric bikes to explore the island.

"Our vision for the island is to have no requirement for carbon fuel of any kind, no need for coal, petrol or diesel so that homes are heated and cars are run on alternative energy. We pay more for coal and more for a gallon of diesel than anywhere in the country - at the moment diesel is €1.06, whereas on the island it's €1.20," said Mr O'Maoildhia.

He hopes smart meters will be installed in participating houses within the next three years, which will be attached to the side of the fuse box to monitor the electricity going in and out. Windmills may be built in the gardens and any energy generated will be directed by this smart box into the house to be used in the most efficient way.

"The smart meter will direct the electricity to the battery of the car when the price of electricity is low, but when the price is high, it will be dropped into the electricity grid and you can make a fortune. "At least that's the plan," he said.

More at The Connacht Tribune

RTE One - Currachs on Inis Méain 1977

Hat tip to Una Ni Choinceanainn for pointing out this beautifuly filmed and narrated  documentary about the use of currachs in daily life on Inis Méain in the never-ending summer of 1977.
"Hands" was an Irish television program that showcased some of the country's finest craftsmen and women. Who do you recognise in this short film?  Please tell us.Aranislands@hotmail.com

The currachs of Inis Méain

Hat tip to Una Ni Choinceanainn:  "I remember the evening. I am one of the girls in the currach going out to the Naomh Eanna inthe Hands video - The one with the red hair!"
for pointing out this beautiful flimed and narrated  documentary about the use of currachs in daily life on Inis Méain in the beautiful summer of 1977.

"Hands" was an Irish television program that showcased some of the country's finest craftsmen and women.

Island Day!!


Hat tip to Trail Journals: Global Backpacking Journals from Long Distance Hikers for this great post about a day trip to Inis Méain by -Bluebearee


Island Day!!  I love visiting small working islands.
Have long wanted to go out to the Aran Islands, today was the day!



We made a last minute decision as to which island to visit. I had been interested in Inishmaan as being the least visited and touristed. B wanted Inishmoor because of the Fort. He left it to me and I went with -maan. 50E and we were off on a smallish ferry.

The day actually had some sun to it. The crossing was rough in my estimation, water coming up and over the bow crashing against the windows. I have to fight back panic on my phobia of capsizing in a boat.

A cute dog was the 1st off the ferry, Sailor, a 13 y/o who gets to spend some time as an island dog. Gaelic/Irish is the language out here.

We walked up towards the village amongst incredible stone walls. Like none we've seen yet. Not even describable. So many squared off plots of them, far as the eye could see, really quite amazing. One stone thick unlike our multi-width ones @ home. I couldn't have placed the differences, but frost and the lack of it here would be the reason they can stand.

Eventually we reached settlements, a Post, a church, a closed B&B. And the local archeological fort, Dun Choquoin. I can't say it holds total fascination for me. We wandered around in the rain, climbing up onto the ring of stones, steps carefully placed but also precarious and occasionally loose. I wasn't comfortable after almost getting stuck trying to descend, had to downclimb the silly thing.

Stopped @ the little shop open for 2 hours today, when we were passing by amazingly. Didn't plan on a t-shirt but they had some there and a size small. I believe Inishmaan or inis meain translates to Island Middle.

Walked on and found the island's only pub. As most islanders, talk with tourists is limited or not at all. We were the only tourists out there today and on the ferries. The pub scene was something else. The barkeep/tender was the teenaged (14? at most) son of the taciturn owner. Okay.... 4 20 y/o boys from the island sat at the bar drinking pints and watching TV and bantering about what 20 y/o guys talk about. Others came in after us, diluting our nonp-native status. I had a 1/2 pt of Guinness and we ordered 2 sandwiches. It was as authentic a scene as you get. Just what I wanted. Hey-we spent a bit of $$ there. After lunch we headed in the other direction and ended up @ a smaller fort, missed seeing the cliffy coastline, could look over to Cliffs of Moher and the other islands: Inishmor and Inisheer.

Capped the afternoon with a walk back to the ferry pier via the airstrip. Waited in the cold and wet for the ferry to take us back. B had been worried about us getting there on time so we started walking from town earlier than necessary, I knew if we ran behind likely someone would give us a ride in their car. Sure enough 1/2 hour after waiting in the cold and wet, cars started to file down from town, I am betting they wait til they see it leave Inisheer before starting down. I was not relishing the heavy seas a second time but barring a last minute flight, what choice did I have?

The boat was very full which either bolsters confidence or leads me to think of all those ferries that go down in Asia overloaded. I sat and tried to breathe and not freak out about the rollers. This phobia of going over in a boat, trapped underneath it in the ocean dates to my childhood, though I don't really know why. I think it would be the worst way to die yet the anticipation of this event or anxiety it could happen never hits me ahead of time or prevents me from taking ferries. Go Figure. I did ask B to make sure he grabbed me a life vest should we need one. I think he thought I was kidding.

Anyhow, 1/2 across we were out of the big seas and I could relax. We headed north out of the car park, bound for Connemara, driving in the dark. There isn't a lot of ambient light around though the moon appeared full. Tried to stay @ Ben Lettery hostel but they had shut for the season. It was on the N59 but in the middle of nowhere. Pressed on to the booming metropolis of Clifden, which actually boasted THREE supermarkets!!?? All closed of course on a Sunday night.

We landed @ the Clifden Town Hostel and were quickly oriented by Sean to the building and the town. Headed across the street to a pub still serving. It was quite empty though the usual suspects trickled in and out. There's seems to always be a local Irish couple who come in for a pint; the woman typically has a half pint. It's cute. Then the random single man....

 Got the low down on Irish whiskey from the bartender. He described one as "ruff as fock" I crashed tonight, long tiring day.

-Bluebearee

The Soul-Searching Landscape of Irish Literature

 Sara Harding
I arrived on Inishmaan at night. The sea was rough, and there was no way for our ferry to tie up at the small cement dock. The crew brought the bobbing ferry as close as they dared and one of the crewmen jumped ashore. Two other crewman took up stations by the door and each time a swell lifted our ship to the level of the dock, the crewmen threw one of us passengers to their waiting mate. We tried to dash to land between the waves that periodically splashed over the pier. Some of us made it, some got wet.  After the crew tossed all of the passengers ashore, they threw our bags after us. When the last bag landed, the lone crewman jumped back into the ferry and the ship chugged off into the dark. read on

A green roof grows on Inis Meain...

Sean has been busy installing the first living roof on Inis Meaini
Green Roof 09.JPG
This is how the roof looks with  liitle shoots of Ameria Maritima  - Lady's Pincushion or Sea Thrift - growing in special trays.



Read the whole story here

Our plan to turn a 150 year old dilapidated shed into a low carbon usable space has been given a boost by a visit to the
biannual Solar Decathlon in Washington DC in October.

The students build  5-800 sq ft zero energy houses,
producing as much energy from renewable sources, such as the sun and wind, as it consumes. Even though the home might be connected to a utility grid, it has net-zero energy consumption from the utility provider--usually measured on an annual basis.

Take a virtual tour

The student team from Darmstadt, Germany, won the competition designing, building, and operating the most attractive and efficient solar-powered home.
 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took second place followed by Team California in third place.

 Team Germany's winning "Cube House" design produced a surplus of elecrticity back into the grid even during three days of rain. This is the team's second-straight Solar Decathlon victory, after winning the previous competition in 2007.

The 2009 Solar Decathlon challenged 20 university-led teams from the United States and as far away as Spain, Germany, and Canada - sadly none from Ireland or the UK -  to compete in 10 contests, ranging from subjective elements such as architecture, market viability, communications, lighting design, and engineering, to technical measurements of how well the homes provided energy for space heating and cooling, hot water, home entertainment, appliances, and net metering.

New to this year's competition, the Net Metering Contest was worth 150 points towards the final results and was the most heavily weighted contest. It challenged teams to generate surplus energy, above and beyond the power needed to run a house, which they fed into a power grid.

Team Germany earned 908.29 points out of a possible 1,000 to win the competition, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with 897.30 points, and Team California with 863.08 points.

Solar Decathlon Individual Contest Winners:

Appliances - In the Appliances Contest, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earned the most points based on keeping a refrigerators and freezer cold, washing and drying 10 loads of laundry during the contest week, and washing dishes in a dishwasher five times during the competition--all on electricity generated only from sunlight. The team scored 93.53 out of 100 possible points.

Architecture - Team California took first place in the Architecture contest and earned 98 points out of a possible 100. A jury of architects judged homes on the aesthetic and functional elements of the home's design; ease of circulation among the public and private areas; integration of various spaces into a holistic design; generosity and sufficiency of space in the house; and the house's design surprises meant to inspire visitors.

Comfort Zone - Team Germany topped the contestants in the Comfort Zone contest, with 92 out of 100 points for maintaining indoor temperatures between 72 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity between 40 percent and 55 percent.

Communications - Team California's communications efforts, including communications plans, student-led tours, and team Web site, were judged best by the jury of Web site and public relations experts with a score of 69.75 points out of a possible 75 points.

Engineering - The University of Minnesota won the Engineering contest, which was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers, who determined which solar home best exemplified excellence in energy systems design, energy-efficiency savings, creative innovations in design, and reliability of energy systems. The University of Minnesota scored 96 out of a possible 100 points.

Home Entertainment - The Home Entertainment contest required students to use electricity generated by their solar houses to run interior and exterior lights, a TV, a computer, and a kitchen appliance to boil water. Teams were also required to hold two dinner parties and a movie night for neighbors. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earned 92.62 out of a possible 100 points.

Hot Water - The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earned the maximum 100 points in the Hot Water contest's "shower tests," which aimed to deliver 15 gallons of hot water in ten minutes or less. Of course, the water was heated by the sun.

Lighting Design - The University of Minnesota was named the winner of the Lighting contest where teams earned points based on an evaluation by a jury of lighting design experts. Jurors toured each house to evaluate the aesthetics, innovations, energy efficiency, user-friendliness, flexibility, and performance of the teams' lighting designs. The University of Minnesota earned 72 points out of a possible 75 points.

Market Viability - The University of Louisiana at Lafayette won the Market Viability contest, which evaluated whether the cost-effective construction and solar technology in a team's design would create a viable product on the open market. Judges gauged market appeal based on three criteria: livability, feasibility of construction, and marketability. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette earned 97 points out of a possible 100 as judged by the professional jury.

Net Metering - Team Germany took the top spot in the crucial, 150-point Net Metering contest. Teams were awarded 100 points if the energy supplied to their home's two-way electrical meter registered zero or less after all of the energy demands of the contest week. Each house in the 2009 Solar Decathlon was connected to a power grid and equipped with a meter that measured both its consumption and production of energy. When a team's meter showed a negative number, the home had generated surplus energy--worth up to 50 additional points. Team Germany scored a perfect 150 points in this contest.

The application process for the next Solar Decathlon, to be held in Autumn 2011, has already begun.

PHOTOS

Daily photos from throughout the competition are available at the link below.

Website: www.solardecathlon.org/2009/daily_photos.cfm


Warmth from the edge of the world....

The look is American--by way of the world. Drawing on nearly 20 years' experience as a hunter-gatherer of fine yet laid-back menswear--and an obsession with timeless styles, JACK STRAW named after a Grateful Dead tune) co-owner John Richards slips down alleyways in Paris, Milan, Antwerp and the Aran Islands to find washed (read: fashionably rumpled) cotton and hemp blazers in sandy lavender, fine gingham shirts to throw on beneath them, and slim-fitting, ankle-length pants. Good news for Seattle's all-American-yet-global girls: Richards will make space for a small women's collection next spring.

Seattle Metropolitan's Best of the City, July 2009.

Inis Meain Knitting Company has been creating high quality knitwear in luxury fibres for the best stores around the world since 1976.

Inis Meain Knitting Co.
-Aran Islands, Galway Bay Ireland.

Inis Main is one of the Aran Islands lying 15 miles off the west coast of Ireland. It is just 3 miles across and supports 200 inhabitants. This is the island where all of the knitwear that bears the Inis Meain name, and symbol of the upturned currach is made.

The currach is the islanders' fishing boat which the fishermen must carry up from the shore after every voyage. For centuries, the fishermen's garments have been knitted by the women of the island. This is the tradition that inspires the knitwear designed and made in Inis Meain. The Aran Islands are renowned not only for their unique history of knitting but also for their natural style and way of life. Old traditions in farming, fishing, sport and music are sustained and celebrated.

Taking inspiration from island life, Inis Meain Knitting Company creates clothing with a new twist on the elegant and stylish Irish country look, in luxurious materials. Colours, inspired by land and sea, relfect the seasons. Donegal yarns, tweeds, plaids and stitch details such as herringbone, fairisle and moss all reflect Inis Meain's authentic original Irish style.


Being the least visited of the Aran Islands, Inis Meain offers the most peaceful and genuine experience of this unique cultural landscape. There is just one pub on the island where locals and visitors gather. This tranquility and simple way of living are what make Inis Meain Knitting Company provides a means for the sustainability and development of the unique island traditions and way of life by providing employment for islanders in their own environment, and by designing clothing reflecting the natural style of Inis Meain.




MAY YOU LIVE LONG TO WEAR IT

Inis "Iron" Meáin 2009

Inis "Iron" Meáin 10k
See application button below........or here

 
IM1.jpgA 10 kilometer run over winding roadways, rough terrain, sand dunes and beaches, is what it takes to compete in the 'Inis Iron Meáin'. Every November since 2004, Inis Meáin hosts one of the most challenging athletic events in the country, a fact confirmed by regular participants such as Sonia O'Sullivan and David    Campbell (last years winner). The 10 kilometer run was initiated by Lorcain O'Callarain in 2004, the then Muinteoir i bhFoighil of Coláiste Naomh Eoin as a fundraiser for the new secondary school.
From late September onwards, the students and staff of Coláiste Naomh Eoin start preparations for the event. Entry fees must be recorded and acknowledged, the courses (crua agus fíor crua) must be marked out, hot food for after the event has to be organised, maps are prepared, accommodation and restaurants are booked, 10k goody bags are packed and nightly entertainment is decided. This hustle and bustle radiates throughout the island and the whole community gets behind the school, making it one of the most anticipated events of the year.
Text Box: Inis "Iron" Meáin Fancy Dress 2008. The Inis Meáin Pink ladies!However, the weekend does not just focus on strenuous activity alone. It is a chance for friends to meet up and a fancy dress competition is held in the pub on the night of the 10k. Last years fancy dress theme had to do with the letter 'P' which saw both islanders and mainlanders dressed up as Popeye, priests, pirates, pink ladies and pea pods!
However, to participate in the Inis "Iron" Meáin you do not have to be a serious athlete. There is an easier shorter course and you can walk, jog or run. On behalf of Coláiste Naomh Eoin, we would like to extend much thanks to all of you on the mainland and on Inis Meáin who supported the event to date, making it an event to remember which goes from strength to strength every year.

 
The 2009 Inis "Iron" Meáin will be held on Saturday the 21st of November. If you feel that you are up to the challenge, then please contact:
Coláiste Naomh Eoin at (099) 73991 or ring Geraldine on (086)3460792 and we will fill you in on all the details for Inis "Iron" Meáin 2009. Cost per entry is €50.

Application Forms: Click here

Island swim aids lifeboats

Caitríona Lynch set off from Inisheer to Inishmean on Saturday, September 12 -- crossing the sound to the cheers of locals.

"I know the Aran Islands well as my mother comes from Inishmeán and I spent a lot of time there growing up, for Christmas and Easter and the like, so it was great to get back out for this fundraiser," Caitríona told The Kerryman.

"I had been waiting for a number of days to do it, but the weather was so bad all along. When I finally got the go-ahead on Saturday I couldn't believe the response from the islanders as the news went around that it was underway. They even lit a bonfire!"

One of two swimmers on the day, Caitríona managed to surprise herself. "I had expected it to take over an hour to get across as there's a very strong current in the sound, but I covered it in 52 minutes, which was great," she said.

"I'd just like to thank everyone at home in North Kerry who supported the cause of the Aran Islands lifeboat. We got a great response at home and it's a wonderful cause as it really is a lifeline for the people of Aran," Caitríona said.

With €2,500 raised already, Caitríona hopes to bring in more funding and anyone who would like to donate need only log onto her website www. mycharity. ie/ event/ caitriona__ni_loinsighs_event/.

-


Synge: entre Paris et Inis Meàin

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Synges_wallet4.jpg

John Millington Synge ((1871-1909), poète, écrivain et accessoirement musicien, était aussi photographe. Issu de la bourgeoisie protestante irlandaise, il passa une partie de sa vie à voyager pour étudier les arts et la littérature.

En 1897, malade, il décide de vivre entre Paris et Inis Meàn, dans les îles d'Aran. Il y effectue un véritable travail d'ethnologue, sillonnant la campagne avec son appareil-photo, collectant récits et chansons à chacun de ses passages.

En 1907, il publie son livre Les Iles d'Aran, illustré par Jack Butler Yeats. Les photos prises par Synge dans les îles d'Aran entre 1898 et 1902 ne seront rassemblées et publiées qu'en 1971 dans un recueil intitulé My Wallet of Photographs aux éditions Dolmen Press.

en plus


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