Free Reading Fiche Bliain ag Fás –

Maurice O Sullivan was born on the Great Blasket in 1904, and Twenty Years A Growing tells the story of his youth and of a way of life which belonged to the Middle Ages He wrote for his own pleasure and for the entertainment of his friends, without any thought of a wider public his style is derived from folk tales which he heard from his grandfather and sharpened by his own lively imagination.

10 thoughts on “Fiche Bliain ag Fás

  1. Isleofbeara Isleofbeara says:

    My favorite book A gift from my father Paints a picture of life on the Blasket Island as it was dying away Beautiful landscape descriptions, images of childhood on an island rich with cultural traditions and adventures.

  2. Kate Cal Kate Cal says:

    A powerful, rich, and funny book about a young man s childhood on the Great Blasket island off the west coast of Ireland I enjoy visualizing the magical scenery where his stories are set His humor is so understated that it sometimes takes a second read to catch it his wit is dry, but his characters are real, true, and human probably because they are the real people with whom he grew up on the island.The Blaskets are abandoned now, and have become a nature preserve This is a wonderful way to connect with a past vibrant culture.

  3. Joseph Joseph says:

    One of the fine Blasket books, which are great for providing a link to the Irish peasant storytelling tradition a tradition that, for the most part, was all oratory prior to the books being translated And even though it s a translation from Irish, you can still hear the author s brogue when he says things like On the way back we shortened the road with great talk

  4. Janet Janet says:

    I read this after the opportunity to visit the Blasket Island center in Dunquin, and gaze out at the Great Blasket Amazing stories of growing up on the island, taking the currach to discover the main land I m sure my visit made the descriptions even vivid.

  5. Mom Mom says:

    If you love the Irish, or poetry, or language, then this book is for you Maurice O Sullivan writes of his life in the Blasket islands off the western coast of Ireland in the early 1900 s Reading the book, you can hear his brogue and that wonderful way of Irish storytelling slow and wandering and soft Here is how the book begins I am a boy who was born and bred in the Great Blasket, a small truly Gaelic island which lies north west of the coast of Kerry, where the storms of the sky and the wild sea beat without ceasing from end to end of the year and from generation to generation against the wrinkled rocks which stand above the waves that wash in and out of the coves where the seals make their homes He goes on to tell of his life on the islands, of fishing and hunting and dances and folktales and laughter The Blaskets are abandoned now, but with this book O Sullivan keeps them alive What a treasure The title comes from an old Irish saying Twenty years a growing,twenty years a blooming, twenty years a toiling, and twenty years in decline.

  6. Phyllis Olson Phyllis Olson says:

    Interesting look at what life was like in such an isolated place Lots of killing birds including Puffins , overfishing, drinking, smoking, etc It sounded like a very hard life, although the author loved it The descriptions of the land took me back there The author hated school and here s a sentence from the first page The schoolmistress teaching us was a woman who was as grey as a badger with two tusks of teeth hanging down over her lip, and, if she wasn t cross, it isn t day yet.

  7. Kate Kate says:

    A great read for anyone that has visited the Blaskets or going to I wish we had time to explore this amazing place Next visit

  8. Elizabeth Quinn Elizabeth Quinn says:

    Twenty Years A Growing was published in 1933, four years after Tomas O Crohan s The Islandman, which was the first of the books about the Blasket Island lifeway written in Irish and republished in English at a moment when pre modern communities of the newly free Ireland became subjects of fascination to some members of the former colonial ruling class This volume includes a forward by E M Forster describing the Blasketers as neolithic, a period which began 9500 years ago and was characterized by humans wearing animal skins and using bone tools It s hard to believe he actually read the book since it is the life story of Maurice O Sullivan, who spoke and read only English until he moved back to the island of his birth as a youth, an island which had mail delivery they could read and write and a school for their children they endorsed universal literacy and young O Sullivan had no trouble passing the civil service exam to become a policeman they measured up to modern humans This book stands out from the other Blasket classics as a personal story that s less concerned with capturing the island lifeway than in describing the incidents and emotions of a young islander Because of the personal focus and because I d already read O Crohan s Islandman, Peig Sayer s Reflections 1962 and Eibhlis Ni Shuilleabhain s Letters 1978 , I found this book less interesting than the others As a coming of age story it works very well, and it paints of vivid picture of the extraordinary setting Two things really stood out for me in this book First, the fact that the German attacks on shipping in World War I were a boon to the islanders who would wake up some mornings to discover their island surrounded by the floating cargo of doomed ships, including the Lusitania, and built special storerooms to hold all their booty Second, the heartache and regret with which O Sullivan departed the Great Blasket, one of the last holdouts of a young generation which concluded that the special magic of their homeplace no longer outweighed the physical isolation and extreme hardship of living there The boom of the Great War proved to be a brief reprieve By the mid twenties, O Sullivan was gone, and by 1953, the island was finally abandoned by its last inhabitants.

  9. Bookguide Bookguide says:

    A pleasant view into a life which has disappeared, growing up in an isolated community on Great Blasket, an island off the Atlantic coast of Ireland, at the beginning of the 20th century in the days before television, radio, computers and telephones Even news is infrequently brought from the mainland, and not at all in rough weather Surrounded by nature, fishing for a living and hunting rabbits for food in an island teeming with them, the people live a simple life, the old helping the young, and the women keeping up a running commentary on everything the men do Occasionally there is some excitement, including scavenging after shipwrecks, caring for a boatload of shipwrecked sailors from the Lusitania, and trips to the mainland for wedding celebrations Originally written in the Irish language, it s clear where the lilt of present day English speaking Irish originates, including the turn of phrase and tendency to use curses as part of normal conversation In the first part of the 20th century, this tended to be various phrases invoking the devil Nowadays, it usually takes the form of various words beginning with the letter F Back then a greeting was the formulaic God save all here with the answer God and Mary save you A gentler time, which was already disappearing, with the shadow of young people leaving for America in search of their fortune, and even Maurice O Sullivan himself leaving to become a policeman on the mainland.Interesting and gently told, in the form of disconnected episodes of recollection, in a storytelling style Not very exciting, and yet I read it to the end It s a shame I didn t manage to take this to the BookCrossing Convention in Dublin, but perhaps that would be taking coals to Newcastle, and it s better to release it so Ireland enthusiasts here can enjoy it BookCrossing book

  10. Tim Tim says:

    This won t be an easy one to find, but it has its appeal The setting is a few hundred souls living on the Blasket Islands, off the westernmost peninsula of Ireland the Dingle Peninsula.The writer Maurice O Sullivan born in 1904 tells the story of his youth, and a way of life that is now past His life was fishing and shepherding among a small group of rugged Irish citizens With no TV or modern appliances, and a limited circle of humans who depended on one another whether they might have a preference to or not, his reminiscences of village life, quarrels, crushes, hard work, conversation, and hopes and dreams are truly from another time Much of the appeal in this set of tales lies in the Irish sayings, and phrases Those who died have gone on in the Way of Truth And as stated in the title, Maurice remembers clearly his dear grandfather remarking on the passing of our lives, Twenty years a growing, twenty years a blooming, twenty years a stooping, and twenty years declining.