Category Archives: Inisheer Zibaldone

Cormac Coyne ‘Inis Oirr le linn ordaithe dianghlasála’

Taispeántas grianghrafadóireachta d’Inis Oírr le linn ordaithe dianghlasála an chorónvíreas.

Nuair a bhí mé i mo ghasúr óg, faoi dheich mbliana d’aois, is ea spreagadh mo shuim sa ngrianghrafadóireacht. Ar thuras thall i Londain shín m’uncail agam a Nikon SLR, seo ag tráth a mbíodh spól i chuile cheamara. Ar ais sa mbaile is cuimhin liom an ríméad uilig agus muid suite timpeall ag an tine ag breathnú ar na grianghraif priontáilte a bhí curtha isteach in albam beag.

I 2007 bhog mé go hInis Oírr le mo chlann agus thosaigh mé ag múineadh i meánscoileanna Inis Oírr agus Inis Meáin. Anseo sna hoileáin tugaim an-suntas d’áilleacht an nádúir mórthimpeall orainn, ó luí álainn na gréine, farraigí móra agus na mílte réaltóg a lasann suas spéir na hoíche chomh maith leis na nithe difríocht uilig a dhéanann saol breá dóibh féin anseo. Ach thar aon rud eile braithim mothú láidir pobail chomh maith leis na traidisiúin shaibhre a choinníonn an nasc idir mhuintir na n-oileán. Is iad na tréithe a thagann i m’intinn agus mé ag cuimhneamh ar na daoine anseo ná dream séimh le teacht aniar iontu.

Fuair m’ábaltacht leis an gceamara deis le fás agus forbairt le linn dom a bheith ag féachaint le saibhreas seo na n-oileán a chur trasna in íomhá. Ní chreidim go bhfuil an sprioc sin bainte amach fós agam ach is é an píosa is tábhachtaí domsa ná bheith ag iarraidh é a bhaint amach.  Seo é a chuidíonn liom go seasta le theacht ar bharr mo chumais agus samhlaíochta. Tá an-suim agam i ngrianghrafadóireacht portráidí, réaltfhótagrafaíocht, i dtírdhreacha, spórt agus fiadhúlra. Bainim sásamh as pictiúir a thógáil sa lagsholas, ag fáil chuile fótón beag solais a chruthaíonn íomhá ar leith rud nach féidir déanamh sa solas lae.

Bhí sé an-speisialta dom slám de mo chuid pictiúr a chur ar taispeáint in Áras Éanna in éineacht le grianghrafadóirí ardchumasacha, áitiúla, eile. Bhí an t-ádh orm go raibh seans agam pictiúir a thógáil ag an bpointe is faide ó dheas san Afraic agus sa tundra sa gCiorcal Artach ach is in Oileáin Árann is mó a bhím ar mo sháimhín só.

Ó tháinig an víreas seo os comhair an domhain tá athrú mór ar ár saol laethúil. Is gnáth rud dúinn anois an scoitheadh sóisialta agus ár n-aclaíocht a bheith i bhfoisceacht 5km don teach baile. D’athraigh go leor do go leor le deireanas. Shíl mé gur dheas an rud pictiúir a thógáil den domhan mór inár dtimpeall anseo in Inis Oírr, ach nach dtugann muid mórán suntais dó ó lá go lá. Ba é an plean a bhí agam ná na pictiúir a chur ar líne do dhream atá rófhada ón bhfarraige nó nach bhfeiceann an ghrian ag dul faoi, le giota de mo shaolsa a thabhairt chomh fada leo.

Seo roinnt de na pictiúir sin… Inis Oírr faoi Dhianghlasáil

Tá súil agam go dtaitneoidh siad leat.

http://aras-eanna.ie/project/cormac-coyne-inis-oirr-le-linn-ordaithe-dianghlasala/

Cormac Coyne ‘Inis Oírr in Lockdown’

Inis Oírr in Lockdown is an Exhibition at Aras Éanna of Photographs by Cormac Coyne taken during the Coronavirus lockdown on Inis Oirr.

My interest in photography began at a young age on a trip to London, I was less than 10 years old when my uncle handed me his Nikon SLR back in the days when all cameras used film.  I remember the excitement back at home sitting around the fire looking at the printed photos in a little album.

In 2007 I moved to Inis Oírr with my family and began teaching in the secondary schools on both Inis Oírr and on Inis Meáin.  Living here on the islands has made me acutely aware of the beauty of the nature that surrounds us, from beautiful sunsets, raging seas, the rich diversity of all the different types of life that thrive here to the countless stars that light up the night sky.  But most of all I am aware of a strong sense of community and the rich traditions that hold the people of the islands together.  Gentleness and resilience are two characteristics that to come to mind when I think about the people here.

It is in my pursuit to capture this richness of the islands onto an image that have allowed my abilities with a camera to grow and develop.  I do not believe that I have succeeded in my goal yet but for me it is the pursuit of this goal that is important.  It is what continues to help me to find and further push the limits of my abilities and imagination.  I have a keen interest in portrait photography, astrophotography, landscape, sport and wildlife.  I enjoy shooting images in low light, capturing each delicate photon of light that creates a unique image that is just not possible in daylight.

A special moment for me personally was exhibiting a selection of my photos in Áras Eanna alongside with other local talented photographers.  I have been lucky enough to take photos on the most southern tip of Africa to the tundra inside the Arctic Circle but it is here in on the Aran Islands where I feel most at home.

Our daily lives have changed drastically since this virus has made an appearance onto the world stage.  New ideas such as social distancing and the 5 km exercise zone from home have become all too normal.  A lot has changed for so many in recent times.  I had an idea to take photos from Inis Oírr to capture the outside world that we have taken for granted for so long.  The idea was to publish them online for the people who were too far from the sea or who could not see a sunset, I wanted to bring some of my world to them.

You can view the full exhibition at http://aras-eanna.ie/en/project/cormac-coyne-inis-oirr-in-lockdown/

Weekly live gigs keeping the islanders connected

galway daily news gig aran island

The most westerly arts centre in Europe is playing a huge part in keeping people connected throughout the coronavirus lockdown, even at a time when people are prevented from travelling to Ireland’s offshore islands.

Áras Éanna, situated on Inis Oírr, the smallest of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay, has captured the imagination of the public with a series of weekly live performances which have allowed the people of Inis Oír to keep connected to artists and performers on the mainland.

Since April 9, the Áras Éanna Beo gigs on the arts centre’s Facebook page have attracted more than 60,000 online visitors and provided a much-needed revenue stream for artists and musicians who have been unable to perform live.

The weekly Thursday night sessions on Facebook have featured a wide variety of
performers, some island residents and artists who were due to visit Inis Oirr, building up a loyal following.

The weekly gigs started with a session by Inis Oirr resident Micheal O hAlmhain, playing the flute and tin whistle from his island home. They have really taken off since then.

“I had to leave the island in mid-March and I had to start working from home. I had to start cancelling our summer activities and decide what we were going to do,” says Aras Eanna Artistic Director Dara McGee, who has been delighted by the popularity of the online shows.

“We are really getting the numbers up. We have an average of about 400 people watching the show live every Thursday evening, but we get up to 7,000 views over the following week. Benny McCarthy (Danu) has hit 10,000 views.”

Performers are delighted that Dara is able to pay them a modest fee at a time when so many events have been cancelled and Dara has been delighted to feature acts, such as The Whileaways, who were due to play live at Aras Eanna during the lockdown.

As well as O hAlmhian, the Aras Eanna Beo sessions on Facebook have given platforms to Inis Oirr residents Pat Quinn, who once wrote a song for Christy Moore; Lasairfhiona Ni Chaonala, a world-renown Sean Nos singer; and Daithi O Brioin, a ballad and folk singer.

Dara himself has put on a live visual art show which was watched by 7,000 people and a concert by accordion player Benny McCarthy (Danu) attracted 10,000 views. Des Dillon put on a wonderful puppet show from his home and singers have included Liam O Maonlai and Ruth Dillon.

“We are an arts centre and we promote all art forms. The more art forms I can promote and the more artists I can help the better. We are also hoping to have more literature and poetry, to promote all art forms and not just music.”

The live shows normally take place on the arts centre’s Facebook page on Thursdays at 9pm.

Although a couple of children’s shows have taken place at 7pm. Dara provides the performers with an Aras Eanna backdrop and co-ordinates with them in order to enhance the sound and visuals for the weekly shows.

“The online thing has become really huge for us, because the building is physically closed. We are actually reaching a bigger audience than if we were open, but there is nothing to beat an actual live performance, sitting in your seat, and witnessing a gig or a play or a reading live.

“As a set designer, I even talk to the artists about what’s behind them.

“Of course, we can’t wait to get back to real life performances in our 75 seat theatre on the island. But we are actually very proud that we have had 60,000 views of our gigs since this pandemic started. I think that’s excellent.

“It would take us ten years for us to sell that many tickets for shows in Aras Eanna!”

Find out more at https://www.galwaydaily.com/arts-culture/weekly-live-gigs-keeping-the-islanders-connected-through-covid-19/

Tim Robinson obituary: English writer who went native in Connemara

The Yorkshire man called these marginalised landscapes ‘the ABC of earth wonders’

Tim Robinson near Roundstone, Connemara, in 2006. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Born: March 26th, 1935
Died: April 3rd, 2020

Tim Robinson, the English writer, cartographer, mathematician, artist and illustrator who spent more than 40 years chronicling the west of Ireland, has died in London about two weeks after the death of his wife and collaborator, Mairéad Robinson.

The Cambridge-educated Yorkshire man moved to the Aran islands with his wife in 1972. Over the following decades he documented the cultural, linguistic, botanical, archeological and geological details of the place, creating masterpieces of literature and cartography in the process.

Robinson is best known for his two-volume Stones of Aran (Lilliput Press 1985 and 1995) and his Connemara trilogy – Listening to the Wind (Penguin 2006), The Last Pool of Darkness (Penguin 2008) and A Little Gaelic Kingdom (Penguin 2011). He won the Irish Book Awards literature medal and the Rooney prize special award for literature for his first volume of Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage. He later won two more Irish Book Awards for his Connemara trilogy. Robinson also published a book of essays, My Time in Space (Lilliput Press 1995). His last book, Experiments on Reality, was published in 2019.

In parallel with his writing, Robinson created intricately beautiful maps of the Aran islands, the Burren and Connemara. These richly detailed yet marginalised landscapes he called “the ABC of earth wonders”. His maps were published by Folding Landscapes, the imprint he and Mairéad ran from their home in Roundstone, Co Galway, where they moved in 1984.

Robinson’s writings and map-making were imbued with a layered complexity garnered from walking the land, stopping to talk and listen to local people and from what he called “an infinity of looking” at what he encountered. The English nature writer Robert Macfarlane said few writers succeeded in giving their prose the characteristics of the terrain they were describing as fully as Robinson.

He became a member of Aosdána in 1996 and the Royal Irish Academy in 2011. He was the subject of a documentary, Tim Robinson: Connemara by film-maker Pat Collins in 2011.

Pinnacle of creativity

Robinson was born in St Albans and grew up one of two sons of Grace (nee Drever) and Frank Robinson in Ilkley, west Yorkshire. His mother designed windows for fashionable London department stores in the 1930s and his father sold engineering equipment. As a child Tim wanted to be both an artist and a mathematician. He realised he could “invent” art without going to art college but he couldn’t “reinvent mathematics”, which he regarded as the highest level of human creativity.

In the 1950s Robinson won a scholarship to study mathematics and physics at the University of Cambridge. After his degree he did his national service with the Royal Air Force as a technician servicing radar devices in Malaya. He met his wife-to-be at the Camden Arts Centre in London, where she was manager. The couple married in 1959 and travelled together, spending time in Istanbul and Vienna before settling in London in 1964. While in Turkey, Robinson taught mathematics and physics at the American College [now Bosphorus University] in Istanbul. In Vienna he painted and exhibited work under the name Timothy Drever. Back in London he worked as a subeditor and technical illustrator to subsidise his work for various art exhibitions.

But after a visit to the Aran islands in summer 1972 – prompted by Mairéad’s viewing of Robert Flaherty’s drama documentary Man of Aran – they decided to return to live there in November 1972.

Robinson said in interviews that their move to the west of Ireland was prompted by “his psychological difficulties navigating the London art world and its demands for money”. He added, “I had the romantic idea that whatever art is, it is the opposite of money, but I forgot that opposites attract”. Much later he viewed his geometrical paintings (which he later donated to the Irish Museum of Modern Art) as the forerunners of his cartography work.

And so the couple abandoned life in London and moved to Inishmore, a Gaeltacht area, with not a word of the Irish language between them. Robinson set about learning Irish, collecting placenames, exploring and writing about the intricacies of the landscape first of the Aran islands and then Connemara and the Burren. He was welcomed into people’s homes to find out the names of fields, hills, rocks and townlands. His first foray into map-making came about when the postmistress asked him to do a tourist map of Inishmore.

Meticulous approach

Robinson’s meticulous approach to his work has resulted in a rich archive of photographs, placename records, reference books, correspondence with other writers, manuscripts and early drafts and first editions of his books. This archive he donated to the James Hardiman Library at the National University of Ireland in Galway in batches from 2006 to 2014. His writings and cartography have inspired – and continue to inspire – scholarly works in Ireland and abroad.

Speaking at an event celebrating the publication of Connemara and Elsewhere (a 2015 photographic essay by French photographer Nicola Fever inspired by Robinson’s texts on Connemara), Robinson said that he couldn’t have done any of his work without the generous help and advice from NUIG experts in botany, geology and archaeology. “I’ve been in and out of the college so much that I deluded myself [into thinking] that I was a member of staff but I’m an eternal student,” he said. Responding to the appreciation for donating his archives to the university, he responded, “We’d like to leave Connemara with as little as we brought to it – and return everything to Connemara.”

The couple reluctantly moved from their home on the quay in Roundstone to London due to poor health. Robinson, who latterly suffered from Parkinson’s disease, died from Covid-19 in St Pancras Hospital, near his flat in West Hampstead. The long-term plans are to convert the Robinsons’ studio and home in Roundstone, which the couple also bequeathed to NUIG, to an arts centre where their legacy would live on.

Words: Irish Times. Photograph: Brian Farrell

You can read the full obituary at https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/tim-robinson-obituary-english-writer-who-went-native-in-connemara-1.4225031