A woman I know told me a man from Galway she knows told her that the cargo of the Plassey, which was shipwrecked on Inis Oírr in the 1960’s, included ceramic toilet bowls. Many of these were spirited away when the Plassey was grounded on Trá Caorach. A woman I know told me a man from Galway she knows told her that some of the ceramic toilet bowls were used in the dwellings on the island, while others were sold in Galway. We imagine Duchampian porcelain installation pieces might still be found unclaimed in the caves and crevices of the limestone.
The sense of solitude was immense. I could not see or realise my own body, and I seemed to exist merely in my perception of the waves and of the crying birds, and of the smell of seaweed – JM Sygne, The Aran Islands (1906)
At Jesse’s suggestion, at James’s instigation both, first Jesse, then James, in penumbra urinated, their sides contiguous, their organs of micturition reciprocally rendered invisible by manual circumposition, their gazes, first Jesse’s, then James’s, elevated to the projected luminous and semiluminous shadow.
There is hardly an hour I am with them that I do not feel the shock of some inconceivable idea, and then again the shock of some vague emotion that is familiar to them and to me. On some days I feel this island as a perfect home and resting place; on other days I feel that I am a waif among the people. I can feel more with them than they can feel with me, and while I wander among them, they like me sometimes, and laugh at me sometimes, yet never know what I am doing – J M Synge, The Aran Islands, 1907.
To look back through it along the headlands that stand as if fixed for all eternity, one behind another to the limits of vision, is to look into the jaws of time – Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage.
A view from the JesseJames Seat, located on a beach on Inis Oírr where the artists found inspiration. It is said that this was JesseJames’s favourite seat on Inis Oírr. Situated on Trá Caorach and overlooking An Sunda Ó Dheas, the sound between Inis Oírr and the cliffs of Moher.