Nineteeth Century Antiquarianism on the Aran Islands

In 1684 noted scholar and antiquarian Roderic O Flaherty wrote’ A Chorographical Description of West or H-Iar Connaught’ in which he described his travels around West Connacht including the Aran Islands. This is the only description we have of the islands from this period until the nineteenth century. In that century Ireland experienced a cultural revival and the Aran Islands became one of its hubs. Noted antiquarians such as John O Donovan, George Petrie, Sir Samuel Ferguson, Sir William Wilde and Thomas Westropp each in their turn surveyed and documented the islands built heritage.


Literary figures of the Anglo Irish literary movements such as W.B Yeats, John Millington Synge and Lady Gregory came to draw on the folklore and folklife of the islands in their work.

Committed Irish language revivalist such as Patrick Pearse and Fr. Eoghan O Growney established a branch of Conradh na Gaeilge on the islands and spent time learning the local dialect and idiom .