A lost world

Lovely story on Harold Strong’s Blog…

I had the good fortune to spend two months on the smallest of the Aran Islands, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), in 1962. This was the year before I sat the Leaving Certificate examination, the final school examination in Ireland. At that time if you didn’t pass Irish you failed the examination and couldn’t go to University. So the idea was that I would improve my Irish. This worked and was a fantastic experience. One that has left me with a deep affection for the islanders, their way of life and the Irish language along with a small collection of photographs.

At that time I only had a basic 35mm camera and a few rolls of film. You couldn’t get more film on the island at that time and anyway I couldn’t afford it. When I came home after spending a month longer than originally agreed all I could do was develop the film but no prints! The negatives were kept among my personal stuff, put in a press [cupboard] and forgotten about.

Last year I was using my son’s scanner, remembered these negatives and discovered that they could be scanned. He then introduced me to Flickr and suggested I should put them up there which I did.

I moved on to other things and forgot about them until recently. An email arrived from the ‘Crashed’ music group asking if some of them could be used on the cover of a new CD. The result was that one was used as the outer cover of a CD and two more were used on the inlay.

They were of the wreck of the MV Plassey which went aground on an offshore rock during a severe storm on the night of 8th March 1960. The 11 crew were rescued by the local onshore rescue crew using a Breeches Buoy. It was later driven onto the island during another storm. It is on the rocks in the opening scene of the Channel 4 comedy series ‘Father Ted’…

I’ve just looked at the photographs and some of them (for example this one, of a funeral procession) are very evocative. It’s a lovely little archive portraying a vanished world.