In my previous blog I mentioned that I would tell you about the ancient history of Ireland and especially the Aran Islands on which we stayed. The Aran Islands are a collection of three islands located at the entrance to Galway Bay on the western side of Ireland. They are named Inisheer, Inishmaan, and Inishmore which is the only one that is inhabited. Our guide said there are approximately 800 inhabitants and NO CRIME “because we all know each other.” It sounds like the perfect place, doesn’t it?
The remaining facts and history were told by Dara Molloy, a Celtic Priest, author, and expert historian on the Aran Islands. Approximately 15,000 years ago Ireland and most of Europe was covered by ice. Thus, the timeline of the Aran Islands goes back around 10,000 years. A lot of the history of Ireland is punctuated with legends, which began with the “sons of Parthenon.” They were a small tribe led by Tuan Mac Cairill. As the legend unfolds, Tuan went into a cave one night to sleep. But the next morning he awakened as a stag. There’s another character who awakened as a boar which changed into an eagle, then a salmon, then a human. As Tuan changed shapes, he encountered obstacles which he had to overcome. Finally, Tuan comes out of the cave as a human. These stories were handed down from generation to generation through the process of story-telling. Then in 500 A.D. St. Finnian of Donegal wanted to write down the entire story. Today this legend from the fifth century may be found in the Book of Invasions in the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, the capital city.