Thursday, 23 August 2012

Aran Reader - some notes as I read

I'm on a short break, somewhat marred by a missing cat putting paid to some plans.

Then I heard that Vogue Knitting has published an article about Clan Arans... sigh.  While I'm reading this Aran Reader.


Book Depository Link, Dublin City Public Libraries link (yes, yes the copy I'm reading is the one circulating copy, I hope to have it back soon)

The Aran Reader is a book that gathers together writings about the Aran Islands from the earliest with Giraldus Cambrenis in 1220 to the 20th Century (published in 1991) with a variety of writings and opinions.  I'm mostly data mining it for mentions of knitting and the costume of the locals over the centuries.

I was mostly ignoring the bit about local names.  Didn't really think about it much the rest of the extract was sufficiently annoying in parts, anything written in 1893 with a title of Ethnography of the Aran Islands (published in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy) is guaranteed to be, at least patronising and at worst down right bigoted.

So the Local surnames, with frequency: (page 53)

Beaty              1
Brabson          1
Burke              5
Concannon     5
Conneely (1) 61
Cooke             5
Curlin              8
Coleman          1
Costello           8
Crampton        1
Davoran           1
Derrane (2)     57
Dillane              4
Donohoe         11
Duignan            3
Faherty (1)       78
Fallon                3
Fahy                  1
Flaherty (1)     80
Fitzpatrick (3)   5
Flanagan           1
Folan               18
Gauly (4)          1
Garvey              1
Gillan (5)          3
Gill                   6
Gould               1
Griffin              9
Hardy               1
Hernon            11
Hogan               1
Joyce               17
Kean                 5
Kelly                 4
Kilmartin (6)     1
Kennedy           1
Kenny               1
King                  1
Keilly                1
Kyne                 2
Lee                    2
Leonard             3
Maher                7
McDonagh       27
Millane               6
McNally             1
Mulkerrin           4
Mullin               20
Murray               2
Naughton           3
O'Brien              5
O'Donnell        20
O'Rourke           2
Powel              14
Quinn                2
Ryder (7)           1
Scofield             1
Sharry (8)          2
Toole                4
Wallace             3
Walsh                4

1) This name is found over the three islands
2) this name is confined (with exceptions of two families) to the large island
3) Originally from the King's County [Offaly]
4) Originally from Dublin
5) Originally from the North
6) From County Clare
7) Originally from Boffin Isle
8) Originally from County Clare
{apologies for the clunky formatting, I'm not too hot with this]

Sadly these names are in English only so no idea what names were in Irish, also the collector, a Seargeant Wm. Law of the Royal Irish Constabulary who said "I have omitted a few names such as those of Johnston, Chard, Kilbride and a few others of more ancient appearance on the islands." Also many of the names are names I came across during Primary and Secondary school years in Galway.

The names highlighted are the names that appear in the Clan Arans listing.

Now I may have missed a few, however I did try to find them being as general as possible.  Feel free to point out the ones I've missed.

Sadly the tradition of knitting stockings or socks is dying out, the socks described as having white heels and tops (cuff or toes?) with the rest being coloured.  Yes you can get them around Connemara but they're not regarded as something that we should be worried about or should try to preserve.  My father describes knitting heels by double knitting them, where they were knit into the front and back of the stitch and then the first stitch cast off over the second stitch.  He described them as very hard wearing but a pain to mend.  I wonder how socks were knit around Ireland and were there regional variations.

I have found no mention of knitted jumpers, just woven clothing with knitted socks, and I'm heading into the 20th century with what I'm reading in this book.

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