Thomas O'Criothan, Author, Great Blasket

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Where: Kerry, Ireland

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When: Unknown

Try to find the date or year when this image was made.
Happy Cyber Monday to all and when you are online take a moment to imagine how much life has changed since Tomás O'Críothán walked this earth? Tomás used longhand to write, he will have used the old Irish script with the various accents and letter forms in use at the time. All has changed, changed utterly since then and if we could identify the place then the streetview - might not have changed at all!

Apart from the discussion on the man and his works (Tomás Ó Criomhthain (1856-1937)), much of the discussion today was on the date of the image. While a copy of this image is apparently held by the Smithsonian (which dates it to "c.1900"), and though our photographer Thomas Mason may have visited the islands with scholar Robin Flower (Bláithín) c.1910, there's a possibility that the image was captured a little later, c.1920.

Collection: Mason Photographic Collection

Date: Catalogue range c.1890-1910. Possibly c.1910. Perhaps as late as c.1920s.

NLI Ref: M20/29/4

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 16767
thomasholmesmason thomasmayne thomashmasonsonslimited lanternslides nationallibraryofireland tomásócriothánauthor greatblasketisland blasketislands countykerry ireland tomasocrohan tomásócriomhthain theislander antoileánach allagarnahinise islandman irishlanguage

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    Oretani Wildlife (Mike Grimes)

    • 27/Nov/2017 08:57:09

    I actually just finished reading his book, as Bearla, 3 nights ago. A most enjoyable read and a fascinating insight into what was a most different way of life to that of the mainland at the time, and so much more to how we live today.

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    Foxglove

    • 27/Nov/2017 09:24:25

    I have recently read " the islandman"

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    Foxglove

    • 27/Nov/2017 09:30:17

    and live was certainly tough

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    John Spooner

    • 27/Nov/2017 09:37:06

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/foxglove I read it in the 1980s while on a cycling tour round Kerry (and most of the west of Ireland). Also Maurice O'Sullivan's Twenty Years a-Growing

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 27/Nov/2017 09:54:56

    Tomás Ó Criomhthain (anglicised as Tomas O'Crohan or Thomas O'Crohan; 21. December 1856–1937) From his wiki article - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomas_O%27Crohan - there is a face-on view wearing the same clothes - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tom%C3%A1s_%C3%93_Criomhthain.png . Dated as "before 1929", when the front view was published in this online book - archive.org/details/toileachsclbheat00crio

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 27/Nov/2017 10:06:46

    Sometimes Flickr ... From the https://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/ who think "c. 1900" - (if they don't know...!) https://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/2920798207/ And a stamp issued in 1957 for the centenary of his birth - https://www.flickr.com/photos/shrighley/28744259341/

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    Bernard Healy

    • 27/Nov/2017 11:06:00

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ I’d be dubious about c.1900. As his books were published 1928/1929, I’d imagine the photo was taken about that time. Are we sure about the 1890-1910 dating?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 27/Nov/2017 11:59:28

    If it were 1910, he'd be 54?

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    Bernard Healy

    • 27/Nov/2017 12:06:50

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/ Yup. And that might not be far off the mark. I was thinking the book in his hand might have something to do with his published work, but it need not. Given how tough life was, I could well believe that this was him in his 50s.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 27/Nov/2017 12:17:38

    Yes, I think he looks more sixty-something than forty-something. Don't laugh at this geekiness, paperclips (see note) were invented in 1899 by a Norwegian. I think it would have taken a while before they were imported to Great Blasket. www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-paper-clip-4072863 Ed. Wikipedia has paperclips slightly earlier - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_clip

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    Myrtle26

    • 27/Nov/2017 13:13:06

    The following kindly supplied to me by Doncha O'Connor of the Blasket Centre in Dún Chaoin. 'Thomas Mason published a book in 1936, The Islands of Ireland. In this he says that Robin Flower introduced him to the islanders. "We had arranged to cross from the mainland with Dr Flower of the British Museum. He had frequently visited the island and we are indebted to him for our introductions to the islanders. As friends of his we were immediately welcome and we were not treated as strangers." Robin Flower first came to the island in 1910. Allagar na h-Inse was published in 1928 and An tOileanach in 1929 so the photograph would have been taken between 1929 and 1936, I would say early 1930s. Tomás died in 1937.'

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    sam2cents

    • 27/Nov/2017 14:10:19

    An iconic image. I think I've read some of his stuff.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 27/Nov/2017 15:14:04

    Can we figure out when Thomas Mason visited the Blaskets? Muiris Mac Conghail’s book ‘The Blaskets A Kerry Island Library’ includes two pictures of Tomás, the one above & another of him posing with Robin Flowers. Flowers’ earliest visit to the Blasket was in 1910. Did he have Mason with him? Flowers was back in 1911, on honeymoon. His visits were interrupted by WWI, but he seems to have visited frequently before & after.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 27/Nov/2017 17:10:44

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/mosskayree] I'd missed the fact that you'd made the same deduction that I had done. Here is another picture of Tomás with Robin Flowers, also taken by Thomas Mason. Was this taken on the same visit? As has been pointed out, Mason seems to have been brought to the Blaskets by Flower. Flower's first visit was 1910. I don't see the 1890-1910 date range being reasonable. I could _just about_ believe this is a 1910 photo, but he does look a bit older. If the other Mason picture (with Flower) is from the same visit, Flower looks significantly older than 29 - his age in 1910. Personally, given that it shows Tomás holding a book, I would argue that there is a fair chance that it was taken _after_ his books were published, or at the very least after he established himself in the minds of visitors as being a literary man - a man who read and enjoyed books. (Incidentally, his schooling on the Blaskets taught him how to read & write in English, It was as an adult he learned how to write in his native tongue!) Ó Criomhthain began writing about his life in 1917 on the encouragement of Brian Ó Ceallaigh. On a related note, he is buried under a fine headstone in Dún Chaoin churchyard. I once had the opportunity of inspecting the parish records in Ballyferriter, and as I recall, the record of 'sick calls' from the time of Ó Criomhtain's death is still extant. In it, the priest of the time recorded the administration of the Last Rites prior to his passing. In that book he is listed simply as An t-Oileánach.

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    Bernard Healy

    • 27/Nov/2017 17:28:15

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] I am not sure I agree with you about the picture in An t-Oileánach being contemporaneous with the Mason picture. It seems as though the picture in An t-Oileánach was given to him by the folklorist Von Sydow who took this very similar shot in 1924.

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 27/Nov/2017 19:59:55

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardhealy Indeed! I'm impressed by your knowledge and research, as always.

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    domenico milella

    • 28/Nov/2017 08:39:31

    Congratulation for your beautiful Album.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 28/Nov/2017 13:01:53

    Thanks all! And apologies for not weighing-in yesterday. But, not being familiar with the man or his works (certainly not as some of our clearly well-read contributors here), I didn't have much to add :) I have however, now, mapped the image - and added a short summary of the dating discussion!

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    Inverarra

    • 28/Nov/2017 23:14:36

    Many thanks for a great photo and story.