Collection

The Blasket Centre is home to a large collection of items relating to Great Blasket, the Islanders, the literature they produced, and their way of life. Some examples are shown below. If you wish to consult any item in the collection, please contact us.

Candle Lantern

Before the introduction of the Paraffin lamp, one of the ways the Islanders provided themselves with artificial light was by burning a wick or rush in a scallop shell containing fish oil or animal fat. Simple candle lanterns, like the one show here, were also used.

Carageen

‘Carageen’ seaweed, dried and then boiled in milk, provided a health drink which the Islanders took to keep colds at bay. The wooden bowl in which it stands is typical of the kind the Islandmen would have taken with them on fishing trips, in case it might be needed to bail water if he boat should spring a leak!

Naomhóg

Although many naomhóga were purchased on the mainland, a number of Island families built their own. The naomhóg is constructed of light ribs fixed to the lower gunwale, and ‘stringers’ running the length of the boat. Usually, four thwarts (or seats) are fitted, and formerly a mast thwart was fitted near the prow. Finally, a ‘skin’ cover of tarred calico was stretched over the frame.

Donkey Panniers

These donkey panniers were used by the Islanders to carry loads of turf, heather, and seaweed.

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Song Manuscript

This is a song composed by local poet Peaidí Bán Ó Conchubhair about a boat called ‘The Leader’. This is a copy penned by Tomás Ó Criomhthain in the 1920s.

 

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Ring

This Claddagh-style ring was homemade on the Island. A hole was bored into a coin, and the coin then shaped around like a ring.

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Fiddle

Fiddles were very popular on the island. This particular one was owned by the King’s son Mike ‘The Fiddler’ Kane, who was a popular musician on the Irish circuit in New England. He retuned to Kerry in 1909, but left the fiddle in a pub in Dingle on hearing of the sad drowning of Dónal Criomhthain and Eibhlín Nic Niocaill on the island. The fiddle was re-discovered, renovated and presented to the Centre.

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Portraits

‘Blasket Islanders: Peg Sears and Thomas Crohan 1932’ #1, by Harry Kernoff, RHA. Acquired by the Art Management Unit of the Office of Public Works in 2008.

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Certificate of Naturalization

Many Blasket Islanders emigrated to Springfield, Massachusetts, joining other family members who had gone previously. There is still a strong memory in Springfield of Blasket heritage.

 

 


The Blasket Centre continues to accept donations of objects in accordance with its collection policy. If you are interested in donating object(s), please contact us.

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