A Dark Day on the Blaskets

Micheál Ó Dubhshláine’s A Dark Day on the Blaskets

This book is one of the very few accounts of the life (and death) of Eibhlín Nic Niocaill, a brilliant, early 20th Century Irish language activist, writer and poet who was the love interest of the young Irish revolutionary, Pádraig Mac Piarais (Patrick Pearse). She was in the vanguard of the emergence of women into Irish society and politics on an equal footing with men and her early loss was not just a profound personal one to Mac Piarais (and may well have altered the course of his life leading to his own premature death) but also the Irish language and women’s movements in Ireland as a whole.

Beautifully written, this book is highly recommend for anyone wanting to understand the hard but timeless nature of rural society and life in the West of Ireland in the early 20th Century, the lead up to the Irish Revolution and the woman for whom Pádraig Mac Piarais wrote, many years after her death, one of his most impassioned poems.

If you wish to learn more about Pádraig Mac Piarais or An Piarsach please try the well received and widely read series of essays in The Life and After-life of P.H. Pearse: Padraig Mac Piarais: Saol Agus Oidhreacht.

5 comments on “A Dark Day on the Blaskets

  1. As Gaolainn ar dtús a scríobh Mícheál é, gan dabht – ‘Óigbhean Uasal ó Phríomhchathair Éireann’, os rud gur spéis le lucht leanta na suímhe seo a leithéid.


  2. “She felt that a nation cannot live in the traditions of its glorious past and that Ireland must cease to boast the glory of her saints and scholars if their children fail in their duty now. Still more she felt that the people must arise, with quiet but mighty resolve, and that it is for them to say that Ireland must not, and shall not become the bedraggled and mire-stained tail of a decadent, unjust and hypocritical empire.” —Mary Nicolls (máthair ag Eibhlín), 25th August 1909. (An Claidheamh Soluis, 4 September 1909)


    • Great description from her mother. I would love to see some of her writing being republished, in hard- or softcopy. From the little I have seen she was taken far too early.


  3. Jams O'Donnell

    How about ‘An Beal Bocht’ by Myles na gCopaleen aka Brian O’Nolan. Great satire on the vogue in the 20’s for describing hard times on the west coast, and a very funny tragic-comedy.


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