National Geographic : 1971 Apr
Aran Islands North Sound Eeragh I. Brannock , Islands Ruins of Dun Aengus Inishmore Aran Islands Limestone snaggleteeth rooted in Gal way Bay, the Aran Isles preserve vestiges of early Gaelic civilization. About 1,600 persons inhabit the tiny islands, which total only 18 square miles. Galway BaFy, 30IS" - Steamer service connects Inishmore and the main -_ - --- land, with stops off '- . re'aY IStraw Inishmaan and Inisheer Ba when weather permits. SA- Sandhead/ ( ROo I SLighthouse Inishmaan , Elevations in feet A o " At~latic STATUTEMILES Ocean__ lnisheer _ __ __ GEOGRAPHICARTDIVISION © NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY Soth Soumn1i-- South Sound Fierce love of a dog, moistly proclaimed, delights a farmer in his stone-walled field on Inishmore-Big Island. Colorful wild flowers help relieve the slate-hued sameness of its nearly treeless landscape, constantly filled with the roar of the sea. Irish mainland, 30 miles away, is the good ship Naomh Eanna (pronounced NAVE ANE uh). There's a touch of South Seas excitement about steamer days. The dock at Galway seethes with action as cargo and mail are loaded and passengers arrive. Capt. Leo Ty nan runs a tight little ship, but there's a pleas ant sizzle of informality that a big British transatlantic line wouldn't go for at all, at all. "Well, now, is that everyone?" shouts a navy-jerseyed sailor to the man handling the lines on the quay below. Apparently it is, for down rolls the gangway, throb go the engines, and off sails the Naomh Eanna, her whistle blasting across Galway Bay.* Only the harbor of Kilronan on Inishmore can accommodate a ship the size of the Naomh *See "The Friendly Irish," by John Scofield, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, September 1969. 546 Eanna. There is no way to land at Inisheer or Inishmaan except with a smaller boat or a curragh. Curraghs, made from wood covered with tarred canvas, have been in use for as long as men can remember. THE STEAMER'S WHISTLE sounds; we are nearing Inisheer. I decide to go up on the bridge and meet the skipper. Captain Tynan is so handsome that he reminds me of a movie star dressed up for the role of captain. He has blue eyes and longish gray hair with sideburns. He wears a yellow slicker over his gold-braided uniform. A Galway man, Leo Tynan has been master of the Naomh Eanna for three years and, before that, her first mate for ten. Despite this solid experience, I still can't help thinking of him as an actor and the bridge a film set.