National Geographic : 1971 Apr
The kitchen: hub of Aran life ROUND THE HEARTH of his home on little Inisheer gather Colman Conneely, right, his wife Maura, with daughter Una on her lap, his sister Mary, and his son Padraic. Family photographs and religious pictures adorn the walls and mantel. Many homes also boast likenesses of the late President John F. Kennedy. English coal, supple mented by bottled gas, serves for cooking and heating. Most islanders prefer clean-burning peat imported from the Irish mainland, but increasing scarcity makes it too costly for regular use. The islanders must also rely on the mainland for their newspapers, printed mainly in English, a lan guage most Aran adults understand, although they prefer to converse in Irish. Many experts believe the ancient language remains purest on these islands. Visitors to the Arans lodge in guesthouses such as the Conneely home; no regular hotels or restau rants exist. Many houses now have running water, and a few have privately generated electricity.