logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Irish Culture Site

BellaOnline's Irish Culture Editor

g

The Island of the White Cow


This memoir of Inisbofin was written by the late American poet Deborah Tall, who lived there in the 1970s. I happened upon this book in shop over twenty years ago and I still re-read it every couple years. As an evocative description of an enchanting and vanished Irish way of life you cannot beat prose written by a poet.

Tall came to Ireland in the economically depressed 1970s fresh from her American college where she had met and fallen in love with an Irish visiting professor, who also happened to be married at a time when divorce was not an option in Ireland. They decamped to the Aran islands off Galwaysís coast, living in a cottage without electricity or an indoor privy. Despite the lack of the comforts of her cultural upbringing, Tall fell in love with the place, the people, the way of life. She also chronicles it at an important tipping point in the islandís own cultural history.

Tall does not write a chronological memoir. On a tiny island you might not think it would be eventful enough but Tall uses the devise of following the seasons. She begins with the first spring of her arrival and completes the cycle with the final winter on the island. The landscape is thereby the main character of the book with the humans who populate its pages living at its whim. Tall writes with tenderness of the islandís dwellers. As both a foreigner and the only Jew that any islander had met, the author has the benefit of the outsiderís viewpoint. She was also part of a couple cohabiting out of wedlock at a time when this was socially unacceptable in Ireland. Dropped into this social abyss, Tall adapts by keenly watching, rarely judging and always learning. Being an outsider, Tallís observant and tender eye takes an almost anthropological interest in the island community.

While many years passed before Tall wrote of the island (other than in poetry), a return trip prompted her to record the islandís vanishing culture. She lifted the self-imposed embargo because ďfor a short time I was privy to a vanishing world, a last fringe, a fragile land that any time now might be repossessed, returned to the mist and seaweed. What can I say to say good-bye? Iím unable to reach conclusions. I say: here is my island, its colors, its voices, its losses. This, a long letter home.Ē

Get the book:




Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to Twitter Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to Facebook Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to MySpace Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to Del.icio.us Digg The+Island+of+the+White+Cow Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to Yahoo My Web Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to Google Bookmarks Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to Stumbleupon Add The+Island+of+the+White+Cow to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Irish Culture Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Bee Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Bee Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Bee Smith for details.

g


g features
Winter Solstice in Ireland

Irish Christ Carols and Music

Some Irish Christmas Traditions

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor