Tag Archives: inis-meain


light aran islands

Quality of light

future inis meáin

Future lies ahead of you


A couple of months ago already they left Inis Meáin. And so they did last year  and  the year before and many, many years before those, as well. No matter the weather. They just went, as they will do the years to come too, when time is there. They sense when to have to take off. There is an inner clock at them when to leave for the journey of thousands of miles to the south to hibernate.

excitement aran



There is always a sort of excitement felt on the Island around the time the last of them will be leaving either today or tomorrow. “Did you still see them today?” is the daily question. On one hand I feel a relieve when they actually haven’t been seen for a while. On the other hand, when they really have left, there is sadness as well; it means winter is on her way now.

This time of year aran

This time of year


This year a period of silence began with the departure of the tiny and active swallows. And… I missed them. I missed their warbling and their liveliness. Having them around there is always a performance to be enjoyed: a pretty hassle between them “quarreling” about one’s place there is on the wire, the chasing after one another or the enjoyment of watching them balancing in the sky, for example. Well, one day  it stopped abruptly.

Aran Mightiness



Winter came and the day get shorter every day. And with the shortening of the days there is sometimes more darkness as well. There are days now which have only a few hours of daylight really. Then…some days ago there was a turnaround in the atmosphere. Leaving the house just before the breaking of the night into the morning I heard the lovely sound of a smólach (thrush) coming from a shrub across the road. It was pure, transparant and airy as if it came from worlds beyond bringing a shred of the coming season. It seemed to tell: “have patience and wait a little longer, spring is coming soon”.  A moment later there was an answer: the sky coloured in beautiful pink shades.

aran islands photo

An answer


Slán go fóill,

Elisabeth from Inis Meáin.

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Anamchara retreat. Click the image for more.

Teach Phobail (Home of the community)

That happy moment on Sunday morning around ten. It is lively on the road leading to the church. Little groups of people are coming from all directions heading for Mass. Opposite the church there is a couple of man sitting on the wall talking with the ones standing against the wall of the church yard. All are waiting for Mass to be read.

church aran islands

Teach Phobail

Whether it is time for Mass or any early morning or just before sunset, at noon or later in the day, it really does not matter to me, I just love to go inside.

inis meáin

I love to go inside any time

With saying this I actually mean the outside part as well. Entering the church yard for example, coming through the iron, elegantly forged gate I am facing the old bell tower keeping watch over the grave of the very youngest. Once the bell was rung every time before Mass. I wonder how it was like. And would the sound be heard at any place on Inis Meáin? The sculpture of the redeemer above the wooden front door I mostly meet in a glance. The rendering is simplicity itself. Thrilling. It gives me faith and trust: it is good to go inside.


Sculpture of the Redeemer

Once in the portal, instead of using the double door which is right in front of me, the side door is usually used. The surprise which is still hidden for my eye sight at this moment, might be even bigger once it actually meets me…

As soon as I have pushed the heavy side door open, there is that special smell, a smell of heartily welcome is coming towards me. I enter a lovely space. There are long wooden benches put in rows on both sides from the middle. They are made for large families and there will always be enough space for the one who comes late; just by squeezing in a bit. The dark brown ceiling above is made out of oak which is given a lovely golden shine by the sun, just now.  When I walk towards the front I see on both sides lovely glass stained windows and so is the panel above the altar.

stained glass window

Glass stained window of Maria Magdala

windows aran islands

Glass stained windows

Just as in building the church itself there is put so much love in the design and in the actual implementation of the windows.

This church, Teach Phobail (lit: home of the community) in Irish, is really an haven, a shelter for any one and most of all it is the heart of Inis Meáin where the community can meet in prayer.

inis meain

Heart of Inis Meáin

Slán go fóill,

Elisabeth from Inis Meáin.

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Anamchara retreat. Click the image for more.



Be prepared

inis meain aran islands

At the beginning of the week

After a couple of hours of reasonable peace it is back again…


During the swell


During the swell


The setting of the scene has become more or less familiar by now. And I think I can say I am even getting used to the voice which has been at the background now for quite a bit of time. Sometimes there is a tiny break in between. But as soon as I become aware of the interval of peace though, the voice comes back with renewed energy…


During the swell

Although more often a bit of a breeze is felt, most of the time there is that very special atmosphere of síocháin agus suaimhneas (peace and tranquility) in the air of Inis Meáin. A haven of tranquility, one could call the island.



This is probably the reason why this kind of weather with the unrest it brings along, surprises one in a certain way, every time it happens re-again. For it is not only the unrest  but it also  generates agitation within one self.


During the swell

With extreme weather conditions like we have to deal with at this moment I become even more aware of the very specific circumstances of living on an island like Inis Meáin. A pinprick amidst  the Atlantic Ocean but due to its geographical location, with a huge impact on everyday life. Because of  the swell (big and long waves) there has not been a boat service for example during quite a few days now and only sometimes  a plane is heard. This means no post or newspaper. And no groceries either…

There is a lovely saying on the island: go with the flow. Take life how it reveals itself and be prepared…


Take life how it reveals itself

Slán go fóill,

Elisabeth from Inis Meáin

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Anamchara retreat. Click the image for more.