The Aran Islands, off of Ireland's west coast, are known for their beauty, isolation,
traditional way of life, use of the Irish language, flora and fauna (birders come
from all over the world to observe birds on the islands), ancient archaeological
remains, a strong sense of community, serenity and spirituality and last, but not
least, the wool of their well-known, hand-knitted sweaters and shawls.
A Peaceful, Easy Feeling:
The Aran Islands
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I usually include quotations or poetry on Friday's Journal.  But, when I was doing
research for this page, I came across an article written by a man who had visited
the Aran Islands.  He wrote about a conversation he'd had one day with a local
woman in a cafe on Inis Mor.  She told him a story I wanted to share.  Excerpted
The Soothing Spirit of J. M. Synge: A Pilgrimage to the Aran Islands:
I'm grateful to Friday's Journal subscriber, Sue, who shared the story of her
visit to the Islands and suggested a page about them.  Every moment I've spent
reading about the Aran Islands and putting this page together has been a joy.
-- Nancy
"From an envelope, Angela, one of the locals, handed us a memorial card
with the name and photo of a young New York fireman, a set of initials
(WTC) and a date (9/11/2001).
"She told us she originally found it a few years ago, tucked down the side
of her mother's grave at Na Seacht dTeampaill, up the road.  She had no
idea where it had come from, but had written to an address on the back.
"The dead man's mother contacted her.  Her son, Michael, she said, had always
wanted to visit the Aran Islands.  After 9/11, she'd traveled to Inis Mor; and
because her son had loved roses, she'd left his image at the only grave in
the cemetery with a rose bush.  'And that was my mother's,' Angela said.
" 'She didn't think anyone would find it,' Angela continued.  'Then, she thought I
might be upset.  But she's coming again next year and we've arranged to meet.'
The card had become weather-beaten, so Angela had taken it to the mainland to
have it relaminated.  'I must go and leave it back on the grave,' she said."