The Aran Islands – Another World

By: Bill Doyle

(3 customer reviews)


This portfolio of 160 stunning photographs, drawn from the Aran Islands since the early 1960s, chronicles and records the daily life of the islanders: their seasons, harvests and festivities; their schooling, religion and politics; their fishing, folkways and pastimes. Photographic sequences depict events in the Aran year – St Bridget’s Eve (1 February) and St John’s Eve (11 June), the blessing of the currachs, the cead (a form of hurling) – and portraits of the Aran poets, Sean Keating the painter, and the coffin-makers of Inis Meain.

These timeless, crystalline images by a master-photographer reconstitute and preserve a unique, largely vanished way of life in the most majestic of settings on Ireland’s western seaboard. An introductory essay, ‘The Light before the Object: Bill Doyle, Photographer’, by broadcaster and documentary film-maker Muirís Mac Conghail, accompanies the photographs.

The late BILL DOYLE, a Dubliner, was one of Ireland’s leading documentary and artistic photographers; he won international awards for his work in Japan, Germany, the UK and the USA. His other books include The Aran Islands: Another World(Lilliput) and Island Funeral (Veritas).



3 reviews for The Aran Islands – Another World

  1. Lilliput Press

    “This is a book not just to have,but to have and keep.For me there are two main aspects about it.It records life as it is or was,and secondly,Bill Doyle’s obvious acceptance by the islanders and his keen observation of them,results in pictures which are absolutely real and which ring true as as accurate records of the islands.Colour certainly has its place,but the book’s graphic black and white adds a dimension which sometimes only monochrome can provide.Two examples help to illustrate the book’s value as animportant record.Curraghs… they are legendary,but slowly dissppearing.The men’s trousers…tweed,shapeless,patched and patched again and again!” RAYMOND ARNOLD

  2. Lilliput Press

    “On 30 June 1964 Dubliner Bill Doyle stepped off the ferry from Galway and began a photographic project that would last nearly 40 years. Touring the three Aran Islands off Ireland’s western seaboard: Inis Mór (Great island), Inis Meáin (Middle Island), and Inis Oírr (Eastern Island), Doyle set to work chronicling the daily lives of the islanders as they fought to preserve their way of life. Doyle watched with his camera as crops were harvested, funerals conducted, festivals celebrated, and folklores upheld. The results of his observations are recorded in this impressive hardback book.
    With an introductory essay by friend Muiris Mac Conghail, The Aran Islands – Another World is more than just a record of a vanishing way of life. The warmth and intimacy of the black & white images indicate that Doyle was more than simply a curious outsider; he was at one with the community, sympathetic to their plight, but never patronising, or displaying their way of life as primitive or uncivilised. In one photograph three men wheel a coffin on a bicycle, dressed in tradition flat caps and thick tweed trousers, and caught against the backdrop of a dry-stone wall. To be that close and be accepted must have been quite an emotional experience for Doyle.
    People are obviously at the centre of Doyle’s passion for photography, and occupy the majority of his images. But the islands themselves provide the perfect backdrop for his portraits. ‘The prehistoric and medieval remains on all three of the islands have such a commanding presence that Aran has been described as an open-air museum inhabited by the islanders,’ writes Conghail in the introduction. It is impossible to divorce these communities from their surroundings and in every lobster pot, shed, currach, and ploughed field you can trace the hand of the islanders and their way of life. As Conghail states, ‘Bill likes people and they like him. Only the very humble outsider could gain access to such a ceremony.’
    A beautifully illustrated book celebrating the lives of three humble communities and the rugged environments they call home.”

  3. Lilliput Press

    “Beautiful book with great pictures, a perfect memento from my trip to the Aran isles, a perfect coffee table book!” CARMEL BOURKE

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Weight 1.5 kg