No one is an island

‘No man is an island’, said John Donne in 1624; we are all somehow connected to and draw from the great river of humanity. Much later, William Butler Yeats opined:

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

So in these days of ‘lockdown’ and reflection, we savour the beauty and inspiration of many lives, now in peril or passed, who have offered into our consciousness some riches great or small — yes, and often in these pages with a connection to the Lochlainn roots in Ireland.

In this post, we remember two great contributors to the cultural history of the Burren, from whence came the grand ÓLochlainn heritage.

Cathal’s book of ballads, 1850-1976, collected by Sean Ó Cillín

Sean  P. OCillin

First, Edward has notified us of the passing of Seán P ÓCillin who compiled a book of ballads from County Clare and the Irish West Coast.

In this collection, Seán included another telling quote from W B Yeats:

The history of a nation is not in parliaments and battlefields but in what people say to each other on fair days and high days and how they farm and quarrel and go on pilgrimage.

Thank you Sean for your foresight and effort in shoring up this stream of our musical heritage.

Read more in a blog post five years ago, The west’s awake>

Tim Robinson

Secondly, of whom do I speak when I quote this recent obituary in The Guardian?

Máiréad was born Margaret Fitzgibbon in Loch Garman, County Wexford, and first moved to London in the 1950s to train as a lawyer. She mastered Gaelic, Italian and French, and read Latin and ancient Greek. Her reading was eclectic, ranging from Dante to the memoirs of 18th-century French aristocratic women’s salons.

She met Tim Robinson when, as recent graduates, they were renting rooms in the same shared house, and they married in Islington, London in 1959. They moved to Istanbul to teach and later to Vienna, where Tim began to develop his work as a visual artist.

Map of the Uplands of North-west Clare by Tim Robinson

Impressive. But Wexford in the south-east is a long way from Clare in the west.

The clue is ‘Tim Robinson’, whose cartographic work has been recognised in our Burren page. From 1972, Máiréad and Tim lived for years in Aran and around the West Coast of Ireland.

The corresponding Guardian obituary on Tim, who has passed away recently at age 85 within two weeks of his loved partner and manager, says of his achievements: ‘His life’s work laid new strata in the cultural history of Ireland.’ It continues:

Robinson was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 2010. His maps of the Aran islands, the Burren and Connemara – places he referred to as the “ABC of earth wonders” – are little miracles of collective assembly, combining topography, language, geology, myth and physics.

Read more of this obit here.

We celebrate these men and the talented women who contributed, enabled, assisted, inspired and managed such creative works.

About BrendO

Musician in Canberra Australia
This entry was posted in Arts & Crafts, History, Notices and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to No one is an island

  1. Phonse Liddle says:

    How true are the words of John Donne in relation to our current global health issue. And as it has been stated many times, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Having grown up in a small country town (not all too different to a village) in the Mallee district of Victoria, I can relate to these words.


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