“I like this lonely spot better than anywhere in Ireland. The golden mountains of Ireland stretch before me. The sea is dashing itself against the rocks and rushing into the black coves and ravines where the seals live.”
— Peig Sayers, An Old Woman’s Reflections
Ireland is a great literary nation. But written stories, poems and plays are not our only kind of literature – they are the tip of the iceberg. For centuries before literacy was the norm, people created and produced many genres of fiction, poetry and drama. They didn’t write their creations down – they told them.
Peig Sayers (1873-1958) was a contemporary of James Joyce (1882-1941). Like him, she had an exceptional mastery of language, a vivid imagination and an irrepressible creative urge. Sayers could write, but her greatest achievement was as an oral storyteller, in her native Irish language.
She is best known for her autobiography, Peig, a Scéal Féin, first published in 1936 and on the Irish school curriculum from 1962-1995. Peig the book does not give a full picture of Sayers – the greatest storyteller in a community of great storytellers, the Blasket Islands and Dún Chaoin. This exhibition tells that captivating story.