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A History of McCrohan(James McCrohan of Texas, U.S.A.)

World-wide home of McCrohan Genealogy

An t-Oileánach / The Islandman
Further ReadingJerry writes "
Tomás O'Crohan's book - An t-Oileánach Tomas O'Crohan was born on the Great Blasket Island in 1856 and died there in 1937, a great master of his native Irish. He shared to the full the perilous life of a primitive community, yet possessed a shrewd and humorous detachment that enabled him to observe and describe the world. His book is a valuable description of a now vanished way of life; his sole purpose in writing it was in his own words, 'to set down the character of the people about me so that some record of us might live after us, for the like of us will never be again'.

The following text is taken from the first page of "An t-Oileánach", translated into the English by Robin Flower"

I was born on St. Thomas's day in the year 1856. I can recall being at my mother's breast, for I was four years old before I was weaned. I am 'the scrapings of the pot', the last of the litter. That's why I was left so long at the breasts. I was a spoilt child, too.

Four sisters I had, and every one of them putting her own titbit into my mouth. They treated me like a young bird in the nest. Maura Donel, Kate Donel, Eileen Donel, and Nora Donel - those were their names. My brother was Pats Donel, and I am Tomás Donel. Maura is living still in this Island, two of them are still alive in America, and Pats isn't dead yet. Kate died after drawing the old-age pension for three months. That was the whole bunch of us. They were all grown when I was a baby, so that it was little wonder that I was spoilt among them all. Nobody expected me at all when I came their way.

My father was a middle-sized man, stout and strong. My mother was a flourishing woman, as tall as a peeler, strong, vigorous, and lively, with bright, shining hair. But when I was at the breast there was little strength in her milk, and besides that I was 'an old cows calf', not easy to rear. For all that, the rascal death carried off many a fine young ruffian and left me to the last. I suppose he didn't think it worth his while to shift me. I was growing stronger all the time and going my own way wherever I wanted, only that they kept an eye on me to see that I didn't go by the sea. I wore a petticoat of undressed wool, and a knitted cap. And the food I got was hens' eggs, lumps of butter, and bits of fish, limpets,and winkles - a bit of everthing going from sea or land.

We live in a cramped little house, roofed with rushes from the hill. Often the hens would nest in the thatch and lay a dozen eggs there. We had a post bed in the corner, and two beds at the bottom of the house. There used to be two cows in the house, the hens and their eggs, an ass, and the rest of us. Our house was reversed: that is, its door faced north - all the others were turned to the south...."
Posted on Friday, 17 August 2001 @ 23:00:09 EDT by Admin

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An t-Oileánach / The Islandman

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O'Crohan family tree (Score: 1)
by Jerry (jerry at on Saturday, 25 August 2001 @ 13:01:53 EDT
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According to McLysaght, the O'Crohans were a branch of the McCrohan family, although no-one is very sure how the name was transformed in this way.

I understand that Tomas had a son called Sean, who continued the literary tradition, and I'd be very interested in any information which would allow us to reconstitute the family tree of Tomas O'Crohan.

Regards to all, Jerry

Re: An t-Oileánach / The Islandman (Score: 1)
by kmc ( on Saturday, 15 September 2001 @ 19:49:29 EDT
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Yes, this book was very interesting! My favorite part was about the seal family killing in the caves, off the coast. And the funny stories about Thomas' good pal Pat's Mickey "the king" There's a heavy feeling of melancholy in is his writng . And at the same time an inner strength and a resolve of God's will working in his life.!! kmc

Re: An t-Oileánach / The Islandman (Score: 1)
by Eileen on Friday, 22 December 2006 @ 18:32:04 EST
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In October 2006 I discovered a woman named Irene Lucchitti (Wollongong, Australia) who gained a PhD with her thesis "Islandman Translated: Tomas O'Crohan, Autobiography and the Politics of Culture'

I rang her and arranged to meet two days later. She is a delightful woman, a teacher and mother of four. I asked her why she chose my Great grandfather to do a thesis on. She said that the thesis was actually on the politics surrounding the literature from the Blaskets.

Naturally I asked her how she even knew there was any literature from the island. She explained that when on holidays in Ireland, many years prior, she picked up 'The Islandman' in a souvenir shop. She thought it was fiction (for the tourist trade). She read the book and when she returned to Australia, put it away and there it remained until her youngest child had finished his school studies.

Then she picked up the book and started..........

Irene spent over 6 years researching, (including six trips to Ireland) to attempt to gain an insight on various aspects of her chosen field. She met a number of people who thought she should speak to this person and that. Others said she would not be successful since a lot was lost in the translation into english. Next came two years of gaelic studies, just to grasp the language.

On Irene's first trip to Kerry she concentrated on documents uncovered in the Blasket visitors centre and articles that had been written by various people regarding the literature. A number of people indicated that all aspects had been covered and that she shouldn't waste any more time on it.

Although she was a little shaken by this attitude, she realised that perhaps an outsider was the best person to be objective about the subject. Well I have read 66 pages of the 256 page, beautifully bound (personally autographed) thesis that Irene presented me with at our first meeting and hope to spend Christmas reading the rest. I decided that I wanted to read some of the other Blasket books before I read the thesis, to fully appreciate any reference to other writers Irene may make.

Isn't it amazing that a woman born nearly 20 years after the death of the Islandman would say that she feels like his sister and not a day goes by that she doesn't think of him! I think Tomas would have liked Irene Lucchitti very much..........


Eileen de Lapp
Sydney, Australia

N.B.  If you would like to read it also (online) then 'google' search....Tomas O'Crohan's geneology......under University of Wollongong copyright warning (3rd item down). Irene Lucchitti


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