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Peig likened to Joyce in Museum of Literature exhibition


Peig Sayers, on the Blasket Islands, Photo from Ionad na Bhlascaoid collection

Peig Sayers, on the Blasket Islands, Photo from Ionad na Bhlascaoid collection

Peig Sayers, on the Blasket Islands, Photo from Ionad na Bhlascaoid collection


Peig Sayers and literary giant James Joyce share an exceptional mastery of language, a vivid imagination and an irrepressible creative urge, according to the Museum of Literature which opened an exhibition on the Blasket Island storyteller last week.

The two internationally recognised figures were literary contemporaries, although based in entirely different circumstances. Joyce was the toast of the café society and artistic gatherings in European cities, while Peig seldom left her adopted island home, although scholars travelled hundreds of miles to record her stories.

The exhibition, entitled ‘Into the Island’, is the first of its kind in the Museum of Literature and comprises a collection of archive material from the folklore collection, manuscripts from scholar Robin Flower, personal items from Peig’s life, and an audio visual display.

The exhibition aims “to give Peig the recognition that she deserves,” according to Anthony Nolan of the Museum of Literature. “The exhibition is a nice blend of physical items that people can contemplate on, with a strong audio visual component and a specially made sound track of the island.”

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The exhibition emphasises the importance of the oral tradition in Ireland as a continuous link between ordinary people and their ancestors, their relationship to the natural environment, their beliefs and their observances. The sound track and modern day images of the island were produced by the staff of the Museum of Literature during visits to the Great Blasket Island.

The Museum of Literature, located in the historic UCD Newman House on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, recognises and celebrates Ireland’s rich literary heritage from past to present day.

The exhibition will be on display until the end of the year and the entrance fee for this and the other exhibitions is €10. Students children and Pensioners can avail of a reduced rate and free entry early on Wednesday morning. For more details on concession prices consult the website