As I lay there on the grass the clouds lifted from the
Connemara mountains and, for a moment, the green undulating
foreground, backed in the distance by a mass of hills, reminded me
of the country near Rome. Then the dun top-sail of a hooker swept
above the edge of the sandhill and revealed the presence of the sea.
As I moved on a boy and a man came down from the next village to
talk to me, and I found that here, at least, English was imperfectly
understood. When I asked them if there were any trees in the island
they held a hurried consultation in Gaelic, and then the man asked
if 'tree' meant the same thing as 'bush,' for if so there were a few
in sheltered hollows to the east.
They walked on with me to the sound which separates this island from
Inishmaan - the middle island of the group - and showed me the roll
from the Atlantic running up between two walls of cliff.
They told me that several men had stayed on Inishmaan to learn
Irish, and the boy pointed out a line of hovels where they had
lodged running like a belt of straw round the middle of the island.
The place looked hardly fit for habitation.