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  • Early this morning the man of the house came over for me with a four-oared curagh -- that is, a curagh with four rowers and four oars on either side, as each man uses two -- and we set off a little before noon.

    The Aran Islands

  • The ship that Patrick found as he fled his slavery was a curagh, just like the one used by the Irish raiders that had carried him off.

    The Pawprints of History

  • And here is Synge again, in another temper, which came to him on the seas about Inishmaan: "The black curagh working slowly through this world of gray, and the soft hissing of the rain, gave me one of the moods in which we realize with immense distress the short moment we have left us to experience all the wonder and beauty of the world."

    Irish Plays and Playwrights

  • There was Patch after was drowned out of a curagh that turned over.

    Riders to the Sea

  • -- If it's raggy and dirty you are itself, I'm saying, the Almighty God isn't at all like the rich men of Ireland; and, with the power of the water I'm after bringing in a little curagh into Cashla Bay, He'll have pity on you, and put sight into your eyes.

    The Well of the Saints: A Comedy in Three Acts

  • Blasket itself, the height of the mountains round the bay and the sharpness of the rocks making the place singularly different from the sounds about Aran, where I had last travelled in a curagh.

    In Wicklow and West Kerry

  • It was a grey day, with a curious silence on the sea and sky and no sign of life anywhere, except the sail of one curagh -- or niavogue, as they are called here -- that was sailing in from the islands.

    In Wicklow and West Kerry

  • A considerable sea was running in the sound, and when we came out from the shelter of this island, the curagh rolled and vaulted in a way not easy to describe.

    The Aran Islands

  • Two days ago a curagh passed from the south island -- they can go out when we are weather-bound because of a sheltered cove in their island -- it was thought in search of the Doctor.

    The Aran Islands

  • When they were out in the sound a wind came down on them, and the man in the curagh couldn't turn her to meet the waves, because the hooker was pulling her and she began filling up with water.

    The Aran Islands


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  • Unnatural pastiches can be entertaining - A Clockwork Orange, for example - but I can imagine the irritation when it's being passed off as authentic.

    December 13, 2008

  • Many Irish people dislike Synge because they regard the language he uses in his plays as an unnatural pastiche, a gimmick which worked for him in his first play, and which he subsequently milked dry. It bears no relation to the way people actually spoke, making it hard to view the plays as any kind of accurate representation of life in the region.

    The basic charge, and one which I feel is completely accurate, is that he was nothing more than a 'faker of peasant speech'. That audiences were only too willing to lap up the kind of paddywhackery that he peddled doesn't make it any less despicable.

    December 13, 2008

  • I think the more common spelling for this is currach, though the equivalent term coracle is used fairly often as well.

    December 13, 2008

  • "MAURYA (Continues without hearing anything.): There was Sheamus and his father, and his own father again, were lost in a dark night, and not a stick or sign was seen of them when the sun went up. There was Patch after was drowned out of a curagh that turned over. I was sitting here with Bartley, and he a baby, lying on my two knees, and I seen two women, and three women, and four women coming in, and they crossing themselves, and not saying a word. I looked out then, and there were men coming after them, and they holding a thing in the half of a red sail, and water dripping out of it -- it was a dry day, Nora -- and leaving a track to the door."

    - J. M. Synge, 'Riders to the Sea'.

    December 13, 2008