THE first words of James Joyce’s masterpiece, Ulysses: “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.”
It is among the most famous opening lines of any novel, perhaps challenged by Charles Dickens’s, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, from A Tale of Two Cities, or “Call me Ishmael”, from Hermann Melville’s Moby Dick. The line provides a weighty connection to this week’s island.
Heather Island, in Tully Lough, very close to Renvyle, in Co Galway, appears as Heath Island on old ordnance survey maps, but over time became known as Heather Island. In Connemara, there are at least four Heather Islands, derived from the Irish ‘fraoch’ and ‘oileán’ and anglicised to Freaghillaun.
It is a revelatory word in defining the predominant vegetation thereabouts, though the Heather Island in this article
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