All things must pass and so did our time on the Aran Islands. It was farewell in several ways, but foremost in my mind was how the islands had changed over the past nineteen years. When I first visited there was only one car on one of the islands, a taxi that would take one from the east end of Inishmore to the west end if one did not want to take a horse drawn coach. Today the island contains many cars that regularly zoom along the roads, making one step aside on a regular basis.
On one hand, some of what make the islands so attractive has gone away, on another hand it only makes sense to wish to the inhabitants the best of their choices, on a third hand those accustomed to dealing with cars will never know the difference. We may return – there are so many other places to visit – and if so my druthers will be to spend a couple of days on Inishmaan, where despite the changes on the large island, little has changed over the years. The ability to quietly contemplate over the ocean of rocks is certainly what John Millington Synge enjoyed (his house still exists there, though it has been whitewashed), and mindless exploration brings untold benefits, so I would love to pass through one more time.