In Wicklow and West Kerry
by John M. Synge
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A travelogue of rural Ireland at the turn of the 19th Century.
Edmund John Millington Synge (1871-1909) was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore. He was one of the cofounders of the Abbey Theatre. He is best known for the play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots during its opening run at the Abbey theatre. Synge was educated privately at schools in Dublin and Bray and studied piano, flute, violin and counterpoint at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He was a talented student and won a scholarship in counterpoint in 1891 and was graduated with a BA in 1892. His first account of life on the islands was published in the New Ireland Review in 1898 and his book-length journal, The Aran Islands, was completed in 1901 and published in 1907 with illustrations by Jack Butler Yeats. This book is a slow-paced reflection of life on the islands and reflects Synge's belief that beneath the Catholicism of the islanders it was possible to detect a substratum of the older pagan beliefs of their ancestors. He also wrote In Wicklow and West Kerry (1912).