I forgot to mention the Aran Islands of course are probably most famous for their Aran knitting. The cabled knitwear has hundreds of intricate patterns and seeing these reminded me of the cricket vest I knitted for Chee with a cable running up the front. Nowhere near as elaborate as these, but it took me forever to knit and when I proudly presented it to him, and he slipped it over his head it almost went to his scrawny knees. I’d effectively made a men’s size for a ten year old. Embarrassingly also I’d completely unknowingly used the representative colours for the county instead of the teams colours. I think Chee found this altogether too much and so it very quickly got put into the ‘when I grow into it’ draw. I think he fits it now…20 years later but I gave it to his best mate, Nick who joined the ranks of Counties and he could actually wear it. I was proud of ya Nick!
The interesting thing about the Aran knitwear I learned recently is the intricate patterns developed over time told a story and often identified a clans history, so were particular to a family. These being the warmest things the men had to wear out to sea in the harshest of weather fishing. If there was a tragedy, this was also the way they we able to identify a body if it was washed up. Hard times for many families.