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A traditional doll from the Aran Islands

Doll from Aran Islands

This beautiful little doll comes from Inisheer on the Aran Islands. In 1939 it was handed into the folklore collections of the National Museum of Ireland, where it is now stored in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Simply made, the body of the doll is fashioned from a single piece of timber, most likely driftwood, that was roughly shaped. Eyes are provided by two iron tacks/nails, which are hammered into the ‘face’. The doll is dressed  in a colourful woollen head-scarf, shawl and felt dress that mirrors Aran Island clothing of the 1930s (see image below). Although rudimentary in nature, it is not hard to imagine how this small doll was once a much loved toy.

doll folklore

 

Irish doll

 

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Aran islanders

Aran Island girls from the 1930s, wearing similar clothes to the doll (source)


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3 Responses to A traditional doll from the Aran Islands

  1. Anna Kana August 17, 2016 at 12:28 am #

    That is one very nice stick isn’t it?

  2. Patricia Murray January 30, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    Bright and cheerful and indeed twould be a delight to a small child who likely would not have had many toys. I wAs surprised at the green and yellow colours, thinking of Aran clothing for women as being red skirts with black stripe parallel to the hem, and a black shawl. If the doll had yellow and green then those coloured wools must have been around. as a child visiting my gran in Dublin, I sat on the footpath with other little girls learning the crochet stitches that are green and yellow here.

  3. Tamhlacht June 6, 2017 at 7:30 am #

    When my mother visited Inis Meadhan in 1930s the girls her age had very expensive (cashmere, I think) shawls, which were the equivalent of a wedding dress in expenditure. She was astonished at the price, and they said you bought one for a lifetime.

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