When the playright John Millington Synge visited the island of Inis Meáin his first impression was far from flattering. He described the island which forms one of the three Aran Islands as a “place was hardly fit for habitation” and in a reference to the barren landscape he said “there was no green to be seen”. In spite of this Synge would spend weeks there learning Irish while also cataloguing islanders lives’ in what became a famous book “Connemara and the Aran Islands”. This island life mesmerised Synge in its simpicity and uniqueness. Even in 1898 life on Inis Meáin harked back to a past that had disappeared elsewhere. Remarkably forty years later when my grandfather Eamonn Mac Coisdealbha visited Inis Meáin to practice his Irish he found life there very much the same. He documented Island life through a series of photographs taken in August 1942, recording a society that would vanish in the course of the 20th century.