The Island of Horses|
Irish boys visit an island off the Connemara coast and find a black colt
The people of remote Inishrone, a few miles off the Connemara coast, know not to go to the Island of Horses. Everyone has heard tales of men who have gone and never returned, and some people can still hear the thunder of ghostly hooves. Yet one day young Pat Conroy and his friend Danny MacDonagh head off anyway, claiming that they're fishing for eels. There they find something far more valuable - a beautiful black colt that soon lands them in a world of trouble. Now the boys must return to the island, despite rough seas, along with Pat's frail grandmother who knows of a hidden valley and a secret story. The Island of Horses is fraught with suspense and peopled with unforgettable individuals.
|A classic from Ireland, by ponydom on April 11, 2006|
|This book came highly recommended at chinaberry.com and amazon.com as children's literature that is also wonderful for adults - and they're not even looking for horse books. Dillon has been described as the Laura Ingalls Wilder of Ireland, and wrote more than 30 children's books before her death in 1994. There is a recent reissue of this title available now.|
The book is about adventures on the island of horses, and the lure of the horses is key to the plot, but the story has more background and flavor of the sea and Irish islander life than about horses per se. There aren't a lot of details about the horses, particularly when compared to the details of the various boats and sailing them safely in the rough waters, but that is okay - it is still a wonderful book and a slice of life that I haven't often encountered.
There are houses scattered all over the island, but there is only one village. It is called Garavin, which means bad weather. It is not well named, for it is at the sheltered side of the island, where the quay is. There are two shops there and a forge, where you can get a metal rim put on your cart as well as have your horse shod. There is Mike Faherty's public house, where the men of the island come to drink their evening porter, and a post office run by the crankiest women in all Ireland. I do not know whether they are cranky from working in the post office or whether they are picked because they are cranky. Whatever the reason, we have had a saying on Inishrone for the last seventy years: "As cranky as the post office cat."
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