An Íoslainn Íon / Pure Iceland

irish language column Lois Elsden

An Íoslainn Íon

Christy Evans meets Arctic explorer Lois Elsden in Iceland.

Bhuail mé le Lois Elsden le gairid. Rugadh í i gContae Mhaigh Eo, Lois. Is taiscéalaí, scríbhneoir agus Gaeilgeoir í. Is fearr Lois an Íoslainn thar aon tír eile.

Deir sí “Is tír dochreidte í an Íoslainn Íon. Oileán bolcánach is ea í, le géasair agus le toibreacha teo ann” Thug an manach Éireannach Diciúil cuairt ar an Íoslainn in A.C. 825. Scríobh sé faoina radharc ar grian na meán-oíche agus ar na saighneáin.

Tá go leor rudaí le déanamh san Íoslainn inniu – ag faire ar mhíolta móra, coisíocht, gailf, marcaíocht agus iarscaireacht. Príomhchathair na hÍoslainne is ea Reykjavík, cathair mheidhreach agus beomhar. Tá tithe tábhairne faiseanta ann, mar shampla ‘The Dubliners’ agus ‘The Celtic Crown’.

Deir Lois “Friothálann an bhialann Perlan bia na tíre – hakarl (liamhán goirt), svith (feoil chin caorach) agus feoil míolta móra”. Chuaigh Lois agus mise go dtí oighearshruth ag Sólheimajókull. Is breá linn a bheith ag siúlóid ann. Is iontach go deo í Skógafoss chun dul ar chuairt ann. Is áit cianda, fhiáin agus ionspioráideach í.

irish language column Lois Elsden

Chuaigh muid ar ais go Reykjavík tar éis sin. Is duine cróga agus cairdiúil í, Lois Elsden. Deir sí “Is áit álainn í, an Íoslainn. Misneach – beidh fáilte ‘s fiche romhaibh!”

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irish language column Lois Elsden

I had the pleasure of meeting Lois Elsden in Iceland recently. Lois, from County Mayo, is an explorer, writer and Irish speaker.

She shares my love of the Arctic and of Iceland “This place is incredible. Iceland has 130 volcanoes, plus geysers and hot springs”, explains Lois. The first known Irish visitor to Iceland was the monk Diciúil, in 825 A.D. He wrote at length about the Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights.

These days, Irish visitors to Iceland can enjoy whale-watching, hiking, golf, horse-riding and fishing. Reykjavík is the lively, colourful capital of Iceland. It has a busy nightlife and friendly bars such as ‘The Dubliners’ and ‘The Celtic Crown’.

Lois also recommends the local cuisine. She says “The Perlan Restaurant serves such Icelandic delicacies as pickled shark, Sheep’s cheeks, prairie oysters and all kinds of seafood”. After a while, the call of the wild drew us to the glacier at Sólheimajókull. Walking with crampons and the correct equipment makes a glacier hike generally safe and fairly easy. Close to the glacier is the Skógafoss waterfall. This is wild Iceland at its best.

Later, back in Reykjavik, I discussed Lois’ adventures and her next book, which will have an Icelandic theme. She thoroughly recommends a holiday “Iceland has a rugged beauty. Be brave, pay a visit – you’ll be very welcome!”

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