[Between 1910 and 1930, the scholar Robin Flower went many times to the Blasket Islands off the southwest coast of Ireland in search of the Irish tradition. The islanders spoke only Irish, which Flower learned well. The Blaskets were abandoned for the mainland by the last islanders in 1953. Here, the island's poet Tomás Ó Crithin (1856-1937) is speaking in Irish of his youth while Flower takes down his words.]
"You would hear no word of English in Dingle that time, but Irish only spoken through all the streets and houses. The country was full to the lid of songs and stories, and you would not put a stir out of you from getting up in the morning to lying down at night but you would meet a poet, man or woman, making songs on all that would be happening. It is not now as it was then, but it is like a sea on ebb, and only pools here and there among the rocks. And it is a good thought of us to put down the songs and stories before they are lost from the world forever."
[Flower] At times I would stop him as an unfamiliar word or strange twist of phrase struck across my ear, and he would courteously explain it.... Thus on one occasion the phrase "the treacherous horse that brought destruction on Troy" came into a song.
"And what horse was that?" I said.
It was the horse of wood," he answered, "that was made to be given to the King that was over Troy. They took it with them and brought it into the very middle of the city, and it was lovely to look upon. It was in that city Helen was, she that brought the world to death; every man that used to come with a host seeking her, there would go no man of them safe home without falling because of Helen before the city of Troy. It was said that the whole world would have fallen because of Helen that time if it had not been for the thought this man had, to give the horse of wood to the King. There was an opening in it unknown to all, two men in it, and it full of powder and shot. When the horse was in the midst of the city, and every one of them weary from looking at it, a night of the nights my pair opened the horse and out with them. They brought with them their share of powder and shot. They scattered it here and there through the city in the deep night; they set fire to it and left not a living soul in Troy that wasn't burnt that night."
--Robin Flower (1881-1946) in The Western Island(1944)