The Disappearing Island

The story bears similarities to a snippet from the medieval account (traced back to 500 AD) of the ‘Voyage of St Brendan’ later Abbot of Clonfert. Heaney clarified what led to the poem in conversation with DOD (289): I ( ) came to realize that much of what we accepted as natural in our feelings and attitudes was a cultural construction … The second last poem in the book, for example, ‘The Disappearing Island’, is still a form of aisling, a vision poem about Ireland, even though it is an aisling inflected with irony. The story is told of a particular occasion (once) when a group of missionary sailors with the common quest (we) felt they had discovered St Brendan’s […]