Another Europe

Another Europe: An Atlantic Archipelago
by Meic Llewellyn

Tosta on the road © Jorge Fernandez Mayoral

Tosta on the road © Jorge Fernandez Mayoral

‘On medieval maps of Galicia,’ Manuel told us that afternoon, ‘Ireland was shown just over the horizon, a day’s sail away.’

‘We small cultures were an archipelago then, a hub,’ commented Xabi, ‘not the marginalised appendages of mighty nation states. Basque fishermen, Breton monks, the Welsh in their coracles and the Irish in their curraghs – we were in and out of each other’s ports like neighbours borrowing sugar and sharing gossip. Think of Gráinne Mhaol, trading gold and skins down to A Coruña from Mayo, or the Lords of the Isles, Gaelic speakers, who for centuries controlled the trade of the Atlantic from castles surrounded by sea.’

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