An Inside-Out Magazine
Living (and Publishing) in
When An Charraig Household was first set up on Aran in 1985, we immediately began publishing a newsletter called 'An Charraig'. It was a 32 page A5 booklet typed up on an electric typewriter, pasted alongside artwork, and run off on a Gestetner. This newsletter lasted for eight years and was published twenty times until 1993.
However, by 1990 it had become clear that we were going to have to publish a larger magazine. We were accumulating a lot of really good material which needed to be published but was too long for the small newsletter. For example, we had become friends of Ivan Illich who had given us permission to publish his writings in Ireland and had given us a stack of unpublished articles and lectures. We were also in touch with many of his friends who were producing exciting material on everything from the environment to economics and modern medicine.
We were familiar enough with publishing to know that most magazines do not survive more than a year or two, and that finance is the big problem. Modern glossy magazines survive through selling advertising space as much as through sales. We knew our readership would be relatively small. We also knew that we did not want our magazine to be a platform for consumerism through providing advertising space.
Realistically, the only way to survive was to reduce the cost of producing the magazine to an absolute minimum. We felt we could do all the typing, layout and editorial work ourselves, voluntarily. Printing costs are usually the bugbear, but we saw a way around that. We decided to buy a printing press and learn how to do it ourselves. We felt we could make it if we managed to raise all the money for the equipment in advance, and if we could get a minimum of 500 postal subscriptions.
We did all of this in a very short space of time. Circulating our friends who received our newsletter, we quickly accumulated the necessary money and bought the equipment. These same friends also produced the 500 subscriptions and we were ready to go.
The rest is history, as they say. The magazine was publicly launched on May 1st 1991 by Michael D. Higgins in the Arts Centre, Galway and is now celebrating its tenth year, twenty-eight publications later. The work remains voluntary and this has influenced how frequently it has appeared. While we were building a new home for An Charraig, output was reduced to three or some years only two issues. The demands on our time and energy have increased over time, especially with four children, and we have recently decided to produce only an internet version from now on. We as yet do not know how many issues of this version we will be able to produce in a year.
Circulation has fluctuated between 1300 and 1600 copies over the years, with half of these made up of postal subscriptions and the others being sold in shops and from home. Apart from an EU grant of IR£6,000 in 1998 and an NCDE grant of IR£1,000 in 1999, we have survived on subscriptions, donations, and shareloans.
Below is the editorial to the first issue, February 1st 1991, which sets out what we were, and still are, trying to achieve. The second piece is written by Larry Winslow, an American journalist, who helped us with the first issue.