By: Brendan Lehane
A Traveller’s Guide
Uncover the rich abundance of Ireland’s wild places, North and South, from the peaks and dips of MacGillicuddy’s Reeks to the tranquil loughs of the upper Shannon. Let the author’s lyrical prose inspire you, then plan your own trips using the accompanying fact-packs.
- RRP: £12.50
- ISBN: 978-1-873329-34-4
- Format: 210 x 149 mm
- Pictures: 50 colour, 45 b/w
- Binding: Paperback
- Extent: 224 pages
- Maps: 7 colour, 14 b/w
- Rights: All available except UK and US
- Edition: 2nd
A Traveller’s Guide
As befits any true scion of the Irish literary tradition, Brendan Lehane spins a good yarn. ‘Places to stay are plentiful but distant,’ he writes of the Sperrin Mountains – a distinct improvement on the 1930s when the naturalist Robert Praeger and a colleague ‘had to share a five-foot bed, both of them over six foot, with their feet sticking out of the window, in the only cottage with rooms to hire. In the morning hens were roosting on their toes’. He has plenty of other tales, drawn from folklore and fact, and an abiding love of the unchanged Irish countryside which informs every paragraph of this witty and readable book. Wild places still exist in abundance in Ireland. As he reveals, you can climb a mountain, bathe in the sea, watch thousands of birds co-existing on off-shore stacks, fish for salmon with a good chance of catching one, and hear the dusk calls of the corncrake at a river’s mouth all in a day. Wild Ireland offers something different from the general run of guide-books. It takes you far beyond Dublin and the other popular tourist destinations such as Cork, Galway and County Kerry, spiriting you away to the remotest sea cliffs, secret valleys and mountain lakes, in Northern Ireland as well as the Republic. If you want to be an armchair traveller, Wild Ireland will entertain and entrance you for hours with vivid narrative and colour photographs. If you like the sound of a place, look in the accompanying fact-pack and you will find everything you need to plan a journey, arrange a fishing holiday, fix up accommodation or work out the stages for a long-distance walk. Specially drawn maps enable you to find all the author’s favourite spots. In this edition the fact-packs have been packed with more facts than ever: more telephone and fax numbers, more contact names and more outdoor activities together with e-mail and web-site addresses, in short everything necessary to bring this popular and successful guide-book fully up to date.
‘Will be enjoyed by everyone who hopes to find unspoiled places off the tourist path.A magical natural history tour, his lyrical style truly lights the way.’
– The Guardian
‘Has history, birds, animals, flowers, mountains, and where to stay – not only along Connemara’s “electroencephalographically ragged coastline”. A holiday in itself.’
– The Observer
‘You are put in the places that are mentioned through a blend of expert storytelling and information.’
– Ann Barr, Harpers & Queen
About the Series
Wild Ireland: An Introduction
THE KEY TO IRELAND’S WILD PLACES
The Shape of the Wild
Map of Ireland Showing Chapter Areas
Protected Wild Places
To the Reader
CHAPTER 1: DONEGAL AND SLIGO
Fanad Head to Rosguill
Slieve League Peninsula
Errigal and the Derryveagh Mountains
Blue Stack Mountains
Glens of Sligo and North Leitrim
CHAPTER 2: THE WEST
Barony of Erris
The Mullet and Islands
Mallaranny and Clew Bay
The Western Way
Partry Mountains and Lough Mask
The Burren Way
CHAPTER 3: KERRY AND CORK
Cape Clear Island
Central County Cork
CHAPTER 4: LAKELAND AND THE CENTRAL PLAIN
Lough Allen and the Iron Mountain
The Cavan Way
Little Brosna River
Lough Derg and the Lower Shannon
CHAPTER 5: THE SOUTH-EAST
Slievefelim and the Silvermine Mountains
Waterford Harbour and River Barrow
South Wexford and the Saltee Islands
CHAPTER 6: WICKLOW AND THE EAST
CHAPTER 7: NORTHERN IRELAND
Glens of Antrim
Brendan Lehane comes from an old Irish family and has lived for long periods in Ireland. He has written, among other books, The Companion Guide to Ireland, Dublin, The Compleat Flea, Natural History, The Power of Plants, a survey of the influence of plants on human life, and The Quest of Three Abbotts, a view of life and spirituality during the golden age of Irish Christianity. He has travelled in Africa, America, the Middle East and continental Europe, and has written articles for the Telegraph Magazine and many other publications.
Before the invention of electric guitars young maidens fell collectively in love with handsome youths who hunted wild boar and formed armies to raid other armies in pursuit of blood feuds, lands, princesses with prospects and so on. No young man was quite so appealing in these and other respects as Fionn Mac Cumhail, or Finn McCool as his name is usually presented in English, doughty warrior and unrivalled hero of the Fenian cycle of legends, giant of the Giant’s Causeway and Fingal of the famous cave on Hebridean Staffa. Finn came from Slievenamon and was here hounded by bevies of desirous young women. The wise King Cormac Mac Art of Tara, whose somewhat cynical remarks about women have come down to us (‘arrogant when called on, lewd when neglected, silly… greedy… hating… tedious’ and so on) devised a plan. All the women who wanted Finn should race up the mountain’s side; Finn would be the winner’s prize. Slievenamon means, in fact, mountain of the women.
It was a place that invited deep speculation. I sat on a rock and wondered what it would be like to be a meat-eating animal stuck to the floor waiting in vain for animals that you wanted and needed to eat to enter your mouth without compulsion. How would it feel to function best submerged in salt water and spend half your time – half of each day – all but out of water, in the air, and much of the rest of your day tantalizingly pummelled and sluiced, as the tide went in and out, by licks of water from which there was no chance of extracting anything to eat at all. This, it seemed from looking at it, was the essential daily cycle of the small beadlet sea anemone (Actinia equina), as it remained in its rock pool assaulted by the flow and ebb of the tide.
This major series covers a subject that has never been fully treated in guide-book form: the great outdoors, the wild places far from home and work, the long walks, mountain fastnesses, woods, moors, sea coasts and remote islands where travellers can still find a refuge from the modern world.
These are literary books written for the armchair traveller by established travel writers. They are passionately committed to conservation, deeply imbued with a sense of place and illustrated with spacious colour photographs of landscapes and views.
They are also practical books with all the detailed travel information you will need to visit places that catch your imagination. Each exploration zone is graded according to its wildness and level of difficulty and is accompanied by its own fact-pack of hard-working guide-book text on where to go, where to stay, what to do and what to avoid, with lists of further reading and specially drawn maps in colour and black and white.
In the country you are surrounded by rocks, plants and animals, so the books carry attractive line drawings and knowledgeable descriptions of the natural world designed to satisfy your interest as it grows.