20.6 x 22.1 cm 335 pp. 80 colour and 220 b/w illus. 1994
'The Book of Aran is a handsomely produced and generously illustrated update on Aran as seen by the multi-faceted eye of scholarship." Irish Times
'The Book of Aran has managed to convey some of the magic, isolation and cultural richness that island communities often have.' Irish Press
'The book is beautifully produced and the text achieves that happy state of being scholarly while eminently readable. The selection of pictures is superb. At the very least, the book is a minor publishing triumph. Don't even contemplate going to Aran without it." Evening Press
Over the centuries many people have felt the attraction of the landscape of the Aran Islands, with its impressive monuments that go back thousands of years, its distinctive culture that offers glimpses of a rich and distinctive pattern of life and a people whose island isolation forged a sense of independence and endurance. The Book of Aran is the first publication to deal with all the many different aspects of the three islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, including the natural environment, archaeology and history and the cultural heritage of the islands. It is aimed at the general reader who wants to gain a deeper understanding of one of the most intriguing landscapes in Europe.
Contributors: John Feehan, Cilian Roden, Michael O'Connell, Gordon D'Arcy, J.W. O'Connell, John Waddell, Paul Walsh, John de Courcy Ireland, Anne O'Dowd, Dara Ó Conoala, Pádraigín Clancy, Lelia Doolan, James Duran, Anne Korff, Joe McMahon, Patrick F. Sheeran and Pádraig Standún.
15.5 x 23.0 cm, 64 pp. 82 colour illustrations & photographs 2006
Subject: Natural and Social History
The Burren and the Aran Islands have some of the most distinctive stone walls to be found anywhere. Visitors are invariably intrigued while locals, having lived with them for generations, pass little comment. The walls, in their use of local stone and economical design, nevertheless stand as linear monuments to local skill and hard won endeavour. This book deals with their social history, from the earliest prehistoric examples to the most modern, indicating how different styles may be attributed to specific periods of construction.
Celebrating the aesthetic qualities of the Burren wall in photographs, illustrations and quotations, this book also informs about natural history, presenting the wall as a habitat for myriad flora and fauna.
Gordon D'Arcy is a naturalist, environmental educator and artist. He has published several books including the Natural History of the Burren (Immel, 1992) and contributed chapters to The Book of the Burren (Tir Eolas, 1991 & 2001) and the Book of Aran (Tir Eolas, 1994).
This book, the culmination of many years spent investigating this remarkable limestone land, is replete with his photographs and illustrations. He lives with his wife Esther-Mary in south Galway, a few miles from the edge of the Burren.
18.5 x 23.5 cm, 120 pp. 94 b&w photographs
A record, in image and word, of a coastal community's social and economic life, its traditions and the changes it has experienced since the late 19th century. The volume includes photographs taken between the 1890s and the 1960s which offer glimpses into an era when Kinvara was a busy port and market town, yet working and living at a slower pace – that of horse carts, sailing boats and manual labour. The explanatory captions which accompany the photographs contain details on folklore, traditions and local history. Quotes and anecdotes capture the wit and humour of the Kinvara people. The book's introduction places the town's development in a wider historical context.
'This book is first rate and recommended to all, even those who have never heard of Kinvara. A unique selection of historical photographs and a splendid compilation of locally sourced information. The photographs, spanning the period 1880 to 1960, reflect the lives of Kinvara's people before huge social and economic changes produced different moulds, imported patterns, new shadows for the same substance. This is a moving book.' Connacht Tribune
This book is full of information covered by the Kinvara Guide & Map. To go directly for information on the Kinvara Map Click Here
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58.0 cm x 78.5 cm folded to 19.5 cm x 16.0 cm
The Shannon Valley covers the area in the triangle of land between Athlone, Ballinasloe and Portumna and centres on the River Shannon, River Suck and Little Brosna River. The two-sided, folded guide and map combines artwork and text to introduce the main heritage features such as Clonmacnoise and Clonfert but also invites the visitor to explore lesser known sites of historical and environmental interest. The map side is in full colour and depicts bogs, eskers, river floodplains and species of flowers and birds. It also marks places of heritage interest and includes angling locations, marinas and long- distance walking trails that traverse the area. The reverse side of the map contains fifteen pages of text, illustrated by seventeen pencil drawings, to provide information on natural history and heritage, including castles, Napoleonic fortifications and a wealth of ecclesiastical sites. Grid references are used for easy cross-reference between the text, illustrations and the map.
Artwork by Anne Korff, text by Stephen Heery
Format: 17pp. 58.0 cm x 78.5 cm folded to 19.5 cm x 16.0 cm 1998, 22 colour & 27 b&w illustrations.
Loch Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland. Its shores and the surrounding area, north of Galway City, are less well known than neighbouring Connemara or the Burren. Its beautiful scenery and unspoilt environment offer many rewards to the visiting walker or fisherman.More info →
ISBN: 978-1-873821-15-2 2nd edition, paperback
20.6 x 22.0 cm 264 pp. 2001 illus in colour and monochrome
This book's first edition, published in 1991, was part of a growing affirmation of the importance of the Burren, a hymn to its diversity, beauty and singularity.
Ten years later, our contributors describe how the natural heritage of the Burren depends on traditional farming practices and why the impact of booming tourism has not been entirely beneficial. This 2nd edition published in 2001 also updates the natural history and archaeology and includes new chapters on poets and artists in the Burren.
"The Book of the Burren is a guide, a reference book, and, in the loving particularity of its illustrations, a hymn to this corner of Ireland."
Nuala O'Faolain, The Irish Times
19.0 x 15.5 cm.
Women of Ireland, the first comprehensive biographic dictionary of its kind, documents the rich and varied contributions woomen have made to the shaping of Irish history and culture. The book includes biographies of Irish women from earliest times up to the present, many of them ignored by historians until now. With its wealth of information, its accessible style and the attractive selection of illustrations, this reference work will serve general readers as well as students, particuarly those interested in history and women's studies.More info →
Translated and annotated by Padraic de Bhaldraithe
192pp, 22.0 x 16.0 cm, 16 colour plates, 12 newly commissioned etchings by Sabine Springer 2000
First published in Irish in 1938 as Cladaí Chonamara and not previously available in English, The Shores of Connemara is both a naturalist's guide to the seashore and coastal waters of Connemara, Co. Galway and an account of the life of the people who lived there in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Séamas Mac an Iomaire was born in 1891 near Carna in Connemara and wrote about the way of life he knew and the environment in which he grew up. He describes the flora and fauna of the seashore, the living people made from them and the crafts involved, such as kelp making, boat building and fishing. With this English edition a new audience can discover this classic of Irish social and natural history.
'Ribe ribe róibéis, tabhair dom greim ar bharr do shlata bige agus tabharfaidh mé duit arís amárach é.’ (Give me a grip of the top of your little rod, shrimp, and I’ll give it back to you tomorrow.) This was the chant that children recited on the shores of Connemara as they attempted to persuade the rock pool shrimps to desert their crevices and allow themselves to be captured. This is but one of the many customs and practices that linked the people of Connemara to the abundance of sea creatures that surrounded them. The Shores of Connemara presents a wonderful description of marine life, not according to the norms of scientific natural history, but as the people themselves saw it. Séamus Mac an Iomaire combines his own acute observations of nature with the rich maritime traditions and customs of the people of Maínis to produce an informative, uplifting and original account of the sea life of the Irish Atlantic coast. The clarity and charm of his writing, so faithfully translated in this book, will appeal to a wide variety of readers, including naturalists, environmentalists, and social historians, but most of all to anyone fortunate enough to spend time walking and boating along the Connemara coast. The book is greatly enriched by the striking original illustrations of Sabine Springer.
Contents: Foreword – Introduction – Maínis – Fishing – Searching for Bait – Shore Creatures – Sea Fish – Boat Races in Connemara – Material for the Púcán – Kelp Making – Seaweed – List of Names of Invertebrates – List of Names of Fishes – List of Names of Seaweeds – List of Place Names – Index of English Names of Fishes, Invertebrates and Seaweeds – Bibliography.
'Mac an Iomaire's is an original and clear story, a commentary on the social life of a people co-existing with nature and the cycles of the sea.'
'This is one of the most interesting and captivating books about nature ever written in Ireland. Here is a joyful supplement to the solemnities of regular field guides. A major cultural text and also one of the most enjoyable and revelatory books in the whole of Irish writing about nature. The rich illustration includes original etchings of fish by Sabine Springer that rank with the best in marine illustration. The whole book is a labour of love.'
About the author
Séamas Mac an Iomaire was born in 1891 on Maínis, an island off the coast of Connemara. As a boy he learned all the traditional skills of the way of life on the seashore - sailing, fishing, cutting seaweed and similar activities. He also absorbed the heritage of songs, storytelling and folklore of this Irish speaking region. As a youth he was involved with the Irish Republican movement and he was arrested and briefly imprisoned, as were his father and one of his brothers. He began writing while in his teens and his essays and stories were published regularly in the Irish language press. He started to teach Irish through the Gaelic League and worked as a teacher until he emigrated to the USA in 1926. He at first taught Irish for the New York Gaelic Society then worked for a railway company. He worked mostly underground, spending months on end without seeing the light of day and it was then that he contracted TB and was hospitalised.
His friend Seosamh Daibhéid encouraged him to continue writing while in hospital and he began to record what later became Cladaí Chonamara. Seamas wrote (in Irish) "I was in bed when I wrote most of the pieces as I was not allowed to get up. The doctor told me there was no harm in writing three or four pages a day, that is, after having already spent six months on the flat of my back not being allowed stir. I often wrote eight pages a day, although the doctor doesn't know that yet. I got so immersed in such desirable memories that I would forget altogether that I was in a foreign country lying on the flat of my back with TB."
After his recovery Séamas continued to work for the railroad company until his retirement in 1960. He visited his native home from time to time and died in 1967.More info →
7pp, 2 maps 62.0 x 44.3 cm folding to 22.3 x 15.8 cm 42 b&w illustrations 1989
A walking tour of Galway City, including all the features of historical and architectural interest.
"Medieval Galway is one of the most absorbing and attractive documents on Old Galway published for a long time. The first sheet has a present day street map (1:2500 scale) of present day Galway with a comprehensive index pointing out the medieval remains that are left and can be seen from the street. Most of the features are illustrated in fine line drawings. The second sheet shows reproductions of maps of Galway drawn in 1583, 1610 and 1651, each with an explanatory text. This map is a delight, a most enjoyable way to learn about Galway City's history and heritage. It can be used by everyone, schoolchildren, tourists and Old Galway experts." Galway Advertiser.
2 A2 mapsMore info →
1987, 7pp, 34 b&w illustrations. A2 map, folded
Kiltartan Country: The little explored area of South Galway including Coole Park, the home of Lady Gregory, Thoor Ballylee, the home of W. B. Yeats, and the ancient monastic site of Kilmacduagh.
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Ballyvaughan The heart of the Burren and the coast of Galway Bay. 1986, 7pp, 33 b&w illustrations. A2 map
The heart of the area on this map is the village of Ballyvaughan on the South coast of Galway Bay. It has a hotel, guest-house and many B & Bs and is the ideal starting point for exploring the Burren. It is the start of the Burren Way, a waymarked walk on footpaths and small roads, leading over the uplands from Ballyvaughan to the Western edge of the Burren, with spectacular views over the Atlantic, then leading to Doolin village and on to the well known Cliffs of Moher.
There are many old disused roads in this area, called green roads. One of the most rewarding walks on such a road leads around Black Head, the most Northern headland of the Burren. Here the visitor can climb to one of the most impressive structures of Ireland's Celtic past, the stone ring fort of Cathair Dhuin Irghuis, the stronghold of Fergus, a contemporary of Queen Meabh of Connacht. Made out of large blocks of limestone, standing on a high and bare plateau overlooking the open sea and visible from the Aran Islands, it may well have been used for signalling long distances by beacon fires, as well as the seat of a Celtic king. The area covered by this map contains hundreds of ringforts and enclosures which were the homesteads of farmers who lived in them from about 2,000 years ago up to mediaeval times. On the higher ground can be found the stone graves of Ireland's Neolithic people. The portal dolmen at Poulnabrone is a fine example. Another highlight is to visit some of the early medieval churches, of which there are many. A walk in the valley of Oughtmama near Bellharbour leads to three small churches within the remains of a monastic enclosure wall. The terraced gardens and earthen embankments constructed to carry water from a well to a now vanished mill can still be seen. Finally, there is Sancta Maria de Petra Fertilis (Saint Mary of the Fertile Rock) or, as it is more commonly known, Corcomroe Abbey. Built by Cistercian monks in the 12th century it is one of the most impressive sites in the Burren. These are just a few of the destinations awaiting the enthusiastic walker.
The Burren - Kilfenora - The City of the Crosses The South Burren including the ancient religious site of Kilfenora with its seven carved medieval crosses. 1988, 7pp, 27 b&w illustrations. A2 map
The town of Kilfenora lies at the south-west edge of the Burren. It has a long history as an important early monastic settlement and later as a religious centre from the 12-13th centuries. This is shown by the presence of five stone crosses which stand within or near the now ruined cathedral. It is a place to wander around slowly, looking at the beautiful stone carvings, such as the group of monks on the capitals of the 12th century East window in the cathedral, or wondering over the images on the 'Doorty' High Cross, which records the change in status of Kilfenora from a monastery to the centre of a diocese in 1152. 2001 saw the opening of a refurbished and enlarged visitor centre which has excellent displays on the forming of the Burren, its natural history, the lives of the people of the Burren from the first settlers, over 5,000 years ago, to medieval times and the history and folklore of the 19th century. Splendid examples of every type of antiquity can be found within a few miles of the town. Cathair Chonail is a very large and nearly perfect ringfort, close to the road from Kilfenora to Ballyvaughan. Closer to the town lies the small hamlet of Noughaval, 'new habitation or dwelling' in Irish, with its 12th century church. An outdoor altar made up of a simple cross slotted into a horizontal stone slab can be seen in the churchyard and a variety of ringforts and enclosures, wedge tombs and cairns can be explored to the South of the church. Finally, Lemeneagh Castle, about three miles east of Kilfenora, is a wonderfully evocative site with a highly romantic history. It is a five story 15th century tower house, later enlarged to a four story mansion in the 17th century. These are just a few of the places to see around Kilfenora; there are many others to be found by the adventurous traveller.
O'Brien Country The South West Burren including Doolin, Lisdoonvarna and the Cliffs of Moher. 1989, 7pp, 33 b&w illustrations. A2 map
One of the most scenic walks in the Burren is to head South on the green road above Fanore, part of the Burren Way, with superb views out to the open sea, the Aran Islands to the West and the mountains of Connemara to the North.
The area depicted on this map faces the great sweep of the Atlantic and the landscape is the outcome of a long and complex battle between the forces of nature. The constantly eroding waves beat against the unprotected coastline and the results are dramatically evident, from the massive 200 metre high Cliffs of Moher to the extensive sand dunes at Fanore.
From earliest times the sea was a great roadway and the waters off the West Clare coast were the scene of constant boat traffic. It is thought that the first people arrived here by sea. Primitive tools such as stone choppers, hand axes and hammer stones have been found near the village of Doolin, left by the Mesolithic people who lived here between 7000-3500 BC.
Not far to the North is a stone structure, called a court cairn which was a tomb and also the site of prehistoric ritual. Many of the churches along the coast were founded by or dedicated to the saints associated with the Aran Islands. The ruined church at Crumlin is dedicated to St Columba, who arrived there, according to tradition, in a canvas boat called a curragh, similar to those still in use on the islands.
The ferry to the Aran Islands runs from Doolin and the village is world famous for the traditional music played locally. Of the twelve castle shown on this map eight were held, one time or another, by the O'Brien clan, descendants of King Brian Boru and for centuries the most powerful family in the area.
The most impressive is Ballinalackan Castle. Set on a high rocky plateau it is surrounded by a partly intact bawn wall, which has a round-arched gateway. Finally, in the nearby 19th century Ballinalackan House, now a hotel, the weary walker can sit by a fine marble fireplace, carved out of a single slab, and relax over tea or stronger drink.