Over 25,000 walkers visit the Carrauntoohil and Macgillycuddy Reeks region annually and for those not familiar with the area a proper guidebook is essential. After many years of research Jim Ryan has considerable background knowledge and experience of these mountains. For this book he has met and photographed the owners of Carrauntoohil and the Reeks and recorded their history and association with the lands. There is a vivid account of the eviction of a family fifty years ago from their home in the Gap of Dunloe, and how they moved into the Black Valley. Also included is a study of the placenames and the folklore behind them. The geology of the mountains, their structure and fault lines, flora and fauna are also detailed. Most critically, the twenty walks, ranging from easy low-level to strenuous routes, are described in detail and illustrated with fifteen specially-commissioned original colour maps, produced by Ordnance Survey Ireland. In addition, there are nearly two hundred colour photographs. The walk descriptions contain detailed instructions for those not familiar with the area. Each walk is assigned a difficulty rating, its difficulties are spelled out, and there are specific safety instructions, survival tips and escape routes.
Jim Ryan is the author of two books, both of them to do with climbing and hillwalking. His book on Aconcagua and the Southern Andes, published by Cicerone Press, is in its second addition, issued in 2009. His guide to Carrauntoohil and the Magillycuddy Reeks, published by The Collins Press in 2007,was received with acclaim by the mountaineering fraternity and is selling well.
Jim's books are set out to be more than mere directions on climbing. His intent is to provide the climber, the hillwalker, or indeed the reader, with interesting background and side information. The geology of how the mountains were formed is outlined, much of this based on Jim's own field studies and geological expertise. Flora and fauna, the people of the mountains, and the history of the area are other subjects that are covered.
A civil engineer by profession, Jim has included in his books the best maps available. He used Ireland's Ordnance Survey Office to produced maps for Carrauntoohil. His map of Aconcagua, first issued in 2004, was the first detailed map of the mountain and was based on his own GPS surveys.