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Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom Paperback – 1 Sep 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Sep 2011
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Ireland; First Edition edition (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844882373
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844882373
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 850,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Simply one of the best non-fiction prose writers currently at work. (Fintan O'Toole Irish Times )

One of the most remarkable non-fiction projects undertaken in English (Robert Macfarlane Spectator )

About the Author

A native of Yorkshire, Tim Robinson moved to the Aran Islands in 1972. He is the author of the two-volume Stones of Aran and ofcollections of essays, and maps of the Aran Islands, the Burren and Connemara. Connemara: Listening to the Wind, published in 2006, won the Irish Book Award for Non-fiction. Connemara: The Last Pool of Darkness followed in 2008. Since 1984 Tim Robinson has lived in Roundstone, Connemara.


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Format: Paperback
The Irish nation owes more to this wonderful Englishman than we could ever repay. This book (part of a trilogy) is quite the most extraordinary of its genre. However, one does need some familiarity with the area called Connemara in Co Galway. It suffers from a poor quality map at the beginning, but a full map is available from Mr Robinson's website. If you plan a slow holiday in Connemara, this book will enhance your experience. How I wish we had a proper honours system in this country so that the writer's labour of love could be recognised and celebrated.
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Format: Paperback
I first visited Connemara in 1970. I cycled from Hampshire in England, through Wales and then on to Killary Harbour. I had seen a black and white recording on BBC2 of an old man in a pub in Leenane, located at the head of Killary. He was singing unaccompanied to the drinkers. They watched in silence, gripped by his lament. I was gripped, too. I've been back many times. I now know that the singer was Seamus Heaney, that the music is known in Gaelic as sean-nos, and that Heaney lies buried on a Connemara shore to the west of Carna. I've run the Connemara Marathon, and have both walked and cycled the area extensively, but I shall never know it as intimately as Tim Robinson. His achievement is extraordinary.

"Connemara, A Little Gaelic Kingdom" is the third of three volumes, although Mr Robinson, whom I have met once briefly, says it should really be the second volume, so that his recommended order is Listening To The Wind (2006), A Little Gaelic Kingdom (2011), and The Last Pool Of Darkness (2008), but the order of the second two books does not matter greatly. However, it is important to start with Listening To The Wind.

The weight of research and knowledge that has gone into these three important books is fairly much unique nowadays, and reminds me powerfully of similar Victorian book projects, but there is nothing old-fashioned or sentimental about these three volumes. If you're going to read the books, it's helpful to prepare yourself by catching a plane to Knock, hiring a car and driving south to acquaint yourself with the dramatic scenery of Connemara. This will help you understand why Tim Robinson decided to write extensively about the land, its stories, people and customs.

I have one or two grumbles, though.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a mystery, just like Connemara. It was hard to tell where fact and fantasy just are separated and just blend into one another just like the uncertainty in where the boundary between land and water in Connemara itself. I like the fact that he adds to the mystery of the place by bringing in geological facts and even mathematics. That is to say, Connemara is actually in a different dimension, and so is this book.

Both this book and Connemara left me confused and wondering and wanting more........
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Robinson is a writer (and mapmaker) like no other. For him a place's people and their stories are equally as valid as its geology, landscape, and documents, giving the reader a quite unearned feeling of deep familiarity. His Connemara trilogy are not guide books, though you can use them to guide yourself in this beautiful corner of Ireland, and they are not histories, though decades from now readers will be grateful he brought his enquiring mind to Connemara - and stayed, for decades. He takes no story and no place for granted; he walks the ground, investigates, records and above all is a tireless and tactful listener. This volume on Irish-speaking south Connemara is not a quick read, and as with the other two of the trilogy, I recommend a good supply of little post-it notes to mark the people, places and their stories that you'll want to refer to again and again. In this volume he uses Irish place names rather than the anglicised ones outsiders are more used to - appropriately, considering the region - and if that makes us work a little harder, fair enough. An important book from one of the great writers of our time: how fortunate we are that he didn't hang up his notebook and cycle clips after his unique books and maps of Aran.
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Format: Paperback
If you have family from Connemara, or an interest in the area, this book is fantastic. His knowledge of the area is unparalleled, and this book is a fantastic mix of the geography and history of the area. I've just started reading it, and can't wait to dive in.

My family comes from the area, and several of my family's villages are mentioned. He accurately captures the landscape, the customs, the stories of the people, and the geography of the area.
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