The Clare Herald’s resident book reviewer, Sally Vince, looks at books about Clare or by a Clare-based author. This time Sally reviews Exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by David Flanagan and Richard Creagh.
‘Exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is essential reading for anyone planning to visit the Atlantic coast of Ireland. Whether looking for ideas for weekend adventures or visiting from abroad you will find everything you need within this guide.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500km touring route that travels the full length of the west coast of Ireland, taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. This book’s focus is on the outdoors – on getting out into the fresh air, the wind, the sun and the rain – and experiencing the incredible natural beauty found everywhere along the coast. It is full of spectacular photos, helpful maps and detailed information on the west coast’s best sights, from the most famous landmarks to the hidden gems on this awe inspiring route’.
David Flanagan is a climber, writer and freelance journalist from Dublin and Richard Creagh is a photographer and writer from Cork. Together they have produced this travel guide to the west coast of Ireland, a 224-page book (approx. 17 × 21 cm and weighing 500g) looking at the route of the Wild Atlantic Way. It is very well written with superb photographs (most of them by Richard).
Although the text is largely factual, it is eminently readable while sitting in front of the fire on a winter’s night. By the time you have finished it you will be itching to plan your itinerary. Although the guide is clearly aimed at people who enjoy outdoor activities (from gentle walks to rock climbing and kayaking), there is a wealth of information for all kinds of traveller. The first 31 pages pack in a huge amount of general information, from how to navigate the route, when best to visit, and “essential experiences”, to what activities are available, what food can be foraged and what wildlife you can hope to see.
The rest of the book is in sections for each county (or two), from south to north: Cork (26 pages), Kerry (32 pages), Clare (22 pages, including 29 gorgeous photos), Galway (28 pages), Mayo (30 pages), Sligo and Leitrim (12 pages), and Donegal (34 pages). Within the sections, there are simple but clear and effective maps showing the main towns and villages and the route to take between them, with information on where to stop, sights to see and activities to consider.
Longitude and latitude coordinates are given for places of interest so you can enter them into a satnav or map website on your phone to get help with directions and distances. Three Rock Books provides a file on their website containing all the locations, which you can download to your phone to save typing them in.
Throughout the book there are suggestions for hostels, bike rental, surf schools, guided walks and so on, with many website addresses for finding out more. I’m quite in awe at how much information is contained in this guide.
I was in Kilbaha Gallery café at the weekend and a copy of this book had been left on a table by the shop. A cyclist idly picked it up and became completely engrossed in it, not putting it down the whole time I was there – quite an endorsement, I think.
I’d recommend this guide for people planning on travelling all or part of the Wild Atlantic Way, those who want to explore their own county, or anyone who needs reminding just how beautiful our coastline is and how much there is to do here.