Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara & Other: Writings
by Tim Robinson
Masterful essays about nature, geography, and life in the mysterious and unique lands of western Ireland Tim Robinson is one of Ireland's finest ... Show synopsis Masterful essays about nature, geography, and life in the mysterious and unique lands of western Ireland Tim Robinson is one of Ireland's finest natural history writers. His magisterial two volume work, Stones of Aran, has been called the best non-fiction writing to come out of Ireland in the last quarter century -- a "revelation of total environment" (Irish Times), "truly exquisite" (Irish Press), a "rich and great book" (George MacKay Brown), and a "wonderful achievement" (Seamus Deane). This collection of essays is a perfect introduction to Robinson's work, an exquisite blend of various disciplines and a pleasurable reading experience. Since the early '70s Robinson has been stepping into spacetime, mapping the unknown by way of the known. He captures the numinous in a net of words and images, and creates his own illuminated manual of memory. In these fourteen related pieces we witness a great writer, artist, and cartographer united with his subject, conveying the vivid experiences of exploring and mapping some of Ireland's most fascinating places -- the Aran Islands, the Burren, and Connemara. The title essay elevates the map-maker's craft into art. "The View from Errisberg" integrates landscapes by way of topography, botany, and geology. "Space, Time, and Connemara" is a dazzling survey of the archaeology and human geography of the West, while "A Connemara Fractal" is a fascinating autobiographical excursion through Cambridge and the consequences of mathematics, geometry, and geology, towards landscape theory. Other essays rehearse the potencies of discovery: botanical, archaeological, and personal. Some are anecdotal, some meditative; each is individually conceived as a workof literature. Robinson's manner of work has been described as an encyclopedia with soul, a skillfully organized mass of information enriched by a poetic touch. Or, as Robinson himself describes it: "Education, vocabulary, information, even wit, imagination, sensibility -- these are teeth tensed to snap together, pressing out too-ready formulations; the mind aches with the stress of holding them apart, preserving the space in which words can think themselves into shape".