Local history: Tales from the roads less travelled
Paul Clements – 16th May, 2020
The high places of Ireland hold a seductive power, capturing the imagination of writers and artists with their tales of heroic deeds and enigmatic characters. In Wild Stories from the Irish Uplands (Currach Books, €14.99) John G O’Dwyer sets off on a foot-stepping quest to discover lofty landscape features, illuminating his narrative with significant historical detail interspersed with conversations and his thoughts.
The life and times of outlaws such as William Crotty, Edmund O’Ryan (Éamonn an Chnoic), “Freney the Robber”, and the extraordinary story of Michael Dwyer, a man who took the road less travelled, are chronicled. In one chapter, Fr Uinseann O’Maidin, the librarian at Mount Melleray on the Knockmealdowns in west Waterford who joined the order on August 15th, 1949, explains how he has a mobile phone but has never used it.
A sprightly and insightful book, this is not a walking guide, although it could be used to open the door for those planning ahead to climb Carrauntoohil, Mullaghmore mountain in the Burren, or Slievenamon, which the author compares to “looking like a benevolent grandmother in the Tipperary countryside”.