Nicky Hore | Irish Mountain Log
Selected walks in the uplands and lowlands, from the tried and trusted to some lesser known gems
One of the good things about this book is that the reader or walker quickly learns what type of walk the writer is presenting, all laid out before each route description: easy or moderate level, time (1½ to 4½ hours) and distance, underfoot conditions, any navigational difficulties, if any, is required. A basic map, showing the route, accompanies each walk description.
The routes are generally, but not always, way-marked, but the writer uses his knowledge and experience to formulate his own variations. The majority are looped walks in both upland and lowland areas, with a few linear ones where the obvious route follows a river.
I liked the writer’s storytelling (you may remember his book Wild Stories from the Irish Uplands, reviewed in the Spring 2020 issue of the Log). Every walk has a little tale: every corner of the countryside seems to echo the ancient saints, scholars and soldiers, from Fionn Mac Cumhaill to the Cistercians of Mount Melleray, with a motley bunch of Normans, Jacobites, Elizabethans and others in between. Sometimes he is in the company of locals who add to his own great interest in the history of old castles, abbeys and bridges.
Some of the walks are well known for their beautiful landscapes – Cliffs of Moher Walk, The Hag’s Glen, Slievenamon, The Spink Loop, Slieve Gullion, The Causeway Coast – while others sound like little gems that the writer has unearthed and will, no doubt, prove to be more popular as word spreads walks like Mulranny Loop, Inis Meáin, Dromore Nature Reserve, Ballyhoura Hills, The East Galtees, Mauherslieve, Lough Boora and Slieve Beagh.
The writer also gives credit to the work done in recent years to improve our walking areas, like the Suir Blueway, the High Bog Walkway on Abbeyleix Bog or the only community-run hotel in the country in the Slieve Beagh uplands.
John G ‘Dwyer has been a strong supporter over the years of the need for investment in our uplands as a recreational resource, whether proper car parks and toilets or sustainable pathworks.
A quick look at the map of Ireland at the front of the book shows you where all the fifty walks are. This is when you might think about where you will be doing most of your walking, or think about giving this book to a visitor. As a Tipperary man, the author brings the reader to plenty of nearby places that might otherwise be bypassed, and the Tipperary/Waterford area does have the benefit of lovely mountains and river valleys. He obviously has a love of the Burren and has also included six island walks off the west coast. These two regions in the book, South East and West, have thirty of the walks, the rest split between South West, Midlands/East and North.
This is a welcome book that meets the needs of many walkers who are looking for a half-day outing, maybe as an introduction to hillwalking, walks with lovely scenery and places of interest for the curious.
This book shows that walking in Ireland, with its varied landscape, can be an exciting journey into the country’s varied history.
50 Best Irish Walks by John G. O’Dwyer is available to purchase here.