Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A catch-up on Irish walking magazines and books

25th December 2012

Recently, I got the opportunity to survey the current editions of both Walking World Ireland and Irish Mountain Log. The first of these is a magazine that I have featured on here a few times before, while the latter may be new to regular readers of these musings. It is published by Mountaineering Ireland, the Irish answer to the British Mountaineering Council, on a quarterly basis and does feature some articles that catch my eye. Those pertaining to clubs and climbing usually are those over which I skip but others such as an example entry from the perhaps overly grandiosely titled Irish Peaks Guidebook, a West of Ireland hill country photo essay from Adrian Hendroff, an article about a Pyrenean nature walk and others about the spirit of the sorts of special places in which all of us outdoors lovers love to immerse ourselves.

Walking World Ireland puts out its Annual around this time of year and the 2013 one is out now. There is no year planner inserted into the current one as there used to be in years gone by. Lists of walking festivals and organisations still have a place though and there is an index like there often is for these. Interestingly, the usual route articles are excerpts from a series of guides from Collins Press about which I say more later. Usually, we see similar contributions from Dennis, Gill, Tom Hutton, Gareth McCormack and Helen Fairbarn but that’s not the case this time around. Loop Walks also seem not to have a place like they have had in recent issues. Otherwise, it’s all the customary sort of content that you’d expect along with articles looking further afield than Ireland. Still, the differences seen in the Annual make me wonder what is set to come in the first actual issue of 2013.

Collins Press seem to be on their way to become the Cicerone or Frances Lincoln (the latter is particularly appropriate for this comparison since their outdoors publishing only seems to have commenced with their taking on Wainwright’s guides) of Irish walking guide publishing. Like the latter publishing house, they do produce much more than just walking books. Most of these are available as what they call “Limpback” editions, like a hardback but with something of the paperback feel. The range of subjects includes: Carrauntoohil & MacGillycuddy’s Reeks; Connemara & Mayo; Donegal, Sligo & Leitrim; Ireland’s County High Points; Northern Ireland; Scenic Walks in Killarney; Scenic Walks in West Cork; The Burren & the Aran Islands; The Dingle, Iveragh & Beara Peninsulas; Tipperary & Waterford. There is a good range available with the Dublin & Wicklow Mountains being the only stand-out omission, but time may see that addressed yet. The guides seem to be temptingly presented so it might make a good excuse for a visit somewhere for me to try out one of the books for size to see what it opens up for a walker in Ireland’s pleasing hill country; this is but one of the excuses that I should make a reality. Let’s hope that they see success with these and that more get to experience the delights of Irish hill country too.

All of the above are set to be illuminating once I get around to setting aside some time to go further than cursory glances. The Kindle version of the Irish county high points (why not just call them tops?) guide has made it into my possession already and needs more consultation like the aforementioned magazines. After all, it amazes me to see how many Irish counties shared their highest hills with others; Limerick and Tipperary are far from being the only ones (the Munro-class Galtymore is the one that they share). There may be more Irish entries on the trip ideas page here yet.

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