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Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape


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F.H.A. Aalen is Emeritus Professor of Geography at Trinity College Dublin, Kevin Whelan is Director of the Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre in Dublin and Matthew Stout is a lecturer in the Department of History, St Patrick's College


This second edition of the Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape is much more than a reprint of the 1997 original. The editors explain that the text has been revamped and expanded (including five new case studies) and that more than 500 maps and photos have been added. The results are spectacular. There is extraordinary detail within these pages and readers will learn everything they could ever hope to know about the impact of nine millennia of human activity on the Irish landscape: a landscape that reveals the process of 'history in slow motion'. The Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape provides excellent overviews: from the forts and tombs of ancient Ireland, through the bustling ecclesiastical landscape of the medieval era, to the tribulations and triumphs of the modern age (British colonialism, famine and, in recent memory the island's economic boom times). The books greatest joy is that, while scholarly, it's highly readable and very pretty. The maps and pictures are wonderful and the sections that deal with specific phenomena (fields and forests, housing and mines, transport routes, energy supplies and much besides are exemplary. Ireland is changing, not least because the population is now far more urbanised than anyone could have predicted a century ago. But, as this book demonstrates wonderfully, its landscape has been in flux for thousands of years. This is one of the most accessible and engaging books you're ever likely to read about Ireland, which isn't something that can often be said of an atlas-Geographical Magazine Superlatives are inadequate to describe this magnificent Atlas. I cannot do it justice; you must see it yourself to appreciate it properly. Give yourself plenty of time to savor it, because each new page is an entrancing treasure trove, and you will want to linger over each and every one. - The volume celebrates the glory and the beauty of the entire island, both north and south. John Fraser Hart, American geographer. This is a sumptuous celebration of the 'cultural landscape' of Ireland - the countryside complete with towns and farms, shaped over thousands of years. But once the history moves into the present, the book becomes quite fierce - an atlas indeed, with attitude. Michael Viney Irish Times. This book saved my life. Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, poet This is a remarkable work, and there cannot be a national community of historians or environmentalists anywhere else in the world that will not envy the Irish achievement. Richard Muir, British landscape historian. Given its organisation, the sheer quality of the work of its contributors, and the fabulous scholarship behind its many charts, maps and graphs, this volume goes above and beyond either a collection of scholarly essays or an atlas. It is gorgeous, multi-disciplinary, enlightening, easy to use, up-to-date, and conscious of the richness of Ireland's national and cultural landscapes and their political implications. [Citation, American Conference for Irish Studies Prize for the best book in history or the social sciences, 1998] We express our very high estimation of the Atlas in terms of its content and presentation. This award is made to a publication on an Irish topic which makes a significant contribution to improving knowledge, understanding or practice in the areas of planning, land use or the built and the natural environment [Citation from the Royal Town Planning Institute, Irish Branch, making the Manning Robertson Award in 1999]. There is more to this atlas than maps. Photographs, plans, diagrams, paintings, and tables are all marshaled to empower the visual display and analysis of Ireland's landscape. These are accompanied by excellent scholarly texts produced by twenty-one contributors from such diverse, yet complementary, fields as geography, environmental science, archaeology, palaeobotany, history, architecture, and landscape ecology. Ortelius and Mercator would be impressed by the way their initial exercise in information management has been turned into such a powerful analytical device. Brian Osborne Material History Review I am excited by the prospect of a new edition of this splendid Atlas, which is a marvellous creation. Henry Glassie, American folklorist.

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