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The Bibliography. Information for books on Irish mountains and hillwalking.
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Airey, Alan Irish Hill Days 1937 >>
Andrews, J. H. Paper Landscape, A 1975 >>
Bardwell, Sandra, Helen Fairbairn & Gareth McCorma Walking in Ireland 1999 >>
Barry Dalby The Wicklow Way (Map Guide) 1993 >>
Booth, Frank The Independent Walker's Guide to Ireland 1999 >>
Boydell, Herman & McCarthy Walk Guide: East of Ireland 1991 >>
Boyle, Ken & Orla Bourke Wicklow Way, The 1990 >>
Butterfield, Irvine High Mountains of Britain and Ireland, The 1986 >>
Clements, E. D. The Hewitts and Marilyns of Ireland 1997 >>
Clements, Paul Height of Nonsense, The 2005 >>
Coleman, J. C. Mountains of Killarney, The 1948 >>
Corcoran, Kevin Kerry Walks 1992 >>
Corcoran, Kevin West Cork Walks 1991 >>
Corcoran, Kevin West of Ireland Walks 1997 >>
Dalby, Barry The Wicklow Way Map Guide 1993 >>
Davey, Bernard Bernard Davey's Mourne 1999 >>
Davey, Bernard BERNARD DAVEY'S MOURNES 1999 >>
de Courcy, John W. "Mountains and Summits shown on maps before AD 1700" (articl 2005 >>
Dillon, Paddy Mountains of Ireland, The 1992 >>
Dillon, Paddy Complete Ulster Way Walks, The 1999 >>
Dillon, Paddy Ulster Way, The 199? >>
Dillon, Paddy Exploring the South of Ireland 1998 >>
Dillon, Paddy Connemara 2001 >>
EastWest Mapping Wicklow Way Walks 1998 >>
Fairbairn, Helen Northern Ireland: A Walking Guide 2006 >>
Fairbairn, Helen Ireland's Best Walks - A Walking Guide 2014 >>
Fairbairn, Helen Ireland's Adventure Bucket List, Great Outdoor Experiences 2018 >>
Fewer, Michael Wicklow Way, The 1998 >>
Flanagan, David & Creagh, Richard Exploring Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way 2016 >>
Flowerdew, Michael, P.J. McKeever & J.D. Smyth Explore Series Unkn >>
 
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Clements, Paul Height of Nonsense, The
 
Publisher: Collins Press Published: 2005 Last revision: 2005 Added by simon3
The book (396pp, paperback size) describes a trip to each of the 28 county summits in Ireland all but 7 of which are over 500m and included in MountainViews. Each trip includes a wealth of often funny road-stories. Notably the book includes a most extensive and relevant bibliography with 75 books listed and an index of 8pp.
murphysw
2011-02-06 18:46
The Height of Nonsense is the story of the road trip of BBC journalist Paul Clements, who undertook to scale the highest point in every county in Ireland. Clements, a Belfast man, begins his journey with Errigal in Donegal before finishing with Slieve Donard in Down. The book is not a technical mountaineer’s manual on how to attain each peak. Indeed, Clements spends very little time discussing routes to the summits, rather he tries to immerse himself in local culture and folklore. The result is a well written, colourful, and humorous book that brings to life the inhabitants and culture of the 28 mountain regions described in the book. As mentioned, Clements is not concerned with breaking new ground on exploring routes up each mountain. Indeed he got a lift to the top of Mullaghclogha in Tyrone on the back of a local farmer’s quad bike, and only bothers to climb Kippure when the gate on the mountain road is open!!! This is in contrast with Pat Lynch (with whom Clements climbs Carrauntoohil in the book), whose account of scaling the highest point in each county contains a number of puritanical self imposed rules, which include making sure each point was part of a long route, etc. This account can be found floating around the Net. Back to Clements’ book though, and what emerges as especially noteworthy is the detail in each account of each mountain. This even includes the likes of little Cupidstown Hill in Kildare, and how it got its name, and the indecision amongst Monaghan people as to what the highest point in their county is. Indeed Clements sets out on his trip not knowing what certain county high points are, and his efforts to find out are especially interesting. Although the author seems to have greatly enjoyed himself interacting with the locals, he can be acerbic enough if he sees fit. Longford comes in for a terrible roasting, and come out of the book in a very bad light indeed! It seems the locals were quite unfriendly and Clements isn’t impressed. The local’s indifference to ‘their’ mountains can also be quite funny when this occurs, such as the time when Clements was looking for directions to Mullaghmeen in Westmeath, and a couple of local lads thought he was looking for a hardware store! Speaking of Westmeath, this county also highlighted Clements’ insatiable curiosity, which is another factor which draws the reader in. While there he found a townland called Crazy Corner, and just felt he had to visit it to see what it was all about, and comes away with knowledge perhaps only the inquisitive tourist can glean! I could go on with more examples, but suffice to say, his stories are legion. Although the book should be read cover to cover, it also serves as an excellent reference volume, to be dipped into as your needs demand. Finally his book does raise one important question that needs to be resolved. On most county high point lists, Leitrim shares its high point with Sligo, and Tyrone with Derry (Truskmore and Sawel respectively). Yet Clements states that Mullaghclogha is the high point of Tyrone and Slieve Anierin is the highest point in Leitrim. I asked a chap I know from Leitrim about this, and he says the Slieve is the high point. Wonder who is right? In summary then, this is as entertaining a travel book as you could hope to find, and like me, will find it hard to put down!    
simon3
2005-06-22 08:10
Paul Clement's book is a report of a glorious romp around Ireland in 2002, ostensibly to climb the county summits, but actually to explore much else.
Hillwalkers will find great background information -- did you know that the block hut on Brandon Hill, mentioned elsewhere in this site, housed a generator powering lights on the largish cross on the summit? or that the small lakes on the northern side of the Galtees contain Arctic Char left there by the ice age?
But Paul Clements records much more of his travels than such snippets. There's an eclectic mix of local gossip and happenings, research in county libraries, botany and maxims taken from sugar packets. He maintains a light touch though throws in occasional classical allusions - where a hen party leader becomes Coryphaeus. He even manages a bit of self-parody (I think ?) by recounting an overheard travel report of a trip to Eqypt.
Often we rush to mountain areas, focussing on visiting summits and finding interesting routes. Paul's more leisurely style shows us, perhaps, the value of poking around and the wealth of fine conversation to be had for free. Read it for his deadpan account of a marriage near Galtymore conducted by high priestess Olivia 'In the name of Isis I tie the eternal knot between you' - (followed by a 'magical summer solstice journey') - oh you couldn't make this up. If only we had half the time Paul took to follow up or find such experience, but then we mostly work in the name of much more material things than Isis.
Niggles? Keeper Hill isn't over 200 miles south of Cuilcagh. It's 164km (Or 102 miles in the old money the author seems glued to) In practice access to Lug (p 276) isn't closed due to Army activities since it can be reached readily from various starting points such as the Ow Valley or Baravore. And the 2 gallons of petrol is 9 litres not 20, though either would have burnt down Woodstock House.
Heading for "Mighty Trostan" perhaps the author anticipated nigglers by picking out a billboard saying 'Blessed are those that can tell a mountain from a molehill - Psalm 121'
Anyway, I'd recommend this book whether you have visited these places or plan to in future.
   

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