Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara and Other Writings
By: Tim Robinson
‘Potent and original.’ – The Irish Times
‘Robinson’s prose speaks more powerfully than a camera … captivating and totally rewarding.’ – SUC Bulletin
In these fourteen related works we witness a great writer, artist and cartographer united with his subject, conveying the vivid experiences of a quarter-century of exploring and mapping the Aran Islands, the Burren and Connemara.
‘Islands and Images’ describes the Aran Islands themselves; ‘Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara’, the title-essay, elevates the map-maker’s craft into art; ‘The View from Errisbeg’ integrates the landscapes of Galway Bay, the Burren and Connemara by way of topography, botany and geology; ‘Space, Time and Connemara’, centrepiece to the collection, surveys the archaeology and human geography of the West, its settlement patterns, families, dispersals and privations, its missioners and the modern tide of tourism and mariculture; ‘A Connemara Fractal’ is a fascinating autobiographical digression through Cambridge and the convergences of mathematics, geometry and geology, towards landscape-theory and the Book of Connemara as yet unwritten; ‘Place/Person/Book’ introduces Synge’s masterwork, The Aran Islands; ‘Listening to the Landscape’ takes for its theme the Irish language and placenames as an emanation of the land; ‘Four Threads’ connects four archetypal figures – smuggler, rebel priest, land-agent and wandering rhymer – to their histories in nineteenth century Connemara.
Other texts rehearse the potencies of discovery, botanical (Erica mackaiana in Roundstone), archaeological (a Bronze Age quartz alignment in Gleninagh) and personal. Some are anecdotal, some meditative; each is individually conceived as a work of literature. Tim Robinson has been stepping into spacetime since 1972, mapping the unknown by way of the known. With Setting Foot on the Shore of Connemara he captures the numinous in a net of words and images, and creates his own illuminated manual of memory.
‘Belongs in every cultivated Irish home.’- Michael Viney, The Irish Times
‘In these glittering essays he is by turn historian, archaeologist, geographer, cartographer, botanist and, above all, a ravishing storyteller.’- Penny Perrick, The Times
TIM ROBINSON, map-maker and writer, was born in England in 1935. He studied mathematics at Cambridge and worked as a teacher and artist in Istanbul, Vienna and London. In 1972 he moved to the West of Ireland and began writing and making maps. He now lives in Roundstone, Connemara, where he runs the Folding Landscapes studio with his wife.