Pilgrimage

Tim Robinson, Author Viking Books $18.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-670-82485-4
An exquisitely detailed portrait of a special landscape, this is a gem-like addition to the travel genre. Robinson, an artist and cartographer, has made prize-winning maps of southwest Ireland and adjacent islands. Describing himself as ``self-appointed resident scientific busybody,'' he walks the coastline of Arainn, largest of the three Aran Islands, clockwise from the western edge, in an exploration of geology, topography, history, language and folklore. Arainn is limestone, and its natural forms are rectilinear. We see storm beaches--mile after mile of huge boulders stripped from the rim of cliffs and moved inland by wind. Robinson recounts hazardous sports once practiced by the natives--birdcatching and fishing from clifftops; he calls our attention to prehistoric sites and to abandoned forts. He takes a side trip by curragh to the Brannock Islands and meditates on the origins of placenames. Arainn's north coast was a center for kelp factories producing iodine and fertilizer in the 19th century; Robinson offers a vivid picture of that period as well. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-011565-9
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