Shortlisted for the Best Irish Published Book of the Year Award 2013
This book examines many little understood aspects of the Irish Landscape from the last Ice Age until now. Historians, archaeologists, biologists and earth scientists each bring their unique take on how the landscape and the life it supports have been crafted by natural and human events. Some of the great enigmas of the past are now being unravelled, and this book gives a fascinating and fresh glimpse of how Ireland's unique and stunning ecosystem has evolved.
The latest scientific theories, techniques and methods are used to bring readers up-to-date on each of these remarkable stories. Unravelling this history, as revealed through the chapters of this book, uses a wide array of evidence and clues, some ingenious; to build an amazing history that is part of all our pasts. The endeavours of humans whether in politics, art or territorial ambition are every bit as important as great ice-sheets, climatic catastrophes and even microscopic plant diseases in shaping and understanding this landscape of ours.
The book also celebrates the pioneering work of Robert Lloyd Praeger. In 1895 Praeger began a pilgrimage across Ireland that was to last five years. His aim was to chart the distribution of all plants across the country. His observations of the landscape and its people became a classic of Irish travel writing in The Way That I Went. Praeger pondered the question of where the flora of Ireland come from, and conducted some of the greatest investigations into these matters with the Clare Island survey which was completed in 1913 – this being its centenary year. Inspired by Praeger, modern experts are unravelling these stories using new techniques and methods, and bring together their recent findings to unravel the remarkable secrets of the Irish landscape.