Wild Nephin by Seán Lysaght

4 out of 5 stars

In the kind of sequel to Eagle Country, Seán Lysaght undertakes many trips into the region around the mountain of Nephin in Mayo. It feels untouched with its wide open areas of rivers and peat bog, but if you know where and how to look, you can see the faint presence of man in the area.

Rather than being there with a particular purpose in mind, he is there to understand the way that the natural world works in this part of Ireland. He is often alone but sometimes is accompanied by friends and his partner as he travels to his favourite parts of the region and discovers new places. He goes looking for his beloved eagles too, on the highlands of the region.

Even though there is a national park there, the whole region is remote. It has a huge variety of habitats, from mires to alpine heath and is populated by otters, badgers and mountain hares. There is an abundance of birds in permanent residence as well as a plethora of summer visitors. It faces the Atlantic Ocean and can be battered by the fierce storms as they roll in over the winter.

I really liked this book for a number of reasons. Lysaght has a gentle way of looking at this part of the world, he is precise in what he spots and writes about, but also takes the time to absorb being there and you feel like you are alongside him on the paths across the landscape. He is curious about almost everything that he comes across and this makes the book much better for it. If you want to read a nature book that is just about the wildness of the place then this is a good place to start.

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  1. Liz Dexter

    Oh, this sounds excellent, a deep dive into a single location.

    • Paul

      Merry Christmas, Liz. It was. Not sure if it is still available even though it was fairly recently printed. His other book, Eagle Country, is going to be easier to get hold of

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