Walks in the West of Ireland, cycling round the coastline and the Giant's Causeway all covered.
Just received three guidebooks from Dubin-based publisher O'Brien that might be right up your street if you're thinking of heading over to Ireland on either a walking or cycling holiday covering, as they do, walking in the west of Ireland, a bike ride around the coast and the Giant's Causeway.
West of Ireland Walks - Kevin Corcoran
New out on 28 June, West of Ireland Walks includes 14 routes in Clare, Galway and Mayo, some of the most beautiful walking country in Ireland with a brilliant mix of terrain from mountain peaks, through woodland and bogs to sandy beaches and cliffs and the 'strange limestone plateau of the Burren'.
The book's 189 pages and has a nice retro feel thanks to hand-drawn location maps and illustrations by the author who is an expert naturalist. It's always hard to know how well a guidebook works without actually using it on the ground but the route descriptions seem both comprehensive and sprinkled with interesting snippets about the local flora and fauna along with cultural and historical references.
Priced at £8.99 and published on 28 June, 2012.
Around Ireland On A Bike - Paul Benjaminse
Ireland's a legendarily great country to go bike touring and this new guide - due out next month - maps out a serious cycling tour around the coast line with a start point in Belfast and a finish in Dublin. Paul Benjaminse's route may be a tad ambitious, but you can always take a section and focus on that area.
The format's completely different from the walking guide being a ring-bound volume which includes over 64 easy-to-follow - and they do look clear - maps covering the entire route along with advice on where to eat, stay and the locations of local bike repair shops.
There are images too and the book's not so big that it'll become a burden in a cycle pannier. Oddly we can't find anywhere that mentions the distance of the entire route. Not sure if we missed it or it's simply not there, which would be very much in the spirit of Irish cycle touring. Looks good.
Priced at £12.99 and published on 18 July, 2012.
The Giant's Causeway And The North Antrim Coast - Philip Watson
Not completely new, but updated for 2012, the Giant's Causeway guide is a different format again. It does include a number of walks in the area, but the bulk of the book is a nicely illustrated tour of the extraordinary natural feature itself formed from columns of basalt created by the cooling of lava.
There are some cracking historical photos and a huge amount of information about the causeway. OMers will also be interested in the final chapter of coastal walks, obviously including one focussed on the main event itself, but supplemented with four other local options.
Priced at £9.99 and published on 5 July, 2012.
More details about all three books at www.obrien.ie.