Our ancestors developed a uniquely nature-focused society, centred on esteemed poets, seers, monks, healers and wise women who were deeply connected to the land. They used this connection to the cycles of the natural world – from which we are increasingly dissociated – as an animating force in their lives.
In this illuminating new book, Manchán Magan sets out on a journey, through bogs, across rivers and over mountains, to trace these ancestor’s footsteps. He uncovers the ancient myths that have shaped our national identity and are embedded in the strata of land that have endured through millennia – from ice ages through to famines and floods.
Here, the River Shannon is a goddess, and trees and their life-sustaining root systems are hallowed. See the world in a new light in this magical exploration into the life-sustaining wisdom of what lies beneath us.
‘We could do with a lot more characters like [Manchán] dotted about this world.’ Irish Independent
‘Manchán creates a gorgeous tapestry that lingers in the mind’s eye.’ Kerri Ní Dochartaigh
‘Manchán[’s] … got some theories about the roots of the Irish language that are going to blow your head off … an incredible storyteller.' Blindboy Boatclub
Manchán’s passion for Ireland’s ecological and poetic heritage is more urgently relevant than ever.’ Darach Ó Séaghdha
Manchán Magan is a writer and documentary-maker. His most recent book Thirty-Two Words for Field was a runaway bestseller. It inspired a picture book for children, Tree Dogs, Banshee Fingers and Other Irish Words for Nature, with illustrator Steve Doogan, which was also a bestseller. Manchán writes occasionally for The Irish Times and presents The Almanac of Ireland podcast for RTÉ Radio 1.