Drystone Walls of the Aran Islands: Exploring the Cultural Landscape

Drystone Walls of the Aran Islands: Exploring the Cultural Landscape


By (author) Mary Laheen

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  • Publisher: The Collins Press
  • Format: Paperback | 200 pages
  • Dimensions: 170mm x 242mm x 14mm | 558g
  • Publication date: 15 October 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cork
  • ISBN 10: 1848890257
  • ISBN 13: 9781848890251
  • Illustrations note: colour photos, maps
  • Sales rank: 449,494

Product description

The Aran Islands produced writers such as Liam O'Flaherty and Tim Robinson who were inspired by their surroundings. The drystone-wall field-boundary system of the islands is one of Ireland's richest cultural landscapes, retaining remarkable continuity with the past - Celtic occupation, Christianity, invasion, famine and evictions - a unique combination of the forces of humankind and nature. Unlike other cultural landscapes around the world, the surface of the islands is almost entirely made by man. This book explores this landscape, which is threatened by the change. The author outlines the background history and factors that have influenced the landscape and looks at one ceathru or quarter of a townland, a specific farm in that ceathru, and the pattern of landholding and farming practised today. This book traces the threat to traditional methods and the agricultural landscape from changes in European and Irish farming.

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Author information

Mary Laheen teaches Architectural Design at UCD, where she graduated in 1981. She practiced architecture in New York and San Francisco and set up her own practice in Dublin in 1995. Associated with the Aran Islands for many years, she designed the Irish language school, Colaiste A" Direain, in the early 1990s. Other interests include Zen practice and the Spanish language and culture.

Review quote

'Highly valuable study' Irish Examiner 'Mary Laheen has shown that the skeins of limestone walls are a priceless part of the islands' fabric and history' The Irish Times 'An eloquent essay ... should be mandatory reading for all planners and officials with responsibility for shaping the space we share on this island' Architecture Ireland