A list of influences and inspirations.

By Paul McDonagh on 20/10/14 | Category - Comment

Connemara: Listening to the Wind is the first of a trilogy that Tim Robinson has written about Connemara, which is a district in the west of Ireland. This week's Book Club Book taught me that Connemara is a lot bigger than I thought. I also learnt that the size of it is contentious. Different people have different ideas about where it begins and where it ends. I have been to Connemara many times, heading west from Galway along the coast road. Part of Groundwork, my first novel, is set in the south-western section of Connemara. The characters are affected by immigration, into and out of the area. This book is about a different section. Further north, around Clifden and the Twelve Pins.

Tim Robinson is from England but has lived in Roundstone, Connemara since 1984. As well as writing books, he has created maps of the area. He walks across the land in solitude. His descriptions of the wildness and the stillness are uniquely beautiful. As well as describing the topography and ecology, he tells stories about the people. This is a Joycean journey, as detailed as Ulysses, that takes in Joyce country.


One difference between Robinson and Joyce is that he, Robinson, is an outsider. All he knows are the stories that he hears. That is all the outsider can know. Someone else's story. His own story is elsewhere, on different soil. These are not stories he has grown up with. So he can decide what to accept and what to reject. The myths and legends he chooses to record are not to be found in his bones.The deeper he delves, the harder it becomes to get the truth of a place. He lives there but it is not his home. For others, it is home but they are not there.

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