Gill & Macmillan, £7.99
From the Meath border to the Dargle river, architect and walking enthusiast Fewer describes the Dublin shoreline, its flora and fauna, its history and its people. There will be many insights in these pages even for people who are already familiar with some or even all of the coast in question: Fewer unearths the true history of some ruins, enlightens us as to the original meanings of place names, and even traces some of the changes in seabirds' habits!
He writes about all this, in chapters equivalent to a day's walking, in an easily readable style that has the reader keen to see what the morrow will bring. Unfortunately, it doesn't always bring what you want – having written in detail about ancient north county Dublin wrecks, the author skips blithely past the potential of more recent beachings and losses in Malahide and on Dollymount strand, for example.
The richness of what is included, however, sometimes serves to highlight the omissions: again on Dollymount, no mention of the infamous 'Curley's Hole', rumoured to be responsible for the loss of several incautious bathers. More, too, could have been made of the rich social history of Dún Laoghaire and the building of its 'safe haven' harbour as well as the first railway line on the island.
Despite these reservations, I found myself wondering in anticipation if Fewer would continue southwards, and give us a Wicklow volume next - and that's a recommendation in itself.
Mícheál Ó hUanacháin