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Ireland Through Birds: Journeys in Search of a Wild Nation


Conor W. O’Brien

October 2019

Journey around Ireland and through the four seasons in search of 12 of our rarest and most elusive birds.

Nominated for Best Irish-Published Book of the Year, An Post Irish Book Awards, 2019

Paperback with flaps

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Buy the eBook > ISBN: 9781785373053 Categories: ,


‘Places, histories, hikes … a lovely armchair travel book.’ – Margaret Atwood

Twelve birds. One country. A wild Ireland waiting to be discovered.

In Ireland Through Birds, Conor O’Brien takes the reader on an ornithological adventure around Ireland in search of twelve of our rarest and most elusive birds. Along the journey the author explores every kind of landscape and habitat our island has to offer across all four seasons, from the remote isles of Donegal to the rugged mountains of Kerry and urban parks of Dublin. Through it all, O’Brien is enchanted by calling corncrakes, mesmerised by hunting harriers, and chased by angry skuas. It’s a journey through a staggering array of landscapes that’ll bring the reader face to face with the rich history and stunning wildlife to be savoured right on our doorstep. It explores the stories of the remarkable birds that live here: the genius of the jay, the sublime mimicry of the cuckoo, the nocturnal prowess of the barn owl, while paying a moving,poetic tribute to our natural heritage – and a warning about the threats that face it.

Ireland Through Birds is a unique blend of natural history and travelogue, making it a great read for anyone with an interest in Ireland’s natural world.

Table of Contents

1. Merlin
2. Goosander
3. Grey Partridge
4. Red Grouse
5. Corncrake
6. Cuckoo
7. Great Skua
8. Ring Ouzel
9. Barn Owl
10. Jay
11. Hen Harrier
12. Jack Snipe

About the Author

Conor W. O’Brien has been birdwatching in Ireland from a very early age, and it is a passion that has since taken him around the world. He’s a member of Birdwatch Ireland and has presented at member meetings of the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT). This is his first book.

Praise for Ireland Through Birds

‘Rich, fascinating and contextual fare … This bright and amiable edition succeeds by harnessing the wonderment of Irish birdlife and their habitats, reminding us of their preciousness in the context of a broad and uncertain environmental backdrop.’
Hilary A. White, Irish Independent

‘…beautifully written. O’Brien has carved out a fresh and personal niche with a travelogue as intriguing about places as about the birds themselves.’                                                            Michael Viney, The Irish Times

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