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Landscape and Society in Contemporary Ireland

by Brendan McGrath

Publication Year: 2013

This book is both about exceptional Irish landscapes like the Burren and also the everyday landscape experience in Ireland. The aim of the book is to give an account of contemporary Irish landscape and to describe and explain how it has changed over the last forty years and how it continues to change

Published by: Cork University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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Chapter 1 - Introduction

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pp. 1-14

In 1999 Clare County Council put up signs beside the access roads to my neighbourhood that welcomed motorists to ‘the Burren Protected Landscape’. The message on the signs surprised me because the Burren is not a ‘protected landscape’ in any generally accepted ...

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Chapter 2 - Culture

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pp. 15-30

When my wife and I moved to this rural area of north Clare in 1999 we got to know the farmers around us. With two exceptions they are full-time farmers who have lived here all their lives. One of them drops in for a chat from time to time. He once told us about a farmer who had ...

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Chapter 3 - Nature

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pp. 31-48

In 2008 members of an educational trust asked me to find a site for them that was ‘full of nature’, so that they could build a primary school. I took on the assignment and one day in late spring, the following year, I decided to explore a sloping wooded area within the search zone. It was a...

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Chapter 4 - Change

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pp. 49-72

Dramatic change in a landscape or the prospect of such a change brings a landscape into focus. Without that catalyst we may never really take note of where we are. Sometimes, unfortunately, to quote the lyric of the Joni Mitchell song, ‘you don’t know what you got...

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Chapter 5 - Conflict

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pp. 73-90

Conflict crystallises out the different ways that we look at landscape, differences that might otherwise remain hidden in the ebb and flow of everyday life. Development or planned development in a landscape can be so contentious that the resulting conflict throws lives out of ...

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Chapter 6 - Property and Commodity

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pp. 91-110

I grew up about as far away from the sea as it is possible to be on these islands. When I was a child, a trip to the seaside was a rare treat. This may help to explain why, when I got a job in Dublin in 1978, I wanted to live by the sea. When I first arrived in the city I spent part of every...

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Chapter 7 - History, Memory and Dreams

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pp. 111-132

There were days during the last decade when the property supplements were bigger than the newspapers themselves and scores of people were buying houses ‘off the plans’, guided by architects’ drawings, artistic impressions and an irrepressible urge to acquire property. These were...

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Chapter 8 - Beauty

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pp. 133-152

I do not find my local landscape, the inland Burren, as beautiful or seductive as other places that I know. This is disconcerting because the Burren is an exceptional place and I am often in the company of people who are enthralled by it. Paul Clements from Belfast finds leaving...

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Chapter 9 - New Technology and Beauty

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pp. 153-168

We have seen that studying the arcane world of landscape designation does not throw much light on contemporary attitudes to landscape beauty. Dramatic landscape change or the prospect of such change is a more promising focus of enquiry because it involves situations that provoke strong...

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Chapter 10 - Landscape and Rural Housing

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pp. 169-186

We moved west, out of Dublin, in 1999. The house we bought had been built as a holiday home for letting. When we arrived here there were eighteen other dwellings within a kilometre of our house, now there are twentyeight. Most of the new dwellings are dormer bungalows ...

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Chapter 11 - Making the Most of Landscape

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pp. 187-206

This year our village re-entered the Tidy Towns competition after a gap of several years. The local committee has been active since the late spring. As well as tidying up the village itself, work parties have also gone outside the village. They have made flower beds beside the main approach ...

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Figure Sources and Attributions

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pp. 207-208

Fig. 1.5 Cover of Burren Spring Conference brochure 2009, Burren College of Fig. 3.7 Reproduced in F.H.A. Aalen, Kevin Whelan and Matthew Stout (eds), Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape (Cork: Cork University Press, 1997), p. 11 Fig. 4.5 Justin Gleeson, Rob Kitchen, Brendan Bartley, John Driscoll, Ronan Foley, Stewart Fotheringham and Chris Lloyd, The Atlas of the Island of Ireland: ...


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pp. 209-215


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pp. 216-232


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pp. 233-238

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9781909005792
E-ISBN-10: 1909005797
Print-ISBN-13: 9781909005716
Print-ISBN-10: 1909005711

Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1