224 pages, colour photos, colour maps
The Comeragh Mountains are an isolated massif surrounded by the rich agricultural land of county Waterford in the southeast of Ireland. There are two mountain ranges, though the distinction between the Comeragh Mountains and the Monavullagh Mountains is not entirely obvious from Ordnance Survey maps. The general trend of these mountains is from north to south; the northern section is the Comeragh Mountains, while the more gently sloping southern end is the Monavullagh Mountains. The 'Comeraghs' is the name usually applied to both ranges combined, a term which will be used throughout A Guide to the Comeragh Mountains. The word Comeragh is from the Irish Cumarach meaning "abounding in hollows and river confluences" and Monavullagh is Móin a' Mhullaigh meaning "bog of (or on) the summit".
The main aim of A Guide to the Comeragh Mountains is to inform those wishing to visit and enjoy the unenclosed uplands of the Comeraghs. The origins of the range and the forces prevailing when these mountains were formed are described; the soils are also considered in terms of formation and fertility. Climate is an important influence and a brief summary is presented, to highlight the climatic conditions and also to point out the impact of weather on the range; in many respects, climate is the principal factor regulating all life on the hills. There is a comprehensive section on flora and fauna and attention is drawn to the more obvious wildlife present in the Comeraghs. There are important archaeological sites within the range and information on these is provided to assist those wishing to visit them and to enlighten those who may accidentally stumble upon them in their rambles about the mountains. The use to which the land is put is of critical importance in that it determines how the Comeraghs change over time and the main agents of land use change are examined. Finally, there is a chapter on the cultural importance of the Comeraghs and the various designation that apply to them; possible future management options for the protection of the range are also presented.
There is a walks section which may be of help to the casual walker intent on exploring the range. An infinite number of walks, of varying difficulty, are possible in the Comeraghs. However, the emphasis of the walks descriptions is primarily to offer assistance to those willing and able for low-level walks to the coums. The maps accompanying the walks descriptions are intended merely as a guide and should be used in conjunction with the more detailed Discovery maps for the region. Comeragh placenames are presented in both Irish and English, largely because of the inherent interest of these names and the valuable information often conveyed by them about the location. A list of the available maps and other useful information is given, as are the scientific names of the species mentioned in the text.
A secondary aim of A Guide to the Comeragh Mountains is to describe the Comeraghs as they are now, as a basis against which past, present and future changes and their impact on the range can be assessed and indeed to outline the changes that have taken place since the first edition of this book was published in 1995. It is hoped that those who live near and those who visit the Comeraghs, and who draw inspiration from them, may help in some way to ensure the long-term protection of the range for the benefit of the generations to come.
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