Eagle Country is the record of Seán Lysaght's quest in the wild places of Mayo and the west of Ireland for eagles, past and present. What began as a series of walks along the roads close to the author's house, exploring the fractal of country lanes and boreens, extended its reach, following placenames and naturalists' records, to Mayo's eagle landscapes.
Seán Lysaght first saw sea eagles on a visit to Norway in 2001 and since then has been captivated by their fortunes, and those of Ireland's other species, the golden eagle. For an entire summer, he walked in eagle country, across remote hills and rugged sea coasts, in the footsteps of earlier writers, to see where sea eagles and golden eagles had their homes before their extinction in the early twentieth century. Along the way, he kept a record of the journey: meetings with local people who shared memories and folklore; the companionship of friends and his wife Jessica; the progress of the year in nature's seasons; reminiscences of the author's own early life on holiday with his family in wild settings. The journal is extended by visits to several sites in Ireland where sea eagles and golden eagles have now returned following reintroduction programmes and where both species have a slender foothold. We accompany the writer on visits to west Cork and Kerry, to the famous lake scenery of Killarney, to Lough Derg in County Clare, and to Glenveagh National Park in north-west Donegal. With a keen poet's eye for detail and expression, eschewing polemic, the writer celebrates Ireland's wild heritage and gives hope that in time, these magnificent creatures will again have their place in Mayo and across the west of Ireland generally.
Seán Lysaght was born in 1957 and grew up in Limerick. He was educated at UCD where he received a BA and an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature. He subsequently spent several years abroad, in Switzerland and Germany, before teaching at St Patrick's College, Maynooth and at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. One of Ireland's leading contemporary poets, he has published eight collections of poems ans is the author of a biography of the Irish naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger.