No part of Ireland is more than 100km from the coast and over half the population live within 10km of it. This book is a comprehensive account of the natural and human history of the Irish coastline. The text is illustrated with aerial and underwater photography and includes colour maps which are easy-to-read guides to tourism and leisure attractions. Descriptions of whaling, hunting, seabirds and fishing add an element of drama and human interest. As Michael Viney says: `Our coastline, with its richly diverse habitats and species, is a threshold of imagination, for which this book is a valuable guide and companion.'
Foreword by Michael Viney viii Preface ix Introduction 1 Chapter 1 7 Shape of the Shore 5 Defining the Coast 5 Length of Coastal Features 6 Geology and Landscape 9 Coastal Habitats 18 Chapter 2 7 Rocky Shores and Islands 21 Rocky Shores 21 Rocky Sea Cliffs 24 Birds of Rocky Shores 31 Seabird Colonies 35 Grey Seals 40 Coastal Otters 44 Island Mammals 46 Island Flora 47 Chapter 3 7 Sand and Shingle Shores 49 Soft Shores 49 Shingle or Gravel Shores 50 Sandy Shores 52 Sand Dunes 54 Machair 60 Birds of Sandy Shores 62 Harbour Seals 65 Beachcombing 67 Chapter 4 7 Muddy Shores 71 Estuaries 71 Muddy Sand Shores 73 Muddy Shores 74 Saltmarshes 75 Lagoons and Saline Lakes 78 Tidal Rivers 79 Birds of Estuaries and Bays 80 The Estuarine Wilderness 86 Chapter 5 7 Open Sea 87 Life on the Seabed 87 The Continental Shelf 91 Plankton 93 Jellyfish 95 Marine Fish 96 Basking Sharks 98 Turtles 99 Birds of the Ocean 101 Whales and Dolphins 103 Chapter 6 7 Living on the Coast 111 Prehistoric Coastal Settlements 111 Coastal Foragers and Fishermen 115 The Early Christians 116 The Vikings 118 The Medieval Period 120 Recent Settlement History 121 Island Resources and People 123 Irish Lighthouses and their Keepers 130 Traditional Boats 134 The Early Sport of Sailing 140 Chapter 7 7 Harvesting the Sea 143 Old Sea Fishing Methods 143 Whaling 149 Shark Fishing 152 Hunting Seabirds 153 Hunting Seals 155 Shellfish Collecting 157 Oyster Beds and Mariculture 160 Seaweeds 162 Chapter 8 7 Respecting the Coast 167 Threats to Coastal Habitats 167 Coastal Erosion 169 Energy from the Sea 176 Coastal Zone Management 178 Conclusion 179 Chapter 9 7 Enjoying the Coast 181 Holiday Beaches 183 Surfing 183 Sailing 184 Scuba Diving 186 Sea Kayaking 189 Sea and Shore Angling 189 Birdwatching 190 Whale and Dolphin Watching 194 Seal Watching 196 Coastal Walks 197 Rock Climbing on the Coast 199 Boat Trips 200 Marine Biology and Aquaria 200 References 203 Appendix - Scientific names of plants and animals mentioned in the text 210 Index 213
Richard Nairn has lived by the sea all his life. His first job was as a nature reserve warden on sand dunes in Northern Ireland. He has a comprehensive knowledge of the coast and its natural history from his career in nature conservation and environmental research. His book, Wild Wicklow (1998) was popular and well received. A photographer, naturalist, sailor and fisherman, he explores all facets of the Irish coast in this book.
The numerous photographs of landscapes and representative organisms are excellent...helpful to visitors and natives alike. 'Our coastline, with its richly diverse habitats and species, is a threshold of imagination, for which this book is a valuable guide and companion.' Michael Viney 'This book, using excellent narrative and beautiful photographs, leaves you excited about Ireland and everything our coastline has to offer' Coast 'Richard Nairn writes well and has done huge research' Flying Fish 'A most handsome book' The Irish Times 'Accessible scientist's-eye view of our coastlines' Sunday Business Post 'A book to read and learn from' Irish Independent 'A major celebration of our island's diverse shores' Irish Mountain Log 'The pictures will capture the imaginations of all ages and Nairn provides a comprehensive account of the natural and human history of the coastline' The Sunday World magazine