Two Great Books on County Mayo - by Michael Mullen

My good friend Michael Mullen has published his second book on County Mayo.  Well known as a writer of Children's Literature with books such as Mangus the Lollipop Man and Sea Wolves from the North (Wolfhound Press), Michael is also a great historian and story weaver who knows as much about his native County Mayo as any living person.

The Road Taken; a Guide to the Roads and Scenery of Mayo by Michael Mullen was published by Nonsuch Publishing in 2008.  In this book, Mullen takes the reader on a journey through the Mayo landscape- from it rugged cliffs, it tortured sea, it craggy mountains, placid lakes, rolling farmland and thriving villages, Mullen describes the landscape mentioning details most visitors would miss.  While describing the landscape, Mullen weaves into his commentary, the history of Mayo and the stories of the people in the West of Ireland.  This is wonderful travel guide for those who want to learn of Mayo's geological, anthropological and spiritual history.  Every major town or region in County Mayo is covered in this book that also includes 101 photographs.

The book reads like a geographic guide that goes in a wheel pattern with Castlebar (Mullen's hometown) as the hub of the wheel.  Most of the roads are seldom taken by travelers that come through Mayo, yet have some of the most breathtaking and interesting sites along the way.  For the traveler who wants to explore Mayo, or have a reference about the Mayo landscape, this book is will go beyond expectations.

Mayo - The Waters and the Wild published by Cottage Publications in 2004 is written by Michael and complemented with illustrations by Castlebar artist, John Peter McHugh.  Images of McHugh's watercolors complete the mystical tone set by Mullen's writing.  The book features the "wild" side of Mayo, or parts of Mayo connected to lakes and rivers.  Some of the sites covered are Croagh Patrick,  Ballintuber Abbey, Ballycroy, Delphi, Ballina, Lough Mask, Newport, Castlebar (the Mall), Kildavnet Castle, Achill Island, Doolough and Clew Bay.

Mullen covers the history of each site with a flare for story telling.  History never sounded so interesting.  For the traveler who may be going to Mayo, this book is invaluable as an easy to read historical perspective of prominent sites.  For natives of Mayo, or lovers of that part of the West of Ireland, Mayo - the Waters and the Wild is an important addition to a collection of books on Ireland.

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