Friday, August 17, 2012

Why didn't I buy this book earlier?

John Eagle's second book, Ireland's Lighthouses, a Photo Essay, dropped through my hall door earlier this week. I had just come back from holidaying in south west Cork and had seen his magnficent collection of photographs of Ireland's lighthouses in the coffee shop at Mizen Head. I had previously bought "An Eagle's View of Irish Lighthouses," read it from cover to cover, then gave it to my sister-in-law as a birthday present.
There were two things that disappointed me about his new book. Firstly, the photographs are so stunning that it makes my own puny efforts seem hardly worth the while. John combines a love of lighthouses with a love of photography to great effect and the fact that he often has access to helicopters makes this a book for me to aspire to.
The second disappointing thing was that I had not bought the book earlier, for he gives good clear directions on how to find each light. If I had owned it while trying to find a road to the Ballynacourty light, for example, I wouldn't have had to content myself with a distant shot over the brow of a hill. Or I'd have known to go through Crookhaven last week to photo the Crookhaven Light, rather than wandering around Rock Island trying one laneway after the next until the family told me to give it up.
John is probably the foremost expert on Ireland's lighthouses, outside of former keepers and CIL employees. The knowledge he has accumulated is awe-inspiring and the book is a beautiful, full-colour work of art, both informative and artistic. The one thing that puzzles me, possibly, is his criteria for selecting lights. Why is Mitchell's Spitbank included, but not Moville or Dundalk? Muglins but not North Wall? The Metal Man but not Baltimore Beacon?
But these are small quibbles. I urge anyone interested in Irish lighthouses, or indeed looking for a gift, to buy this book. Click on photo in sidebar for details - and while you're there, check out his lighthouse postcards and lighthouse tours too.


  1. Many thanks Peter, you are most kind with your comments. I am humbled you think so much of my passion. Yes I left some of the lighthouses out, I went for all the major ones and a sprinkling of the lesser ones. The Baltimore Beacon is not really a lighthouse, although I had better duck in case people from Baltimore read this. The Metal Man does however have a light. There are quite a few of the lesser ones I did not go to. There are many up the east coast, especially in County Down. Ardglass is one, Buncrana up in Donegal. Yes I missed a few out, but then there's scope for a new edition. North Bull at the entrance to Dublin harbour is a nice little lighthouse. Ah well, there's always room for improvement. You can always watch my website: for new pictures, especially the News page.
    The Northern Lighthouse Tour is about to start so maybe I can improve on my filings lol,
    all the best
    John Eagle

  2. Thanks John, I wasn't implying criticism for the selections, just curious, that's all.
    Looking forward already to that 'new edition!!'