Donegal Islands: Paintings and Stories from Sailing the Islands;
Ros Harvey and Wallace Clark; Cottage Publications, Donaghadee,
N Ireland 2003
Anyone familiar with the writings of Wallace Clark about his native land will relish this book as will the new reader. In his classic work ‘Sailing Around Ireland’, Clark devotes just three chapters to sailing around the Donegal coast. In this volume there are ten chapters dedicated to sailing and exploring the islands that lie between Inishtrahull just north east of Malin Head and Inishmurray in Donegal Bay. The book is illustrated with superb pastel drawings by his cousin and shipmate Ros Harvey, an accomplished potter and artist.
As in‘Sailing Around Ireland’ this book comprises some 40 years of sailing anecdotes, history, geology, ecology, literature, religion and brilliant writing about nature. Clark’s lyrical prose elegantly conveys his love of the Donegal coast and its islands. Ros Harvey’s pastel work complements Clark’s prose in emphasizing the wild, rugged beauty of Donegal.
For anyone sailing these waters this book is essential background reading, not in a pilot book sense, but in order to capture the special qualities of Ireland’s west coast. Clark follows in the footsteps of his fellow countrymen, Yeats and Synge, in attributing to this coast a magical and mysterious quality. In his final chapter Clark ends by saying “…that’s enough of analysis - islands are like pretty girls: to be admired, loved, enjoyed but never understood.”