Robert Lloyd Praeger

Beyond soundings (Sketches)

The Talbot press

Dublin, Cork, 1930

bibliothèque insulaire
Beyond soundings (Sketches) / Robert Lloyd Praeger. - Dublin and Cork : The Talbot press, 1930. - 208 p. ; 20 cm.

TIMOTHY COLLINS : The islands of Ireland always held a special attraction to Praeger and in Beyond Soundings he reminisces about islands and travelling to them in a delightful way. Each island has its own special appeal and Praeger admits that the many island crossings he has made rank among the most exhilarating moments in his life. Wether he was groping his way in dense fog towards the « savage rock-shelf of Tory » ; watching the sun rise on a June morning over Fair Head while negociating the rushing tide that eddies between Rathlin and Ballycastle ; becalmed between Inisheer and the towering cliffs of Moher ; or in a dancing curragh on the Sound between Dunmore head and the huge mass of the Great Blasket, Praeger always looked forward to these trips.

Decoding the landscape, Galway : Centre for landscape studies, 1994 (p. 121)


My first experience of [Clare island] began weirdly. Noting that its botany was curiously unknown, my wife and I crossed over from Roonah Quay in the post-boat on an evening in July 1903. It was dead calm, with an oily roll coming from the west. All the hills around were smothered in a white mist, which over the island formed an enormous arch, solid enough seemingly to walk on, and descending nearly to sea-level. We lurched slowly across in an ominous stillness, and darkness descended before it was due, as we explored the island, all was dense mist and heavy rain, still without wind, and all day we fretted in our little cottage, unable to move. Late in the day the rain ceased, and a strange red glow, coming from the north-west, spread through the thinning fog. We hurried out to the north point of the island, and there, just sinking into the ocean, was a blood-read sun, lighting up dense inky clouds which brooded low over the black jagged teeth of Achill Head, rising from a black sea tinged with crimsom. It was a scene fitted for Dante's Inferno, and if a flight of demons or of angels had passed across in the strange atmosphere it would have seemed quite appropriate, and no cause for wonder.

pp. 184-185 (cited by Timothy Collins)

  • « The way that I went : an Irishman in Ireland », Dublin : Hodges, Figgis, 1937 ; Dublin : Collins press, 1997

mise-à-jour : 30 novembre 2011