IN SEARCH OF THE ANCIENT HIGHWAY ON THE ESKER RIADA

by mariocorrigan on August 17, 2006

Hermann Geissel gives an absorbing account of his attempt to trace and map out the Slí Mhór on the Esker Riada. This ancient routeway, extending from the Áth Cliath Cualann hurdle ford that gave Dublin its Irish name, to the Áth Cliath Maree at the mouth of the Clarin River on Galway Bay, formerly linked East and West while dividing the island into two similar halves. The results of this research were first presented as An tSlí Mhór, a six-part television documentary on TG4, and since then the investigation has been revised and expanded into the present account. The outcome is a fascinating story of a personal odyssey undertaken by the author, together with historian Seamus Cullen, lavishly illustrated with striking photographs and equipped with helpful maps and informative appendices. Anecdotal humour and scholarly references sit together easily in the text, providing an enthralling and enlightening story of a little-known aspect of our medieval heritage.

 

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Hermann Geissel’s most recent work merits serious consideration and the highest praise from all interested in Irish archaeology, history, geography, geology and landscape related studies. He has provided us with a learned and detailed trail across the centre of Ireland … filled with scholarly and often amusing anecdotes … copiously and intelligently illustrated throughout… of post-graduate thesis standard. [Research that] most of us feel should have been done years ago.
Etienne Rynne, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, NUI Galway

[Mr Geissel] has supported his argument with maps, photographs and detailed descriptions, all of which are written in an accessible and easy to read manner. I have no doubt that his work will stimulate debate and further study. It will expand interest in the landscape of the midlands and will help to make local communities more aware of their heritage.
John Bradley, Senior Lecturer, Department of History,
NUI Maynooth
 
 

For Herman Geissel the landscape is permeated with the physical traces and invisible echoes of the Great Road along the eskers. In this absorbing piece of topographical detective work he conjures up and re-creates the ancient roadway from traces and whispers that live on in our everyday landscape, connecting the places where it still survives as a major cultural fault line.
Dr John Feehan, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, Dublin
 

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Ancient Ireland’s most important trade and pilgrimage route is brought to life by a knowledgeable, humorous and gently informative tour guide. There is an anecdote and an astute observation for every turn. You will never look at a road the same way again.
Eoghan Corry, Writer and Broadcaster


Hermann Geissel (well-known to all in local history circles in Co. Kildare) has a new book coming out on the Slí Mhór. It will be launched in 3 different venues during Heritage Week.

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