Conor Kelly’s Guide to Ireland’s Ancient Places has been lurking in my iPad for several years, waiting to get onto my official TBR on Goodreads. This is not the usual way my book lists work. Consequently this is not the way my reviews usually read. But I’m using this book for the letter I in my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge this year.
About the Author, Ali Isaac
On her Goodreads profile, Ali Isaac describes herself as ‘Student of Celtic and Irish Medieval History, blogger, and writer of fantasy, myth and magic!’
Somewhere along the line, I must have followed her and become interested in her tales of Irish enchantment, with her Tir Na Nog Trilogy, and various adventures of her hero Conor Kelly. In fact, I think the book reviewed here was a gift for joining her mailing list, although I don’t seem to have had any more mailings from her than I’ve sent out myself!
Her website, Ali Isaac Storyteller, is beautifully crafted with the background to the myths and legends she uses to build the stories of Conor Kelly. In one section is the book I’ve just read, but in blog form.
So if you are interested in Irish myths and legends, I recommend you take a trip over there and explore a while.
What struck me first was ‘what a wonderful way to introduce people not only to your own stories, but to the places and legends associated with them.
Isaacs takes nine places featured in her books and tells you all about them. It’s a mixture of travelogue, history, guidebook and novel. It’s very readable, and beautifully linked together. The colour photographs are excellent too.
For each location she starts with a picture, and a general description. The archaeology of the site forms the second section. There there’s a section on the mythology associated with them, possibly with more photos between the sections. She follows that with a section on why she loves the site, and how to get there. Finally, and the longest section, usually, is ‘Where does [place] fit into my books?’ in which she introduces an excerpt/adventure; these are most enjoyable, even without knowing the characters in detail.
It’s very much a teaser for her books, but it’s also very interesting on its own.
The Guide to Ancient Places book is not listed among Ali Isaac’s work on Goodreads, which I think is a mistake. Other Conor Kelly stories are, although I’m a little confused about the Tir Na Nog Trilogy, as books one and two are listed, and several more Conor Kelly titles but no book three. Maybe I should read the website more carefully instead of skimming.