by Mike SmylieThis book of photos is the Irish portion of a six part series covering Britain and Ireland. He illustrates the changing styles of fishing boats through time using historic photographs and views captured during a coastal tour in 2007. The contrast through the ages is striking. The author describes fishing techniques as they evolved and changed in the 150 year scope of the book. Harbours so full of fishing craft that it is difficult to discern which is which compared with single lonely trawlers today. The bustling quayside scenes as hundreds of women processed herring in the open make a vivid tableau but there are no views of modern fish factories. The boat building yards get honourable mention for their native styles and designs The Amberley house style works well for this sort of study, the emphasis is on the photographs and rich captions provide the text. It assembles the photographs in a readable economical format. It avoids the expensive lavish coffee table style of book that requires high definition illustrations that are usually scarce. Mike Smylie does not attempt to give a comprehensive commentary of the Irish fishing industry nor is it an economic or social study. The value is the photographs of the boats harbours and the people. The overall result is a very readable illustrated description of fishing around Ireland in years gone by. Anyone with a maritime interest will appreciate this book and the fishing community will find it a fine reminder of their heritage. Amberley Publishing, The Hill, Stroud Gloucestershire, 2014. £14.99.
Review by Dr Edward Bourke