Unravelling the secrets of the Laois landscape
According to the storyteller Eamon Kelly there was a time in Ireland when you couldn't throw a stone without rising a lump on a king's head, so numerous were Irish kings and their kingdoms.
The same could be said of the myriad of ruins, follies and curiosities that dot the countryside.
Often little is commonly known about them. Indeed, the most mundane daily journeys take us past many of these things, and while we might be given to wonder who built them and why they were built, we never really expect to find out.
If you live in Co Laois you need wonder no more about the walls, stones, ruins, towers and memorials that puzzle you as you pass on your way.
A wonderful book entitled "The Built Curiosities of Laois" contains 175 pages of photographs, maps and words that take the reader on 15 tours of this beautiful midland county, giving seed breed and generation of stone, steel, steeple and standard.
Written by Laois historian, writer and master of antiquities, Dr Jack Carter, the book is set out as a series of guided walking and driving tours. Each tour takes a day to complete and is clearly explained, colour coded and numbered.
The book not only describes and details the provenance of the built curiosities, it gives detailed walking and driving directions and works on the very sensible assumption that "signposting is absent at many junctions".