THE familiar cliche that a picture paints a thousand words is often true, but it doesn't do justice to stunning photographic book on Killarney National Park by Kenmare man Norman McCloskey that was launched on Friday night in The Malton Hotel.
'Parklight' took Norman three years of hiking and camping around Ireland's oldest, and arguably most beautiful, National Park with the 20-year veteran of photography discovering hidden treasures among the 26,000 acres of woodland.
"Everyone knows the places where you can drive in and go for a handy stroll, even I was like that. But about five years ago I was hiking and when I looked around and took out a map, I realised just how big it was and how little we have seen of it," Norman told The Kerryman ahead of the launch.
After about a year and a half of thinking over the idea, he decided to take the plunge - and what a plunge it was.
"I hiked all over the park making this book, even camping out on top of Purple Mountain to get the first and last lights.
"One close call I had was walking head on into a stag in the middle of rutting season, but we just had an intense stare off and continued on our way."
Norman was driven to show the park at its best and even dismissed a publishing deal as they wanted a "bog-standard touristy book".
"That was a big decision but I felt I wanted to go in alone and do it right. When you let go of a publishing deal you take on all of the costs and presures associated with it and it makes things a bit tougher," he said.
However, the ends justified the means and the new book can only be described as spectacular.
"I've shown some of the pictures to Park Rangers and been asked 'where's that?' I think that's the greatest compliment I can recieve."
The abundance of stunning scenery and ever-changing light throughout the seasons provided a huge amount of material for the book, according to Norman.
The book shows Killarney National Park in a way rarely, if ever, seen before and if you're racking your brain for Christmas gift ideas this season, problem solved.
'Parklight' is now available bookshops and online from www.normanmccloskey.com.