Entertainment Books

Friday 6 December 2019

How the Gods see it: real Corker of a beautiful view

A new book of aerial photographs illustrates perfectly why Corkonians are so proud of their home county

Cork - The View from Above by Dennis Horgan, published by The Collins Press, 2014
Cork - The View from Above by Dennis Horgan, published by The Collins Press, 2014
A unique place of streams, narrow channels and small islands, the Gearagh is the remains of a former alluvial forest. It is a wildlife sanctuary and home to many species of bird and animals.
Blarney House, set in the grounds of Blarney Castle and overlooking the lake, was built in 1874 in the Scottish Baronial style. It has been restored to its former grandeur.
Built c. 1450 on a small island in Roaringwater Bay, Kilcoe Castle is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The castle was extensively restored in recent years and is now a private residence.
Heir Island in Roaringwater Bay has a small permanent population which increases in summertime. The island is one of ‘Carbery’s Hundred Isles’ scattered throughout the bay and has a sailing centre and a number of small local industries.
Also called Illnacullin, Garnish Island lies in a sheltered location in Glengarriff Harbour and enjoys a subtropical climate. It is famous for its gardens, which are visited by thousands of tourists each year
A field of commercially grown flowers at Mogeely captures the eye from above
Container ships pass each other in the channel at Monkstown. The crossriver ferry is visible on the left-hand side.
Blackrock Castle on the banks of the River Lee dates from the 16th century and is one of Cork’s best-known landmarks. It now houses an observatory, visitor centre and restaurant.
Cork is a city of many bridges and those spanning the North Channel are clearly visible in this image looking east from the city.
Cork - The View from Above by Dennis Horgan, published by The Collins Press, 2014
Frank Coughlan

Frank Coughlan

I have to declare an interest. This is my place and I know it well. But other than a glimpse through the clouds on occasional flights in or out of the Cork Airport I had never properly seen it from on high before. That is, how the Gods see it, or - as any Corkonian worth his salt will tell you - how they had lovingly planned it.

Dennis Horgan, a specialist in aerial photography, knows his own place well too, so when he took to the skies to create his wonderful book of picture essays, he knew where to go and what to look for.

And he was spoilt for choice. From its wild Atlantic western coastline, untamed and winsome all at once, to the less dramatic but no less alluring, eastern seaboard, there is so much to see and to capture.

Then there's the city, of course. My home town.

Unlike most of the pastoral and coastal expanses, which time and history have altered so little, the city's streetscapes do change and have radically in the past few decades. Horgan has done a service in framing them in this particular moment in time.

The nostalgists amongst us will trace streets and lanes, pick out landmark buildings and perhaps be taken aback by how these aerial shots give the city a majesty and vibrancy that we rarely notice when we tramp its busy pavements and take shortcuts down its ancient alleys.

Words are superfluous really. Instead, in front of you is a small sample of what can be found in Cork: The View From Above.

From Kilcoe Castle and Garnish Island way out west to the captivating image of the proud old north channel of the River Lee, winding her familiar path through the city it divides, you get a small flavour of what this coffee table tome of 256 pages has to offer.

If you are from Cork, the opportunity to see the familiar from an unfamiliar vantage point should prove hard to resist.

To the rest of you, it offers a chance to perhaps understand, once and for all, why Cork people are so unfailingly and insufferably conceited about the place they call home.   


Cork: The View From Above by Dennis Horgan, The Collins Press, €24.99

The Irish Independent is producing a limited edition selection of postcards based on various aerial images from Cork: The View From Above. Four postcards will be available each day with the newspaper from select newsagents in Cork city and county from next Monday, December 1 to Friday December 5, with 20 in total to collect across the five days.

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