Cover image for On Celtic tides : one man's journey around Ireland by sea kayak
On Celtic tides : one man's journey around Ireland by sea kayak
Duff, Chris.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvi, 269 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV776.467.I74 D84 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art. In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.). The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses.
In this third volume of A Dance to the Music of Time , we again meet Widmerpool, doggedly rising in rank; Jenkins, shifted from one dismal army post to another; Stringham, heroically emerging from alcoholism; Templer, still on his eternal sexual quest. Here, too, we are introduced to Pamela Flitton, one of the most beautiful and dangerous women in modern fiction. Wickedly barbed in its wit, uncanny in its seismographic recording of human emotions and social currents, this saga stands as an unsurpassed rendering of England's finest yet most costly hour.

Includes these novels:
The Valley of Bones
The Soldier's Art
The Military Philosophers

"Anthony Powell is the best living English novelist by far. His admirers are addicts, let us face it, held in thrall by a magician."-- Chicago Tribune

"A book which creates a world and explores it in depth, which ponders changing relationships and values, which creates brilliantly living and diverse characters and then watches them grow and change in their milieu. . . . Powell's world is as large and as complex as Proust's."--Elizabeth Janeway, New York Times

"One of the most important works of fiction since the Second World War. . . . The novel looked, as it began, something like a comedy of manners; then, for a while, like a tragedy of manners; now like a vastly entertaining, deeply melancholy, yet somehow courageous statement about human experience."--Naomi Bliven, New Yorker

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ireland is the locus of this book, though not actually its subject. For instead of traversing the ould sod, Duff fought tempestuous seas off its coasts, thereby seeing and experiencing Ireland as few others ever will. One of the most difficult of all sea journeys, Duff says, the circumnavigation of the land of his ancestors is a feat only he has accomplished by kayak. In the tradition of outdoors literature, his record emphasizes the adventure of the sea as well as the internal wildness that the solo athlete encounters. He is at his best when he visits the Skellig Islands, with their remote and singular monasteries in which monks once challenged themselves to the spiritual equivalent of Duff's quest. He is less skillful at capturing the human side of Ireland; indeed, in one encounter he slips into dangerous waters rather than continue interacting with friendly islanders. An eloquent addition to the literature of the outdoors. --Patricia Monaghan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a book whose only success is bringing to life the thrashing seas of coastal Ireland and whose ultimate failure is trying to evoke the ethos of the storied isle, Duff describes a 1200-mile circumnavigation from Dublin to Dublin. A seasoned kayaker who has undertaken several herculean voyages, Duff is uniquely suited to the challenge of the west coast of Ireland, where the gushing Atlantic clashes with the rugged land. But while Duff does give readers a sense of the ocean's power and peril, he falls far short of exemplifying Ireland's reputation for inspiring creativity. Duff, who is of Irish descent, plays on the theme of the journey as a route to self-discovery, but does so in a way that hardly captivates. Often Duff seems to get in the way of his story, when the focus should be on Ireland itself. There is no doubt that the island's beauty and majesty move Duff, but his attempts to convey his feelings are often cloying. "In a hushed voice that came deep from within," he writes on encountering a sea bird, "I said: `You are so beautiful my friend. What have you seen and where have you been today?' " The few insights into Ireland's culture and history come from the locals Duff meets. But these encounters are tainted by a formula that wears thin quickly: the fisherman or villager expresses disbelief at Duff's undertaking, Duff assures them that he is serious and they proclaim that he must be mad. Though the trip is not always pretty, Duff is able to pull himself through adversity, and the sheer achievement of finishing speaks for itself. Duff's book, however, is not nearly as impressive an accomplishment. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Duff, one of the worlds top names in sea kayaking, has traveled over 14,000 miles by kayak since 1983. Not one to do anything by halves, he was the first person to circumnavigate the Island of Great Britain. In 1996, he made the 1200-mile kayak trip around Ireland and became the only person ever to have soloed the British Isles in their entirety. With rich prose, Duff eloquently describes the sights, culture, history, and people of the Irish coast. His writing evokes both the force of nature as he describes his fight with the waves at the mouth of the Shannon River and the civility of tea and scones in a quaint pub in Clare. Suitable for both public and academic libraries catering to a clientele interested in travel narratives.√ĄSandra Knowles, Henderson Cty. P.L., Hendersonville, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
1. Shannon River Reflectionsp. 1
2. Blisters and Dreamsp. 9
3. Awakening Rhythmsp. 37
4. West Coast Beginningsp. 53
5. Abbey Refugep. 75
6. Skellig Spiritsp. 87
7. The Pipes and the Bodhranp. 105
8. Peat Fires and New Friendsp. 119
9. Expedition Lowsp. 133
10. Island Tapestriesp. 153
11. Tales from an Irish Ladp. 173
12. Monks: Yesterday and Todayp. 191
13. Donegal Cliffs and Island Storiesp. 211
14. Northern Ireland--Tidal Terrorsp. 239
15. Farewells and Transitionsp. 253