Irelandopedia: Book review


A compendium of maps, facts and knowledge

By Fatti and John Burke

While we are on the subject of Ireland, a great companion book to have aboard for children when cruising in Ireland is Irelandopedia. What a delightful concept for exploring the rich history of this island nation. County by county, there are countless interesting factoids, cleverly illustrated to accentuate their historical significance.  Seriously oversized and in hardcover, it is an excellent resource to help make history come alive for children and adults alike.

Created by father and daughter team of 68-year-old John and 25-year-old Kathi ‘Fatti’ Burke. What great fun they must have had researching, sifting through and collating all things Ireland.  John a retired primary school teacher and Kathi a budding young illustrator have filled the pages with 32-counties worth of interesting places, people and traditions. 

Irelandopedia will inspire readers to visit new places and find new treasures in their own back yards. Published by Gill and Macmillan on the 23rd October 2015, priced at €24.99, Irelandopedia was featured on The Late Late Toy Show, is winner of the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards for 2015, and an instant bestseller.

My only criticism is that a few facts were not exactly correct.  One of the opening pages features Ten Wonders of Ireland.  It lists Slieve League as the Tallest Cliffs.  Although Slieve League is clearly impressive, and at 601 m (1,972 ft) nearly three times higher than the better known Cliffs of Moher, the elevation of the cliffs at Croaghan on Achill Island is 688 m (2,257 ft).  They are the third highest sea cliffs in Europe. On the Mayo page, Westport is shown where Newport should be and Inishbofin, actually in County Galway, was part of Mayo last in 1873!  Nothing a little fact checking wouldn’t fix.

What one could miss is the delightful section at the back of the book showing what’s in the air, in the water, on the land, what we eat, Irish names for popular things, music and dance, things we do, on the farm, and finally our weather. There is also a useful index for locating things you may know without knowing where they are. All in all, it’s a delightful resources that families will go back to time and again.

Irelandopedia Activity Book

By Fatti and John Burke

A clever companion piece to Irelandopedia is the Activity Book published 25 March 2016 (€9.99/£8.99).  It will keep kids entertained for hours.  It’s an illustrated and interactive activity book that includes pages to colour in, maps to draw, stories to write, dots to connect and so much more. It also has a giant pull out illustrated map.  It will test your Irelandopedic knowledge, teach you how to draw a fox and a boat, and help you match up pictures to their Irish names. It will provide hours of entertainment for the whole family. 


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