Best Irish Published Book of the Year

Shortlisted 2021

Tree Dogs, Banshee Fingers and Other Irish Words for Nature

By Manchán Magan

 - Illustrated by Steve Doogan

When you look at the world through the Irish language, you see a world more magical

See a squirrel as a ‘tree dog’ (madra crainn) and you’ll never see it any differently. Imagine a banshee’s fingers (méiríní na mban sí) and the poisonous foxglove comes to life. Discover five words to describe the stages of dawn and change your experience of sunrises forever.

Tree Dogs, Banshee Fingers and Other Irish Words for Nature explores the ways the Irish language describes our world with the curiosity and divilment of a child and the wisdom and insights of our ancestors. Get ready to rediscover the flora and fauna, the wild animals of the land, sea and air and otherworldly dimensions of this, our magical island home.

About Manchán Magan ...

Manchán Magan is a writer and documentary-maker. He has written books in Irish and English about his travels in Africa, India and South America, and two novels. His most recent book, Thirty-Two Words For Field, explores the insights the Irish language offers into the landscape, psyche and heritage of Ireland, and he is currently working on a follow up book. He writes occasionally for The Irish Times, and presents The Almanac of Ireland podcast about the heritage and culture of Ireland for RTÉ Radio 1. He has presented dozens of documentaries on issues of world culture for TG4, RTÉ and the Travel Channel. Having been brought up in Dublin, with long periods spent in the West Kerry Gaeltacht of Corca Dhuibhne, Manchán now lives in Co. Westmeath, in a grass-roofed house near Lough Lene, surrounded by his oak trees, and with bees and hens for company.

Steve Doogan is an award-winning illustrator and printmaker from Scotland. He makes illustrations for all kinds of things and lives in Dublin with his wife and two daughters.

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