Cliffs Of Insanity: A Winter On Ireland’s Big Waves

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Random House, Sep 27, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages

Surfing in Ireland was once considered little more than a fringe and slightly lunatic pursuit. The treacherous coastline and ice waters of the Atlantic did not sit comfortably with the stereotype of surfing as the favoured pastime of the bronzed and privileged. But with the discovery in the past few years of the gargantuan Aileen’s wave at the Cliffs of Moher and other heavy waves, the Irish coast has become one of the worst kept secrets in world surfing.

In Cliffs of Insanity, the Irish Times sportswriter Keith Duggan tells the story of a dedicated group of surfers in County Clare whose lives revolve around the pursuit of Ireland’s wildest waves. The book traces the evolution of Fergal Smith, the young Mayo man whose intuition for big waves has earned him a serious reputation and explores the world of Mickey Smith, the roving Cornish man who discovered Aileen’s and whose breathtaking surf photography has caught the Irish landscape in an entirely new and original light.

Bitter cold days, broken bones, busted boards, scars, near drownings and countless hours in the freezing water trying to read the ocean is the price they pay for those few transcendent seconds when they master a wave.

Cliffs of Insanity is about the importance of pursuing what matters in life but it is also about community and friendship, and the passionate pursuit of a way of life that flies in the face of everything championed in Ireland over the last decade.

 

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Contents

Map ix
1
Cloudbusting ll
11
Light Out for the lcrritory
47
An Elemental Pull
89
Winter Days
119
No Mans Land
133
Northern Lights
153
Macs 8 am
183
Kcskerdh Kernow
203
Day Is Done
227
Picture Acknowledgements
253
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Keith Duggan is an award-winning senior sportswriter with the Irish Times. His previous books which enjoyed great critical acclaim include The Lifelong Season: At The Heart Of Gaelic Games (Town House 2004) and House Of Pain: Through The Rooms Of Mayo Football (Mainstream 2007) which was shortlisted for the William Hill Irish Sports Book Of The Year 2008.

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