It is hard to surpass the elegance of the words of
Percy French when he described how ‘the
Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea’.
Mourne is situated in the south of County Down
and is dominated by the mountains that take
their name from the area.
The Mountains of
Mourne are a relatively small range, both in terms
of the area covered and the heights of the peaks,
but this modesty is deceptive and belies their
extraordinary importance for thousands of years
in shaping the northeast corner of the island. The
mountains were an important natural defence for
the Kingdom of Mourne where the Mughdhorna
settled in the twelfth century and they became of
key importance in the development of Belfast as
a population centre in the 1900s.
status in 1888, the Water Commissioners of
Belfast turned to the Mournes to provide the
water needed for the rapidly growing city.The
construction of the Silent Valley Dam and the
22-mile Mourne Wall changed not only the
mountains but also the economic outlook for
the whole of the country.
This beautifully illustrated book with more than
140 colour photographs explores not only the
mountains themselves, but also the area from
which they take their name and the people who
live and work there.
Simon Watterson’s fascination with
the natural world initially led to a
career in science. However, photography
allowed him to explore nature
in a different way and in 2007 he
broke away from science to concentrate
on photography. A finalist in
several major photographic
competitions, he has also had work
published in the national press and
various magazines. Portrait of Mourne
follows on from his successful first
book, Portrait of the Northern Ireland
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 84114 844 1, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages. Published April 2010.