A Breath of Fresh Éire
Size: 180 mm x 130 mm
Publisher: Beehive Books
Review by Paul Clayton-Lea,
July/August Intercom 2022
In her preface Olga Balaeva describes A Breath of Fresh Eire, her latest publication as ‘a personal declaration of love for the natural Irish beauty.’
For those who grew up with the natural Irish beauty the appreciation is often less keen then for those who have discovered Ireland such as Olga, a Moscow born linguist, writer and Gaeilgeoir who has already published a user-friendly guide to the Irish language. Using her other great skill as a photographer Olga illustrates her rhapsody about islands, cities, mountains, sacred spaces and seasons with small but lavish photographs that feature the most attractive aspects and lighting of landmarks and ancient buildings. However, the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words may not quite fit in this instance because Olga’s gift for words is at least equal to her eye as a photographer and her lyrical descriptions linger in the mind and draws the reader back to reflect again on the carefully chosen words and phrases.
Over 5 chapters and 125 pages we are invited to revisit many familiar and perhaps also taken for granted beauties on our doorstep. Flowers and oceans, the four seasons and four corners of the island all form part of this word and image tapestry prompting us to look again and love with new eyes the land that Olga Balava has fallen for. She well fulfils the description of being more Irish than the Irish and this small but perfectly formed publication is a rare gem.
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A Breath of Fresh Éire is a collection of essays, accompanied by stunning photographs, that celebrates the beauty of the Irish landscape and showcases both famous landmarks and lesser-known locations. A Breath of Fresh Éire focuses on experiencing nature in a mindful way, reflecting on the heritage of a place and tuning into emotions that interaction with natural beauty evokes. Whether you have always lived here, made Ireland your new home or are just visiting, A Breath of Fresh Éire invites you to come a step closer to the seemingly forbidding beauty of wild Ireland. Observe, marvel, listen – and let nature fill your heart with inspiration, joy and peace.
About the author
Olga Balaeva is a linguist, a writer and a Gaeilgeoir living in Dublin. Born in Moscow, Olga completed her BA at Moscow State University and her MSt at Oxford University. Olga’s first book, Ireland AS Gaeilge: A User-Friendly Guide to the Irish Language, was published in 2017. She primarily writes creative non-fiction with a particular focus on Irish-interest topics. Olga has an online publication in Irish on Tuairisc.ie as well as a flash fiction publication in the Clover & White online literary magazine. Apart from writing and languages, Olga’s other passion is hiking around Ireland and finding inspiration and joy in close engagement with nature.