How many times over the years have we flicked through this old family heirloom roadbook? The AA Illustrated Road Book of Ireland.
This edition was published in 1970 and was often consulted on trips round the country. We loved its line drawings, its Irish place names and short but nonetheless helpful references. Later versions have better maps and descriptions but this one is the one with character and cachet.
Cachet? A word that denotes quality and distinction. Yes the book meets those criteria but drop the -t and
there is also cache, a word that refers to something hidden or concealed and the book has something to reveal there too.
Recently as part of a national heritage festival we had been discussing Holy Wells in Ireland. One that was mentioned was the Rock of Doon. Not having been there the conversation turned to - Well where exactly is it? It's north of Letterkenny, a few miles from Kilmacrenan in County Donegal.
Well, we've been there quite a few times but never at the well. So naturally, we would look it up. Internet browser? Not this time. Where else to go to but the old book?
Kilmacrennan. There it was along with its map details and gazetteer entry and a press cutting.
What? An article from a newspaper with words by a J.J. Toolett and a drawing by Gordon McKnight.
How long had that been in there? Who had put it there?
How many times we have looked through that 50 year old book, brought it with us on travels and yet somehow failed to see that cutting from years gone by. Extraordinary that it should come to light to inform our discussions. Heirloom and heritage.
The obvious next steps are to find out more information on the Rock of Doon and to make the journey - should that be pilgrimage? - with the road book and press cutting.
There will also be a reflection on that simple act of scissoring out an article and placing it for safe keeping in a treasured book.