Tim Robinson (cartographer)

Timothy Drever Robinson (1935 – 3 April 2020) was an English writer and cartographer. His most famous works include books about Ireland's Aran Islands [1] and Connemara,[2] in the West of Ireland. He was also well known for producing exceptionally detailed maps of the Aran Islands, The Burren, and Connemara, what he called "the ABC of earth wonders".[3]

Tim Robinson
Yorkshire, England
Died3 April 2020 (aged 85)
London, England
Alma materSidney Sussex College, Cambridge

Early life and educationEdit

Born in England,[4] he studied mathematics at the Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.[4]


After a career as a visual artist in Istanbul, Vienna and London, he settled in the Aran Islands, off the coast of County Galway in the 1970s, and began a detailed study of the landscape of the West Region, Ireland.[5]

Robinson produced his first map of the Aran Islands in 1975 with a second edition in 1980, and "Oileáin Árainn", an accompaniment to the map in 1996. After his initial map of Aran, in 1977, he produced a two-inch map of the uplands of North-West Clare, covering The Burren, with a second edition in 1999. In 1981, Robinson began to turn his attentions to Connemara, writing a pamphlet, later expanded into a book, called "Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara". There followed a series of recurring articles in the Connacht Tribune under the title "Mapping South Connemara". In 1990, Robinson published his 1-inch map of Connemara with an accompanying gazetteer. Like the other two regional maps, these were published by Folding Landscapes, the specialist publishing house and information centre Tim and his wife Máiréad ran from their Roundstone base.[6]

In 1987 Tim and Máiréad Robinson won the first Ford European Conservation award that was given in Ireland, and they went on to represent Ireland at the Ford European Conservation Awards in Madrid the following year, 1988.

His two-volume study of the Aran Islands, Stones of Aran, is a much-praised compendium of topographical and culture lore, described by Michael Viney as "One of the most original, revelatory and exhilarating works of literature ever produced in Ireland."[7] Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage follows the form of a coastal exploration, while Stones of Aran: Labyrinth explores the interior.

His most recent work was the publication of a three-volume study of Connemara called Listening to the Wind, A Little Gaelic Kingdom, and The Last Pool of Darkness. He was a member of the Irish arts organisation Aosdána.[8]

Robinson won two Irish Book Awards: the 2007 Argosy Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year for Connemara: Listening to the Wind,[9] and the 2011 International Education Services Best Irish-Published Book of the Year for Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Robinson died at St Pancras Hospital on 3 April 2020 at the age of 85, as a result of COVID-19 during the pandemic in the United Kingdom.[11] Robinson died two weeks after the death of his wife and collaborator Máiréad Robinson.[4]

Principal publicationsEdit

  • Map of Árainn (Connacht Tribune, 1975, and 1980)
  • The Burren: A Map of the Uplands of North-West County Clare (1977)
  • Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (The Lilliput Press, 1986)
  • Connemara: A One-Inch Map, with Introduction and Gazetteer (Folding Landscapes, 1990)
  • Mementos of Mortality: the centographs of funerary cairns of Arainn (Folding Landscapes, 1991)
  • Conamara Theas: Áit agus Ainm, Tim Robinson and Liam Mac Con Iomaire (Coiscéim, 1992)
  • Stones of Aran: Labyrinth (Lilliput Press, 1995)
  • Connemara after the famine : journal of a survey of the Martin Estate by Thomas Colville Scott, 1853 with introduction from Tim Robinson (Lilliput Press, 1995)
  • Oileáin Arann: A Map of the Aran Islands, with a Companion to the Map (Folding Landscapes, 1996)
  • Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara (The Lilliput Press, 1996)
  • The Burren: A Map of the Uplands of North-West County Clare (Folding Landscapes, 1999)
  • My Time in Space (The Lilliput Press, 2001)
  • Tales and Imaginings (The Lilliput Press, 2002)
  • Connemara: Listening to the Wind (Penguin Ireland, 2006)
  • Connemara: The Last Pool of Darkness (Penguin Ireland, 2008)
  • Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom (Penguin Ireland, 2011)



  1. ^ Tim Robinson, "Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage", (Dublin, Lilliput Press, 1986) and "Stones of Aran: Labyrinth", (Dublin, Lilliput Press, 1995).
  2. ^ Tim Robinson, "Listening to the Wind", (Dublin, Penguin Press, 2007), "The Last Pool of Darkness", (Dublin, Penguin Press, 2008), "A Little Gaelic Kingdom", (Dublin, Penguin Press, 2012).
  3. ^ Tim Robinson, Setting Foot on the Shores of Connemara and Other Writings, (Dublin, Lilliput Press, 1996).
  4. ^ a b c Simon Carswell Public Affairs Editor. "Acclaimed Connemara writer Tim Robinson dies at 85 from coronavirus". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  5. ^ Siggins, Lorna (25 October 2015). "Tim Robinson: a life of three halves". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  6. ^ "University of Exeter - Tim Robinson". humanities.exeter.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  7. ^ Michael Viney, review of The Stones of Aran Archived 2012-02-29 at the Wayback Machine, Irish Times.
  8. ^ "Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom, By Tim Robinson". The Independent. 2011-12-16. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  9. ^ Irish Book Awards: Previous Winners Archived 2011-11-17 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Irish Book Awards: 2011 Awards Archived 2009-05-25 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Author and cartographer Tim Robinson dies from coronavirus". Rte.ie. Retrieved 2020-04-04.

External linksEdit