Uncertain and tentative 'rooting around' becomes a celebration of 2,000 years of Celtic history and culture.
For three months author Joseph Murphy walked through townlands and communities and over bogs and mountains, enduring blisters, heat waves and cloud bursts.
He connected the places where Gaelic language and culture are strongest today, encountering Celtic Christian monks, great poets and painters, traditional musicians and language scholars along the way.
Although often tragic and traumatic, Gaelic culture shines through his account as something precious and remarkable.
Taking the region's history and culture as his starting point, Joseph wonders what the future holds and what the meaning of sustainable development is for this coastline.
He highlights the deep cultural significance of 'exile and place' – deoraíocht agus dúthchas. Learning lessons from conflicts over the Corrib gas terminal in Erris and a wind farm on Lewis, and building on new grass root initiatives like land buy-outs, he makes a passionate case for community as the starting point for sustainability.
This is a personal story too as Joseph reflects on his own identity – of Irish descent but born in England – and the history of his family.
What begins as an exploration of identity becomes a grateful acknowledgement of any connection with Gaelic culture as a hereditary gift. With extensive use of Gaelic throughout (Irish and Scottish) this is a unique publication.
Of particular interest to west of Ireland readers is Joseph's journey through Galway, Mayo and Sligo and in particular his trek over the Bangor Trail, which he described as 'the most magnificent day of wild walking of my journey from Kerry to Lewis'.
Joseph Murphy is a senior research fellow in the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds.
Before taking up his current position he was a senior research fellow at Mansfield College, University of Oxford.
He hads a PhD in environment politics and had published widely on environmental issues and sustainable development, including numerous articles and four previous books.
At the Edge is published by Sandstonepress and retails at £11.99.