MAXWELL, W.H. Wild Sports of The West. With Legendary Tales, and Local Sketches. Illustrated with five steel engravings and twelve vignettes. Two volumes. ” London: Richard Bentley, 1832. First edition. pp. (1) xvi, 327, (2) viii, 343. Bound by Jenkins of Reading in contemporary full calf, title and volume number on double burgundy labels on spine. Armorial bookplate of Anthony Storer on front pastedown. Occasional browning, a very good set of the rare first edition. Very scarce. Acknowledged as the finest book ever written on the West of Ireland. A truly remarkable work by a remarkable author, treating the wild sport, folklore and traditions of that romantic and untouched Erris peninsula. Maxwell was a lively and gifted story-teller with a genuine interest in the ordinary people and how they lived. Born at Newry in 1792, he was educated locally and later went to Trinity. He took holy orders and was transferred to the prebendary of Balla, Co. Mayo, an area which afforded good shooting and fishing.
Having befriended the Marquis of Sligo, he was given the use of his shooting box, Croy Lodge, at Ballycroy. It was here he spent most of his time fishing, shooting and pursuing his literary career. It was in the Officers’ Mess at Castlebar Barracks, that he heard all the army gossip. Being a good listener and with an excellent memory he put pen to paper and wrote ‘Stories of Waterloo’. He wrote a total of twenty books in all. He died near Edinburgh in destitute circumstances in 1850. 1832 MAXWELL, William Hamilton.