J.B. Malone – Walking Trails Pioneer

Photos by Rob O' Connor (www.rocshot.com)

The J.B. Malone: Walking Trails Pioneer Exhibition, which was launched at the County Library, Tallaght last week, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of J.B. Malone, the prime mover behind the establishment of Irish walking routes such as the Wicklow Way, and a passionate advocate of hill-walking as a recreation activity.

County Librarian Kieran Swords with Mayor Fintan Warfield

County Librarian Kieran Swords with Mayor Fintan Warfield

John James Bernard Malone was born in Leeds on 13th December 1913, the son of Irish parents. He came to Ireland at the age of eighteen and shortly after his arrival, he began to explore the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. It was the start of what was to become a lifelong involvement with country walking, the fruits of which can be seen in the many articles he wrote for the Evening Herald from 1938 until 1975.

Rose and John Malone with Mayor Fintan Warfield

Rose and John Malone with Mayor Fintan Warfield

In 1940 he joined the army and was trained as a cartographer, in which capacity he served until 1947. In that year he took up employment with the Department of Posts and Telegraphs as a draughtsman, and married Margaret Garry, with whom he had three children. In 1950 his first book, The Open Road, was published by Independent Newspapers, followed in 1964 by Walking in Wicklow.

J.B., as he became known, had a deep interest in many subjects including history and architecture, and in 1966 he got together with the artist Liam C. Martin to produce a series of illustrated articles on lesser-known aspects of well-known Dublin places and buildings. The first of these daily articles appeared in the Evening Herald in January 1967, illustrated with Martin’s pen and ink drawings. They were eventually to complete upwards of fifteen hundred articles and a book with the same name as the column, Know Your Dublin, was published by Sceptre Books in 1968.

J.B. Malone's desk

J.B. Malone’s desk

The J.B. Malone: Walking Trails Pioneer Exhibition runs at the County Library, Tallaght until 22nd November 2014.

A listing and index of J.B.’s articles in the Evening Herald is available in Source.

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