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Pint-Sized Ireland: In Search of the Perfect Guinness

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  323 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
One man's tour of Ireland on tap; a rollicking travelogue in the tradition of Round Ireland with a Fridge and McCarthy's Bar.

"Regret" is the word that best describes Evan McHugh's first taste of Guinness. For an Australian raised on Vegemite, Ireland's black brew is very much an acquired taste. But the travel-writer is committed to acquiring it. Determined to discover exac
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 907)
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Nov 18, 2007 Edy rated it liked it
"Maybe it's just me, but I suspect that most men dream of having women fight over them. In The Laurels, that dream was nearly fulfilled." (p 98)

I like the author's historical asides, particularly one in which he describes Ireland's origins. Instead of travelling around killing people and conquering places, in the 6th century, a bunch of Christian monks decided to basically just go to this island and read, read, read. They influenced the pursuant settlers, and Ireland is now the best read country
Jul 18, 2010 Cari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice blend of travelogue, cultural study, history, humor, and drinking--lots of drinking. The best Guinness is (obviously) the one you have in your hand, but it never hurts to circle around Ireland doing 'research.' I giggled quite a bit, laughed out loud more than once, and by the time I finished, I found myself really wanting a pint. Nicely done.
Jul 29, 2015 Natalie rated it really liked it
I need to travel around Ireland drinking in pubs. Stat.

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge - A funny book
Gina Morphy
Jan 19, 2016 Gina Morphy rated it really liked it
Evan McHugh takes you on the ultimate pub crawl across Ireland in search of the perfect Guinness. This is a great travel book with quirky characters. I found it very relatable as I read about tourists stepping over the barriers at the Cliffs of Moher, hoping the bus would leave without certain passengers, and especially the friendliness of the Irish. It definitely made me yearn to go back to Ireland and explore more of the country. Even though I don't indulge in the gargle, I liked how McHugh ul ...more
A description of a tipsy tour of Ireland, complete with a little map decorated with iconic glasses of Guinness at each of the stops. McHugh writes a little like Bill Bryson. I like the style.

When I flipped the book open in the store, this is the paragraph that caught my eye and landed it in my hand to go home with me:

"Another term the Irish use to describe Guinness is 'moother's milk'. Considering it resembles liquid coal capped with a layer of densely packed froth of a colour one normally assoc
Mar 18, 2014 Nicole rated it liked it
I don't drink alcohol, but I would love to visit Ireland and thought this sounded like a cute way to present a travel memoir. McHugh is a good writer and I enjoyed that he wrote the dialogue how he heard it: "Would a short roid in a taxi be alroit? It wouldn't cost ye mooch". He and his traveling companion, Twidkiwodm, carried backpacks, hitchhiked, and stayed in hostels, so the book was a much about the type of people he met in private vehicles and hostels as those who frequent pubs ("poobs). M ...more
Mark Farley
Jun 12, 2015 Mark Farley rated it liked it
A humorous and entertaining effort from a Australian couple who start upon a holiday in Ireland and, in probably only his eyes, embark on a quest to find where the perfect pint of Guinness is. Whether it is in the brewery in Dublin or best serve within the city walls or afar is debatable but this authors story seems to be one of coming across locals who tell of folklore or pass saged wisdom only to find that down the next part of their hitch hiked odyssey is that its a load of 'ould shoite' and ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Meg rated it really liked it
Highly enjoyable and charming. Feels like a trip to Ireland in one blast.
Dustin Gaughran
Sep 26, 2011 Dustin Gaughran rated it liked it
I liked the premise of this book. It's about finding the perfect pint of Guinness. And in order to do this, the author reasons, you have to go to Ireland. I can get on board with that. The first third of the book is fun. It details his arrival in Ireland, and the many pubs his Irish friends and guides take him to. The remaining two thirds of the book is literally a travelogue. Mind you, it isn't terrible. It's just that the theme deviates a little. At the start, it's all about the beer and the p ...more
I've wanted to read this book for quite some time, and I'm glad that I finally got the chance to do so. I love Guinness, I've always wanted to go to Ireland, and this appeared to be a book about both of those things - what's not to like? And though the book differed from my expectations, it's still incredibly entertaining.

I've read quite a few books about people traveling in Ireland (and quite a few about Guinness), and this ranks as one of the better ones, certainly right up there with Round Ir
Feb 09, 2013 Georgie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
now *this* is what I was expecting (and didn't get) when I picked up 'McCarthy's Bar'.
Australian Evan McHugh goes to Ireland with his girlfriend of sorts (who he'd later marry) Twidkiwodm/Michelle and travels around the country. The main point of his trip is to find the 'perfect Guinness' so he visits a *lot* of bars, where he often gets friendly with the locals and other travellers from all around the world - several of whom he and Michelle actually meet more than once. But whichever bar he go
Ann Bateman
Sep 25, 2013 Ann Bateman rated it really liked it

The book opens with the author and his eventually-to-become-his-wife travel partner taking the ferry from Wales to Ireland.
“Choosing a ferry for our first taste of Guinness was a classic right time, wrong place situation. I know this now. Wrong. Very, very wrong. The taste was of something that had died a horrible death…. For a horrifying moment I suspected there had been a terrible misunderstanding of my pronunciation and what I had actually asked for was the ferry’s bilge. I was sure I knew
Feb 22, 2009 Todd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pint-sized Ireland is a fun and engaging read. The author shares his vacation around Ireland that evolves into the search for the perfect pint of Guinness.

Evan and his traveling companion go from the worst Guinness they can imagine to finding the answer to where to find the perfect pint. Their journey takes them up one side of Ireland and back down the other.

Along the way they are carted, cajoled, and cared for by the locals and fellow travelers. They find that Ireland has more pubs than hotel
Feb 29, 2016 Jonelle rated it really liked it
I like travel memoirs, and this is one that includes places I've been. A few great "travel is life" wisdom nuggets, too, make this a good find. Don't let the title fool you--it's not really about beer drinking; there's a real theme throughout and travelers who have hitched, and hostelled, and trudged will appreciate a lot of this book.
Aug 09, 2014 gini rated it really liked it
at first i thought his attempt at talking slang was going to get on my nerves byt quickly settled into the story telling and adventure, reliving places along their route that we visited - left me with a longing to return, share a pint and continue to explore. Very enjoyable read.
Mar 13, 2016 Marti rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Funny informative travel book about two Australians, Evan and the-woman-he-would-one-day-marry, drinking their way through Ireland in search of the perfect Guinness. The book came out in 2008 and there was a lot of hitch-hiking in it so I found myself wondering if that's still common in Ireland or if the events of the book took place a good deal before 2008. I know hitch-hiking is much more common and safe in Europe than it is here but I was just wondering.
Jun 09, 2013 Allison rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
This is an enjoyable easy read that provides the reader/future traveler with an insight into the Irish community from the perspective of a backpacking world traveler. McHugh documents his search of the best pint of Guinness in Ireland and the adventures, cultural experiences and friendships made along the way, through hostel stays and hitch-hiking, pub crawling and mountain climbing. He offers readers a travel experience outside of the typical tour guided trip that can lead to a variety of oppor ...more
Jul 14, 2008 Meghan rated it liked it
I saw this book in Davis Kidd, drawn to it by its cover(I'm a sucker for Guinness). I got it for my birthday and started reading it that night...only to hit a slump. It was OK. I love Ireland, craic, pints, traveling, but McHugh was a man and an Australian to boot. Somehow, his writing and my absorption didn't connect. His best writing was in the final chapter "last drinks" where I found I couldn't agree with him more. The best pints of Guinness are found...well, read it and find out! Slainte!
Feb 11, 2015 Eric rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, memoires
Not as good as 'Round Ireland with a Fridge'. A bit mellow. Would have probably made a pretty good magazine article. The closing comment by the author was nice, but I'm not sure it was worth that long of a read to get to it.

As a travelogue this is brilliant..humorous, insightful, and colorful. There were many things I loved about this book, (written by an Australian who hitchhiked through Ireland a few weeks), but most of all I loved that he spelled the words that the Irish spoke to him as they sound, such as Dooblin for Dublin, ejeet for idiot, shoot oop for shut up, moit for might, dere for there etc. I loved this book so much, I've already ordered my own copy.
Oct 08, 2007 Ellen rated it liked it
Recommends it for: beer drinkers, travelers
Shelves: travel
I think I'd actually like to give this 3-1/2 stars, but I can't. This is about the author's (Australian) travels through Ireland to find the perfect pint of Guinness. He comes to the conclusion >>spoiler alert!!!<<< that the perfect pint is the one you have in your hand, wherever you are. It was pretty funny and his adventures interesting. Mostly I liked it because I want to visit Ireland myself, so I kind of felt like I was there.
Pam Lindholm-levy
Aug 16, 2011 Pam Lindholm-levy rated it really liked it
The book is 10 years old, but then, it sounds like nothing much changes in Ireland, so I took notes on pub names in case we're in some of the same towns on our up-coming trip. McHugh ran into, or almost drowned with, some interesting characters, such as the German bagpiper in the rowboat.
I look forward to drinking Guinness in Ireland, but doubt I'll have as many as McHugh and his friends did.
This was given to me as a gift before I left for Ireland, and I read it on and off during my stay here and thoroughly enjoyed it. The author and Twidkiwodm (an acronym for "The woman I didn't know I would one day marry") cover a lot of ground, and their country-wide pub crawl results in a light-hearted travel memoir, packed with fun facts and observations. A great vacation read.
Jul 30, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Guinness lovers
Shelves: food-science, travel
Not everyone loves Guinness, but for those who do, here's an entertaining read by an Australian who decides to travel all around Ireland, following the locals' advice as to where to find a perfectly pulled brew. The author gives a rollicking good impression of the excellent craic found in Irish pubs: music, storytelling, camaraderie, and, of course, Guinness.
Jul 12, 2011 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fun and quick read, a travelogue told from the perspective of a guy in search of the perfect beer. Along the way McHugh provides some vivid descriptions of Ireland's pristine countryside, the age-old pubs and historical landmarks, and the warmth of the Irish people that make the island such a popular destination.
Kris Dinnison
Jul 31, 2007 Kris Dinnison rated it really liked it
I gave this to my dad for father's day, and after watching him read it and giggle the whole way through, I borrowed it and did the same. It is a funny travelogue full of interesting fellow travelers. It made me pine for that trip to Ireland that I have wanted to take since I first saw "The Quiet Man."
Mar 21, 2009 Tom rated it it was amazing
Shelves: booze, travel
"The perfect Guinness is really just a matter of being in the right place at the right time." This is a fun book, The author is going around Ireland drinking Guinness at any pub. Even though there are better Irish stouts than Guinness, the above quote from the book still holds true.
Terre Poppe
Dec 25, 2008 Terre Poppe rated it really liked it
My nephew recommended this as I love Guinness. I loved the book, especially because it was also a tour of Ireland, so I saw some of the country through it. There was a bit too much drinking in it for me personally, but I should have expected that from the title. A fun read.
Jul 23, 2010 Paulette rated it really liked it
This is a humorous journey through the pubs and historic sites of Ireland as Evan McHugh and his companion Michelle search for the perfect pint of Guinness. A very enjoyable book that’s easy to read. The spellings of the Irish accents brings the language to life!
Aug 02, 2009 PastAllReason rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, read-2009
I really enjoyed this book, and the author's style. Though its title is about finding the perfect pint of Guinness, the book is quite a lot more with vivid descriptions of people that they met, and the places that they went while travelling around Ireland.
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