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Pint-Sized Ireland: In Search of the Perfect Guinness

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  271 ratings  ·  59 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
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 731)
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Edy
"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
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Cari
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.
David
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
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Nicole
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
Dustin Gaughran
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
Kyle
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
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Georgie
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
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Ann Bateman


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
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Todd
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
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gini
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.
Allison
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
Meghan
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!
B

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.
Ellen
Oct 08, 2007 Ellen rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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.
Elizabeth
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.
Jennifer
Jul 30, 2008 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Jason
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
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."
Tom
"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
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.
Paulette
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!
PastAllReason
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.
MikeFromQueens
Funny and entertaining, this light read gave me some things to consider on my next tour of the the Emerald Isle. Certainly, I will be heading to Croagh Patrick, as well as searching for the perfect pint - it's moothers milk!
Molly
Got pretty boring in the middle, but I guess it's an alright travelogue. There wasn't a whole lot of connections with people though and only a glimpse of the culture, not real descriptive of the scenery; I was hoping for more...
Haley
Excellent book to read in preparation for a trip to Ireland! This funny Australian author details great scenes of the pubs he visits, and the characters he runs into. Very well-rounded and covers major cities.
David Pincus
Well, for one it's an exhibit in good marketing. If the book was called "travels in Ireland" I probably wouldnt've read it. I really liked it, and Ireland just go bumped up on my travel list
Jen
This book was the last book my mother gave me. She knew of my love for my heritage and it contains the last inscription before she died.
This book was a fun read and I will cherish it.
Emilymenz
I read this before our trip to Ireland in 2008, and it helped me plan our trip in a more enjoyable way than just reading travel guides could do. I liked the author's sense of humor.
Tracy Strianese
I didn't think I would like reading about someone else's vacation, but I definitely enjoyed this book. It's funny, has great characters, and is a fun, informative read.
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