P.J. Sullivan's Reviews > McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland

McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy
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Oct 14, 12

bookshelves: travel, humor, history, ireland, funny, humorous, humour, sociology, wit, satire
Read in December, 2011, read count: two times

This bloke is more cynical than I am, but he makes it work. Very funny book, hilarious at times. A solitary traveler’s eye view of modern Ireland, spoiled by modernity and money. Makes me grateful that I once had a chance to experience “a touch of De Valera’s Ireland” before it became “the Celtic Tiger.”

He would be a gifted people watcher but for his tendency to imagine the worst. He is fair to the Irish. After all, he is half Irish himself. He has mixed emotions about tourists, especially the “heritage” crowd, touring Yanks, “high on life and diet Coke.” He takes a dim view of the Christian Brothers, but has reasons: “I was taught by the Christian Brothers by the carrot and stick method of education, but without the carrot.”

Everywhere in Ireland he sees “fake pubs and theme parks” and regrets the good old days when the whole country was a folk park, “but no one had thought to sell tickets.” He wonders where he belongs. Is Ireland Irish anymore? Has it sold its soul to the tourist bonanza? Has it become a parody of itself?

A vivid and rather grotesque picture of modern Ireland. Worth the cover price—it might even save you the cost of a holiday in Ireland. Very entertaining read.

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Quotes P.J. Liked

“If you've had the right kind of education, it's amazing how many things you can find to feel guilty about.”
Pete McCarthy, McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland


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