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McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland

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Despite the many exotic places Pete McCarthy has visited, he finds that nowhere else can match the particular magic of Ireland, his mother's homeland. In McCarthy's Bar, his journey begins in Cork and continues along the west coast to Donegal in the north. Traveling through spectacular landscapes, but at all times obeying the rule, "never pass a bar that has your name on it," he encounters McCarthy's bars up and down the land, meeting fascinating people before pleading to be let out at four o'clock in the morning.

Written by someone who is at once an insider and an outside, McCarthy's Bar is a wonderfully funny and affectionate portrait of a rapidly changing country.

338 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1999

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Pete McCarthy

6 books47 followers

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5 stars
2,988 (28%)
4 stars
3,737 (35%)
3 stars
2,712 (26%)
2 stars
758 (7%)
1 star
216 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 513 reviews
Profile Image for Melki.
5,800 reviews2,342 followers
March 18, 2017
Ireland, I remark, is a country with so many stories to tell.

'Yes,' he says. 'And some of them are true.'

In his travels, Pete McCarthy held one rule - . . . never pass a bar that has your name on it.

And in this enjoyable trip to the Emerald Isle, he did not pass many bars.

And there's a pub - no name displayed, but almost certainly called McCarthy's. Unfortunately, it's shut. This is a difficult concept to grasp. I've never found a pub closed in Ireland before, and I'm not sure how to cope.

His itinerary consists mainly of - I will go outside, wander about aimlessly, and see what happens.

He takes this particular journey to visit to his past, and pay homage to his heritage. In addition to checking out the local scenery, and the local pubs, McCarthy haunts old graveyards, and participates in a very uncomfortable, but worthwhile pilgrimage. Along the way, the reader will be treated to the author's philosophy on life, and his keen, frequently hilarious, observations. He offers plenty of words of wisdom like the following about always having a book along:

Luckily, I've trained myself over the years never to go anywhere without something to read, just in case someone turns up late, the meeting ends early, or I'm inadvertently imprisoned for thirty-five years and put into solitary confinement. I'm actually quite worried about those people you see on long train journeys with nothing to read, just staring blankly into the middle distance. What the hell is going on in their heads, then? Perhaps they've got excellent memories, and they're just remembering a particularly good book they once read, which saves them having to carry one round. Because there's a danger in carrying a book round: you might leave it somewhere before you've finished it. I once left my copy of Get Shorty in the back of a drunken farmer's Jeep in Costa Rica when I was only two-thirds of the way through, and it completely ruined the trip. The rainforest is a much duller place without Elmore Leonard. And I've lost Angela's Ashes twice. Does that poor kid ever grow up? Do they persuade his dad to go into rehab?

And these words to live by:

If life is a book, then read it while you can.

This is one trip worth making. McCarthy makes an excellent traveling companion.

By the way . . . did you notice the nun on the cover enjoying her pint? Bottoms up, Sister. May you at least die in Ireland.
Profile Image for Terry.
7 reviews3 followers
October 21, 2008
I was really sad to learn that Pete McCarthy had died. I really felt I was going to spend the rest of my life armchair traveling with him and laugh myself silly. The only book EVER to have me laughing out loud whilst sitting having a quiet drink. Apart from the humour you take the journey alongside him like a mate. Eat your heart out Bill Bryson. RIP Pete McCarthy
Profile Image for Rebecca.
23 reviews3 followers
September 2, 2007
As a former travel writer for a magazine, you would think I would read more travel writing. But I don't... I never find myself as invested in the characters within nonfiction as I do with fiction, so I've stayed away.

While studying for two months in Ireland and staying weekends with my family in County Cavan, I picked up this book. I regularly laughed out loud at his stories, and the uncanny truths he presented about Ireland and its people were astounding... it was an unlikely supplement to the Irish political history I'd just studied in class.

A great read for anyone about to travel to Ireland, just got back from Ireland, or simply a lover of the Irish.
1 review2 followers
March 31, 2009
I went to see my doctor today. He examined me and then told me that I may have two cracked ribs and a problem with my lower back. I told him that both my knees were painful, and my jaw ached. He asked me if I had been playing extreme sports, like boxing, or if I had taken a nasty fall. I told him neither of these. Then I thought for a minute and told him, but I have been reading McCarthy's Bar by Pete McCarthy.....and laughed 'til it hurt.
Profile Image for La Crosse County Library.
556 reviews142 followers
April 27, 2022
Review originally published July 2003
If you are looking for a non-traditional travel guide that takes you to little known, out-of-the-way places, is full of humor and reminiscent of Bill Bryson, McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery by Pete McCarthy is for you! 

McCarthy likes to get lost and take side roads. Sometimes he has a destination in mind, but often just a notion of where he wants to go, like tracking down obscure stone circles or a ruined abbey. His description of the countryside is picturesque and beautiful:

“West Cork is among the finest of Irish landscapes; not wild and melancholy and majestic, like Connemara and Mayo and Donegal, but undulating and welcoming, lush green fields rolling like waves down to the sea, always just a mile or two the left of this road.”

This book brings back fond memories of my trip to Ireland with its one-track roads, conflicting signs (many on the same post), and mileages far from accurate. Off the main roads it really is like going back in time. Outside of every pub hangs a sign depicting the name of the pub. Colorful row houses, each one a different bright color, stand side-by-side, adding to the quaintness of the towns.

The Irish are a friendly, unpretentious people and as one Englishman put it, "Do you know what I love about the Irish? The way they don’t seem to be after your money. Everyone else in the world is. But the Irish just want to know everything about you instead. I love it."

McCarthy’s knack for meeting interesting, eccentric people and telling their stories adds to the hilarity of the book. In Ireland, you don’t ask for directions directly, you start talking about something else and after exchanging much personal information, you may get an answer or, if you don’t, at least you will have had a fascinating conversation!
It is obvious McCarthy enjoys his travels as he follows the mandate “Never Pass A Bar That Has Your Name On It," but then pubs can be a source of hilarious adventures, especially with a comedian telling the story. McCarthy has his serious side too as he gives a moving account of his visit to the mass grave for potato famine victims and the grave of Michael Collins, where he finds no one else around. 

Brimming with history, McCarthy’s Bar gives us an endearing, witty understanding and appreciation of Ireland and the unique Irish people. I can’t wait to go back! 
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Profile Image for Faith.
157 reviews5 followers
December 13, 2016
I finally gave up on it about halfway through. There were lots of funny parts, and I enjoyed reading those, but I'd had enough of the "Tourism is horrible, except when I'M the tourist" attitude. Maybe I'm biased because I have a degree in tourism, but I'm so over people (not just this author) who complain about how tourism has ruined the supposedly-untouched place they used to love to visit. NEWS FLASH: YOU ARE A TOURIST, TOO. What makes it okay for you to travel there and not anyone else? There was also a lot of vitriol directed at American tourists in particular. Really original. After over a year of picking up the book, thinking, "Man, do I really have this much left to read?" I finally took Nick Hornby's advice and just stopped.
Profile Image for blueisthenewpink.
445 reviews39 followers
April 11, 2020
“The barman-shopkeeper was in his sixties, and a cardigan.” (p.35)

And so it goes on. A laugh out loud account of Pete McCarthy’s physical and spiritual journey through the West of Ireland. I just loved it. I feel my words won’t do him any justice, so I let him speak a bit more:

"‘Specially grown for flavour’, claim the supermarket’s Dutch tomatoes. Well, what other reason is there for growing tomatoes? Speed? Comfort? An ability to glow in the dark?" (p.34)

I love this kind of humour. Then, a strange thought occured to me halfway through the book. I felt like I was travelling with him when it suddenly hit me that he was no longer alive. This thought kept coming back. How can I accompany him on his journey when he is not treading this earth anymore? Does it provide any comfort for his loved ones? Do they feel being in his company again when they’re reading his book(s)? Or his absence is even more painful, probably.

Then, I completely forgot he wasn’t alive, just as he started contemplating about his own mortality. (I guess that makes sense though, dead people usually don’t ponder about it much. I think. Or maybe they do. Anyway.)

“[T]he crucial secret of human happiness: that it’s better to do a few things slowly, than a lot of things fast.” (p.272)

The book turned more serious but this didn’t spoil it at all. On the contrary, it made it better, special. A bit more than a funny guide. I guess the true talent lies somewhere there, in entertaining the reader and not taking oneself too seriously, looking at everything with a great sense of humour but acknowledging what is serious. It is even more powerful that way: when the funny guy turns grave, you know it is really important.

A final advice from Pete McCarthy:
“If life is a book, then read it while you can. Don’t save up any pages for later, because there might not be one.” (p.305)

A bit longer review here: https://blueisthenewpink.wordpress.co...

Hangosan felröhögős, nagyon szórakoztató kalauz Írország nyugati részéhez, és az emberekhez (nem csak az írekhez). Közben vele együtt keressük a helyünket a világban. Nagyon jó volt vele utazni. Sajnálom, hogy nem írja már meg azt az észak-írországit soha.
Profile Image for Sandra.
914 reviews249 followers
November 3, 2012
Non sono mai stata in Irlanda e sinceramente non è mai stata una meta da considerare tra i miei viaggi: io sono più "mediterranea" e amo poco i paesi nordici. Però devo dire che, grazie alla simpatia e allo humour dell'autore e alla bellezza dei paesaggi descritti nel libro, un pensierino sto cominciando a farlo su un probabile viaggio in Irlanda.E' stato bello condividere con l'autore il suo viaggio alla ricerca delle proprie radici familiari e la scoperta di far parte di un "clan".
Profile Image for Ken Magee.
Author 16 books79 followers
November 13, 2011
Every author needs inspiration and Pete McCarthy inspired me. McCarthy's Bar is a fantastically gentle and funny book; it grabs you from the first page. It documents his travels along the west coast of Ireland reminding those who have been what a wonderful journey that is, and making those that have not been reach for their travel brochures.

He was a successful travel writer and broadcaster and travelled the world with a programme called Travelog on Channel 4. Pete loved his time there and said "We travelled to Zanzibar and China, Fiji and Corsica, Costa Rica and Laos; stood on the edge of volcanoes, had lunch with heroes of the Crete resistance, and got caught up in a military coup in Vanuatu". This statement emphasises his passion to travel, get to know other cultures and people and undergo adventures - but things always drew him back to Ireland.

Pete has a number of travel rules e.g. Rule 8: Never pass a bar that has your name on it and Rule 13: Never ask a British Airways hostess for another glass of wine until she's good and ready. These rules appear at the start of the book - how could you not want to read on?

Pete was planning to do a follow on book about the fun side and the historical side of Northern Ireland (my part of the world). Sadly Pete McCarthy died in October 2004 before he could do it.

I thank Pete for this great book (and his second book The Road to McCarthy). Inspirational.
124 reviews16 followers
May 3, 2020
A megjelenése körül került ide hozzánk ez a könyv, azóta kerülgetem. Akkortájt akartunk Írországba utazni, az elmaradt, és a könyv is háttérbe került.
Hogy vicces lesz és szórakoztató, azt már számomra a söröző apáca is jelezte a címlapon. Helyenként tényleg olyan volt, mint valami kabaré, és volt, hogy könnyesre röhögtem magam. De végeredményben, ha visszagondolok, a poénok nagy része 1. részegséggel és kocsmázás közben elkövetett baromságokkal, 2. emberek külső megjelenésével, 3. emberek vallásával, 4. emberek nemzeti hovatartozásával kapcsolatos – ettől utólag valahogy kicsit feszeng az ember…
Írország meglátogatásához kedvet is csinál, meg nem is. Egy csomó olyan helyen jár, olyan dolgot mesél, amitől legszívesebben rögtön teleportálnám magam oda egy időre, sok részlet viszont inkább taszít, mint vonz. Ráadásul abszolút hidegen hagy mindenféle kocsmázós program, na jó, pár sört bevállalnék egy egyhetes utazás során, na de nem naponta párat! Amennyi sör (és más folyékony "táplálék") itt lefolyik Pete és haverjai, ismerősei, rokonai torkán, azzal fel lehetne tölteni egy kisebb úszómedencét. A könyvben is szó van a vitáról, hogy vajon az angolok vagy az írek isznak-e többet, úgy gondolom, nem vethetnek egymás szemére semmit.
Sok évvel ezelőtt a férjem felülvizsgálaton volt. Az orvos faggatta mindenféléről, többek között arról, hogy fogyaszt-e alkoholt. Mondta, hogy hát, igen, alkalmanként. Na de mennyit?, forszírozta a doktornő. Hát, most, hogy nyár van, meg szoktam inni egy üveg sört. Milyen rendszerességgel? Naponta. Naponta??!! Akkor maga alkoholista! Aki minden nap iszik, az alkoholista! Na de egy üveggel…. Akkor is! Ez már alkoholizmus!
Kíváncsi vagyok, mit szólna a doktornő ehhez a könyvhöz, ahol már délelőtt sörrel kezdik a napot, és napközben is vigyáznak rá, nehogy leessen az alkoholszint-mutató… Este meg addig isznak, amíg már nem tudják megkülönböztetni a mellső lábukat a hátsótól. Bár tulajdonképpen mindegy, ha az ember úgyis négykézláb vergődik haza.
Profile Image for John Nasaye.
46 reviews
April 20, 2020
Other than a few cracked ribs, I came out on the other end of this book with one anecdote about traveling: sometimes, it’s good just to get creatively lost. A sense of purpose occasionally has its place when travelling, but for the most part, it’s seriously overrated.
McCarthy chronicles his journey through his native Ireland, where he spent a bit of his early life, and his early education from the Christian Brothers who used “the carrot and stick method of education, but without the carrot.”
He flies to Cork, then hires a car to drive around, “a bog-standard repmobile with up-to-the-minute-features” and a radio he can’t work. Sometime later in the journey he gets a tyre burst, which he struggles to change because he hasn’t changed a wheel for about 15 years.
As he enjoys the simple manly pleasure of changing the wheel, he doesn’t notice the cows that have come closer to watch, with their “misty, mad, glued-up eyes and their vile dribly lips, oozing mucus.” He is unsettled as they watch him work and his concentration is all shot. Apparently, there are around 12 cow-related deaths every year.
This was one heck of a book, a kind of a self-titled travel book really. I fell out of my seat laughing while reading some of the passages and descriptions even though I’d never been to Ireland where the shops are named after saints, St. Peter, St. Mark, presumably to “Indicate divine endorsement.”
Born to an English father (of Irish descent) and an Irish mother, McCarthy explores Ireland through a hilarious travel story, and his failed attempt at reconnecting with his roots (and his relatives).
He shares the “rules of travel” all throughout the book, beginning with rule no. 8: Never Pass A Bar That Has Your Name On It.
Other rules include no. 7: Never Eat in a Restaurant with Laminated Menus, and no. 17: Never Try and Score Dope from Hassidic Jews While Under the Impression They’re Rastafarians.

Five stars from me!

I felt a wave of fresh grief when I learnt that Pete McCarthy died in 2004. I only learnt this as I tried to look for more of his books online. May his soul rest in peace.

Profile Image for Ken Magee.
Author 16 books79 followers
January 22, 2016
Every author needs inspiration and Pete McCarthy inspired me. McCarthy's Bar is a fantastically gentle and funny book; it grabs you from the first page. It documents his travels along the west coast of Ireland reminding those who have been what a wonderful journey that is, and making those that have not been reach for their travel brochures.

He was a successful travel writer and broadcaster and travelled the world with a programme called Travelog on Channel 4. Pete loved his time there and said "We travelled to Zanzibar and China, Fiji and Corsica, Costa Rica and Laos; stood on the edge of volcanoes, had lunch with heroes of the Crete resistance, and got caught up in a military coup in Vanuatu". This statement emphasises his passion to travel, get to know other cultures and people and undergo adventures - but things always drew him back to Ireland.

Pete has a number of travel rules e.g. Rule 8: Never pass a bar that has your name on it and Rule 13: Never ask a British Airways hostess for another glass of wine until she's good and ready. These rules appear at the start of the book - how could you not want to read on?

Pete was planning to do a follow on book about the fun side and the historical side of Northern Ireland (my part of the world). Sadly Pete McCarthy died in October 2004 before he could do it.

I thank Pete for this great book (and his second book The Road to McCarthy). Inspirational.
Profile Image for Dale.
Author 28 books44 followers
October 1, 2008
So here's a book that my wife recommended which was also read and enjoyed by her parents - and not just because of an affinity created by the fact that the McCaffrey family often has their name misheard, mispronounced and mistranscribed as McCarthy. More likely it's simply that they've all been to and loved Ireland, and this book is a funny, self-deprecating travelogue covering most of the island. It also introduced me to a fundamental rule of travel: if you encounter a bar with your own name over the door, you MUST go inside for a drink. Obviously this happens far more often to Pete McCarthy in Ireland than it ever has or will happen to me, BUT, it has steeled my resolve to be on the lookout for any Dale's Cantina or Glaser Festbrauhaus I might stumble across, into, and eventually out of.
Profile Image for Sharon.
359 reviews
June 5, 2011
Just one of McCarthy's travel rules was "never pass a bar that has your name on it". The author was raised in England but visited his Mother's homeland, Ireland each year. As an adult, he felt more Irish then English so he traveled through Ireland looking to validate his "Irishness". The book has some laugh out loud moments and gives some wonderful insights to the Irish people, it goes on too long on the mundane.
Profile Image for Brittanie.
524 reviews44 followers
September 26, 2011
This was a wildly entertaining book. A lot of people here have complained that McCarthy is "too English" for this to be a good book about Ireland but I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. I'm not Irish (unless you count ancestry like just about everyone else in America does) so this is a witty, charming look at Ireland from an outsider's point of view. Sure he has immediate family there and had been over the sea many times, but it still felt like this was the first journey and I could use this to help map out my own visit to Ireland. Who wants to see the same cities and things every other tourist does when you could take something like this book along and see a more behind-the-scenes Ireland.
I enjoyed the fact that, while McCarthy does take some undue cracks at Ireland and her people, he takes just as many cracks at himself and his own world view. This is an experienced traveler who isn't writing a travel novel, but is just talking to the reader as he goes on his own adventure. I like that he's not talking at you but to you through this, as if you're there with him. It made this book so much more enjoyable than the more academic travel books I've read before.
I would recommend this to anyone with a sense of humour and an interest in Ireland, even if to just expand their world view.
Profile Image for Dana Stabenow.
Author 124 books1,910 followers
February 3, 2022
This is one of those travel books that will have you on a plane before you’re halfway through it, this time to Ireland.  McCarthy was a British television personality with an Irish background and he decides to go back to Ireland to discover his roots.  He has Rules of Travel, among them

Never pass a bar with your name on it.

and he never does. Your only complaint is you aren’t along to share in the pints of Guinness he puts down.  In a purely investigatory spirit, of course. 

In addition he discovers the gravestones of the children of Lir, climbs Craigh Patrick, goes on a religious pilgrimage and eats a mouthwatering gourmet meal in an ex-convent that he very meanly doesn’t give directions to. 

He wrote a sequel, too, called "The Road to McCarthy," as in McCarthy, Alaska, which was how I discovered his books.
See also Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawkes.  When he takes the fridge surfing…okay, don’t believe me, just go read it yourself.  Advisory:  Best not to be read on a full bladder.
Profile Image for Joel Kimmel.
114 reviews
June 4, 2018
I read this book while in Ireland for three weeks and it provided a lot of insight into the country, its history, and the state of tourism there, all while being very enjoyable. Lots of good laughs too.
Profile Image for JimZ.
1,021 reviews461 followers
November 30, 2019
First published in 2000, the book sold nearly a million copies leading to McCarthy winning Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2002.
Profile Image for Crystal.
1,362 reviews51 followers
April 3, 2009
This book was a lot of fun. I didn't know much about Ireland, other than that it was green and pretty and associated with a lot of drinking and friendly people...so it was really interesting learning a little bit more about it, and getting a visual for what the people, culture, and land are like.
the premise of the book is that the author, Pete McCarthy, never goes past a pub with his name on it: Pete's, P. McCarthy's, McCarthy's, etc. so he spends a lot of time in pubs in the book, meeting interesting and often eccentric characters.
I really enjoyed the book and moved through it at a pretty steady pace. then I got to the chapter on croagh Patrick, and just hit a wall. it was like I'd been travelling with the author and was tired of being around him. I took a week or so off, and finished the rest of the book finally. I didn't love the last few chapters as much anyway. Maybe they were just too much more of the same. the chapter on St Patrick's Purgatory was my least favorite too. Perhaps the problem I had was someone who was obviously not religious trying to talk about religion. I don't know.
I also got a little tired of his deprecating view of tourists, considering that he was from England, and therefore by definition a tourist himself, and that tourism is a really big part of what has brought Ireland much of the prosperity it has been enjoying. It's almost like, having read the book, I'd like to go visit Ireland more so than before I read the book--but at the same time, I'm going to feel guilty for being so "touristy" if I do.
the book is definitely worth a read--I laughed out loud many times throughout, and learned a lot. I just wouldn't blame you if you stopped a few chapters before the end.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Quinn.
Author 7 books12 followers
September 2, 2009
I discovered this book in a shop in Roundstone during a trip to Ireland in May 2008. McCarthy, who died in 2004, was the son of an English father and Irish mother who spent many boyhood vacations in Ireland and returned as a man and well-known British travel writer with the 8th rule of travel firmly in place: "Never pass by a bar that has your name on it." So it's basically a pub-crawl, a very funny and very insightful pub crawl through the west of Ireland as the roar of the Celtic tiger began to be heard all across the island. McCarthy captures the changes wrought by sudden prosperity -- for good and ill -- with a bittersweet appreciation for what will be lost and what might be gained. He's a gregarious pub crawler and so meets tons of interested people and deftly sketches them for our enjoyment. He makes his way to a host of obscure places that some travelers might want to add to their life list -- the remote island accessible only by a single-seat cable car, for instance, and the caught-in-amber monastery still accepting pilgrim visits nowadays. And his heart is always in the right place -- up front and center - as it was when he returned to the narrow famine road on the Dingle peninsula's Slea Head, which overlooks the Blasket and Skellig islands shimmering in the Atlantic: "As I stand at the cliff's edge, a spontaneous, non-specific wave of emotion surges up inside me. I don't know where it's directed or why it's happening, only that it feels unconditional. A tear wells up in my eye....how often in your life are you confronted by a landscape whose beauty makes you weep?"
Profile Image for Annalee.
52 reviews29 followers
January 5, 2009
This has been on my shelf gathering dust for yonks so I thought I'd finally give it a go.

It is ok, it's amusing and in places laugh-out-loud funny. McCarthy takes us with him on a seeingly random journey around bits of Ireland in the early 'noughties' (the year 2000 to be exact), his main objective is to drink in all the bars named McCarthy. He meets some eccentric characters who are the mainstay of the book, it is the nosy, blunt speaking B&B landladies and the guiless wanna-be-Irish Americans that kept me reading (an American lady asks in all seriousness if County Mayo is named after the sauce!).

My interest lagged towards the end of the book, I found myself looking forward to the end of the pub crawl - but at least I now have a space on my bookshelf.
Profile Image for Karen Sawyer.
Author 9 books7 followers
March 10, 2008
An essential companion when travelling in Ireland. This is one of my all-time favourite books. I took this book with me to read the first time I went on holiday to Ireland (in a camper van with my husband, 4 kids and a dog). It's exceptionally funny, very sweet, and has loads of very interesting facts and info to boot. No better guide to travelling in Ireland will you find. Last summer, I took this to Ireland to re-read, and was moved to write to the author to thank him for writing this book - only to find that he had recently died. I was gutted. This man really had the gift of the Blarney Stone and was, in my opinion, a true Irishman.
Profile Image for Chris Nagy.
57 reviews
January 25, 2017
I liked the book and think he is a good writer. The Ireland bits are fascinating and fun, but he is xenophobic to an extreme. Americans are hugely fat and the Germans just like to march to a drum. What a negative Nancy.
That's the British for you, thinking they're better. Me, being him.
These are bitter diatribes against the human race, except for the Irish or Oirish as he puts it.
What a waste of a talent.
Too much drunken grouchy and stupid pondering.
I'm superior because I'm thin and witty.
Profile Image for Plum-crazy.
2,192 reviews39 followers
October 16, 2017
What a disappointment!! The build up to this book was big...."a wonderfully funny journey"..."...unrelentingly funny...".....& "Bryson without the boring bits". Well I like Bryson so I expected to enjoy this but those expectations were soon dashed.

Okay, I guess it was amusing enough at times but certainly not the hysterically funny read the blurb would have me believe. I only managed the occasional mental wry smile (though maybe my lips did twitch once) Which sadly means that according to one of the comments there's every chance I'm dead.....

Profile Image for Stefanie.
1,690 reviews60 followers
May 2, 2015
McCarthy is a lonely / sad British man with a distaste for Americans, which resulted in my rolling my eyes a few times through the narrative, but overall it was a solidly humorous account of his solo travels across Ireland. He visited tiny towns and tourist traps and drank impressive quantities of stout, and overall provided the reader with a feel for what it might be like to see Ireland and meet its people.
Profile Image for Beejay.
193 reviews21 followers
September 5, 2018
Loved this one. Just a fantastic read, parts of which stay with you for a long, long time - it's years since I read it - and you find yourself quoting lines that make no sense to anybody who hasn't had the pleasure of Pete McCarthy's book. A wonderfully engaging book that delivers humour, not some strange words-on-paper version of a stand-up comedy routine.
Profile Image for Virginia.
951 reviews112 followers
April 19, 2021
Bought this on a whim and totally enjoyed Pete McCarthy's accounts of his travels. Some really funny scenes and a number of very touching ones. I Googled the author and was devastated to find he'd died a few years after his second book came out. What an enormous loss. I'll still be buying this for friends as long as it's still available.
Profile Image for Sourojit Das.
218 reviews36 followers
December 22, 2017
I've read a few books on travel in Britain recently, and I'd say this one warmed the cockles of my heart. Written in the same tone as some Bill Bryson, but definitely more entertaining. Every non-teetotaler needs to give this one a read.
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