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The House on an Irish Hillside

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  270 ratings  ·  46 reviews
This is the story of how one woman's life was transformed by a remarkable village on the Dingle peninsula in Ireland. It's a life-affirming tale of rediscovering lost values and cherishing loved ones and the communities we live in.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Hodder General Publishing Division (first published June 7th 2012)
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3.97  · 
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 ·  270 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Felicity Hayes-McCoy tells a compelling story of the Kerry region that she adopted. Although she gre up in Dublin she went to London to learn and practice her profession (acting, writing, playwriting). Descendant of Galway and Eniscorthy folk, she developed an early love for the Irish language which first took her to the rural Dingle peninsula. Caught up in a busy London career, she purchases an old house and is drawn into the ancient cycles of rural Irish life. Hayes-McCoy's love of the Irish l ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Felicity Hayes-McCoy lives on a peninsula on the west coast of Ireland, where living is at a completely different pace and community is vital to everyday life. A place where myth, song and storytelling are not only as ancient as the ocean and hills around them, but just as much a part of today's culture. Filled with profound insights and lovely lessons on living a life of depth and meaning. This book is a gem of a memoir, a definite keeper.

Highly recommended.
Dorothy Fitzgerald
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
i was able to read this while i was living in the exact location that the story takes place, Dingle, Ireland.
i would have enjoyed this book regardless, but being able to walk the roads where the story takes place, certainly influenced me. This is a well written book, well researched and honest to the culture of the location. This is a memoir and travel book. If you have been to Dingle, or are going to Ireland this is a good book to read. And if you just want to go to Ireland.... but can't.... t
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a true love story between Felicity and the spectacularly beautiful Dingle Peninsula. From the day of her arrival as a student of Irish at the age of 17, the magic of the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, in the south-west of Ireland filtered into her heart and mind down the years, the incessant ‘pull’ culminating in herself and her English husband buying Tí Neillí Mhuiris – (The house of Nellie, daughter of Muris), a house built from stones picked from the fields and remembered with ...more
Fiona  Linday
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This clever memoir writing seems like an indulgence. The book takes you to Felicity's home and to numerous story scenes. There are contrasts in setting and peoples but always a warmth and the feeling of being welcome.The rich writing handles description of places and traditions remarkably well and intertwines that with the use of music and word.You can almost hear the ocean and smell the mountain air of Western Ireland.She talks of a landscape representing memories that shouldn't be destroyed an ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and would happily read it again. Felicity Hayes-McCoy tells her life tale along with that of two places, time, and the memories and myths of those places across time with marvelously vivid imagery.. As I read, I felt peaceful, adventurous, and inspired. A feat which no book has driven me to in a long time. Hayes-McCoy masterfully wove together so many threads of her life into this piece.
Jean St.Amand
Feb 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn't realize until I started reading that it wasn't a story, it was true...I only managed to get to page 25 and was so bored I just had to stop because life is too short.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much, because it brought me to an area of Ireland that has captured my heart. If circumstances in my life were different I would choose to do exactly as Felicity and Wilf have done and make Corca Dhuibhne my second home. I feel like I’m home every time I go there.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Poignant and clear headed. Read it.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book in the Dingle Bookshop as I left the peninsula, and read it in airports and aeroplanes on my way back from Ireland to New Zealand. It was a lovely way to name all the things I love about home and it brought the realisation that what's important is bringing the quality of life that Felicity describes to whatever place you live in. Life here in rural NZ is not the same as life in Corca Dhuibhne, the strands don't overlap and weave together in the same way as they do there. But s ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I wish I had a better word for it than "love," because it took me right back to the two weeks we spent on Slea Head a few years ago. Everything I felt about Dingle and Slea Head and Dunquin and Ventry and all of the little villages surrounding Slea Head and the Blasket Islands...all of it is in this book.

The Dingle Peninsula is a magical place, and I really wasn't particularly familiar with all of the Celtic history, but Hayes-McCoy gives a good history of how those traditions
Molly Ewing
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
My enthusiasm for this book may be partly due to the fact that I picked it up from an Eason's in Carlow, and read it while traveling to and around the locations where it is set on the Dingle Peninsula. It is a lovely memoir, incorporating elements of Irish history, mythology and anthropology with the very personal story of finding, purchasing, and renovating a traditional cottage, learning the wisdom of a specific place, and becoming part of a small community "out back" in the Gaeltalk village o ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a rich, layered story of an Irish woman and her English husband, discovering a place of beauty, stories, and community. They restored a house on the western end of the Dingle pennisula and became part of an ancient place with legends, music, and the history of dependency on the land and survival in hard times. Hayes-McCoy weaves all this together with some of the beloved Irish language thrown in. It's a story you live in and then come back out into a very different place, longing to ret ...more
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is part memoir, part history, part love story from an author who was born in Ireland went to live, work and establish herself in London, then returned to the remote, Irish speaking area of the Dingle Peninsula. She found community, friendship, wisdom, a deep love of the Irish and their/her true language, as well as a great peace of mind from learning to live slower in her little stone cottage with her husband Wilf. Here she finds her place in the remembered/retold history of the hills, her ...more
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this immediately it was published and loved every minute of it. I've just been prompted to comment here while reviewing her most recent book. This is a wonderful description of a journey to a less stressful existence, memories of story-telling, making new friends and learning old ways on the western-most tip of Ireland. It is a great read, I highly recommend you take a look - I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done-reading
I loved this book! I read it after visiting Dingle and the area surrounding it even though I had it before then I chose to see the area first then read it. I couldn't put it down. She tells about the area in a way a true story teller should, bringing culture, people, government, economy and traditions all together. She describes the people and land everyone can relate to and made me love the area even more.
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm taking a trip to Ireland next summer. This book made me want to leave on the next plane. Felicity Hayes-McCoy is an author of the highest caliber...she blends words and weaves the stories, places and people together to make this a most delightful read. To say I enjoyed it just isn't praise enough. I loved it!
Tamara Willems
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, bringing to life the sights, sounds and smells, rooted in tradition and a rich community life. All perfectly described as to paint a glorious picture, leaves one feeling like they have just visited an enchantingly loving time and place and coming away perfectly rested and restored by the beauty of the earth.
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite memoirs of all time. Inspirational, beautiful in imagery and scenery, and full of life and music. I love the focus on the seasons, the ancient stories, and on community. I can't wait to go back to the Dingle Peninsula and I'm hoping to meet the author, Felicity Hayes-McCoy, on my next trip to Ireland.
Joanne Dillon
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely memoir, gentle and caring. Anyone who loves Ireland, especially the west coast and Kerry, will enjoy it. Felicity Hayes-McCoy mixes Celtic myths, Irish traditions and tales of modern living in a wonderful, sometimes humorous book. I recommend it.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eire-land
I loved this memoir of the author's life on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, a most beautiful land! I loved how she weaves in Irish mythology, Celtic lore, and observations about the landscape.
This was my bedtime story book to give me sweet dreams of Ireland!It took me right there!
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i loved this book! it was so beautifully written and, to put it simply, it made me smile. i could visualize everything as i read and it made my heart ache to be there, to live a life filled with beauty, community and memories. this book is a true treasure.
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Been to Dingle twice and her descriptions of the people and their ways helped me understand my own parents ways. They left Ireland in the late 40's to come to America but kept their ways and good naturedness and humor.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well-written and very engrossing. I enjoyed it a lot. It was a lovely blend of personal experience, history, and folklore. I'll definitely read more if I can find them.
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved the history and reading about her experiences in London and Ireland
Taz Mack
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
House On An Irish Hillside by Felicity Hayes-McCoy was a bit of a shot in the dark for me because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I bought the book because I wanted to read more autobiographical or memoir based writing to help me with another project I’m working on and so the concept seemed appropriate. In fact, the book, while most definitely a memoir, is much more significant than simply an account of one life (or in this case two). It captured a snapshot of a country way of life and culture tha ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Corca Dhuibhne sounds like a wonderful place to live although it seems to have taken the author a while to understand her inner desire to live there. Many visits and escapes from London finally resulted in the purchase of an old house with history and memories. The author tells stories that weave together to tell the larger story of the people, mythology, music, and life of the Dingle Peninsula and Ireland as a whole. It is very interesting and echoes the stories and mythologies of other peoples ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group
This charming book makes a satisfying conclusion to an accidental journey that I and my book group have travelled over the past year, I found little that was new in it, but enjoyed the personal perspective on the choice between a traditional and contemporary lifestyle and all that they have to offer. The writer's ability to capture the detail of her surroundings is strong and her writing is sensual and evocative. Possibly best appreciated l if you have visited the west of Ireland (which I have n ...more
Dr. Jahn L. Forth-Finegan
A great immersion in being present, loving what you are doing and where you are, and loving the people, past and present who wander in and out of your life. A great meditation on Ireland. This book pulls you in and welcomes you to a culture that is fading into dreamtime. A wonderful journey without packing a bag.

I would recommend this book for anyone seeking Ireland. It is a cultural guide, a mystical map, an enticement and a rich journey.

Jeanne Lambrianou
I'm just done and I want to read it again!

So now I've mentally been to Ireland! If you armchair travel as I do, you'll appreciate the story-telling of this book. It weaves "now" and "then", country and city, food and music and hard physical work. I found myself pulling for Felicity and Wilf in all their plans. A good, solid read; nice writing style.
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Irish writer Felicity Hayes-McCoy is the author of the "Finfarran" novels, set in a fictional county on Ireland's West Coast. Cathy Kelly, bestselling author of "Between Sisters" and "Secrets of a Happy Marriage", describes Felicity's Finfarran books as "a delicious feast", and "sunshine on the page", while Jenny Colgan, New York Times bestselling author of "The Cafe by the Sea", calls them "charm ...more
“This book tells my story. I’m writing it in Ireland, in a house on a hillside. The house sits low in the landscape between a holy well and the site of an Iron Age dwelling. It was built of stones ploughed out of the fields by men who knew how to raise them with their hands and to lock one stone to the next so each was firm. It’s a lone house on the foothills of the last mountain on the Dingle peninsula, the westernmost point in mainland Europe. At night the sky curves above it like a dark bowl, studded with stars.

From the moment I crossed the mountain, I fell in love with the place, which was more beautiful than any I’d ever seen. And with a way of looking at life that was deeper, richer, and wiser than any I’d known before.”
“When I first came to Corca Dhuibhne I heard a proverb that means 'enough is plenty.' I wrote it down then because of its concise use of Irish and, if I thought about its meaning at all, I assumed it applied to food and drink. Now I think it applies to all the appetites, including our appetite for work and for personal challenge. Too much or too little of anything means lack of balance. The Celts believed that the health of each individual affects the health of the universe. I don't know if that's true. But I do know that the essence of health is balance. And I think the route to finding it is awareness in stillness.” 0 likes
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