Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Irish Country #1

An Irish Country Doctor

Rate this book
An Irish Country Doctor from bestselling author Patick Taylor is a charming and engrossing tale that will captivate readers from the very first page--and leave them yearning to visit the Irish countryside of days gone by.

Barry Laverty, M.B., can barely find the Northern Ireland village of Ballybucklebo on a map when he first sets out to seek gainful employment there. But Barry jumps at the chance to secure a position as an assistant in a small rural practice.

At least until he meets Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly.

The older physician has his own way of doing things. At first, Barry can't decide if the pugnacious O'Reilly is the biggest charlatan he has ever met or the best teacher he could ever hope for. Through O'Reilly, Barry soon gets to know all of the village's colourful and endearing residents and a host of other eccentric characters who make every day an education for the inexperienced young doctor.

Ballybucklebo is a long way from Belfast, and Barry is quick to discover that he still has a lot to learn about country life. But with pluck and compassion, and only the slightest touch of blarney, he will find out more about life--and love--than he ever imagined back in medical school.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2004

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Patrick Taylor

133 books1,230 followers
There is more than one author with this name

Patrick Taylor, M.D., is the author of the Irish Country books, including An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Village, An Irish Country Christmas, An Irish Country Girl, and An Irish Country Courtship. Taylor was born and raised in Bangor, County Down, in Northern Ireland. After qualifying as a specialist in 1969, he worked in Canada for thirty-one years. He now lives on Saltspring Island, British Columbia.


Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,763 (26%)
4 stars
7,774 (43%)
3 stars
4,482 (24%)
2 stars
819 (4%)
1 star
154 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,616 reviews
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews4,021 followers
May 3, 2016
This was perfectly contenting, exactly as advertised, exactly my speed. This is a good cup of tea and croissant of a book, with some sunlight coming through the window and a bird on the porch. ...Maybe a bit of a dog chasing its own tail, too. But all in good fun. You're all safe here.
Profile Image for Rosemary.
161 reviews10 followers
March 18, 2012
I'm somewhat bashful to admit that I absolutely loved this book.

It is an inescapable fact that this book is reminiscent of All Creatures Great and Small in some ways, or Ballykissangel, and if you don't like those, you won't like this book. I found those pleasant enough, but not as engaging as the world Patrick Taylor has created here.

The voices of the characters are distinct, they're charming, annoying, dotty, nasty...in short, a village of people. The events are simple day to day experiences in a rural town in Northern Ireland when Jack Kennedy was newly dead, the lads from Liverpool were solidly on track, and a new band led by some kid named Jagger was starting to make noise. The second wave of The Troubles hadn't begun, and there were many who remembered the first round, and worried about a young cleric named Iain Paisley and the things he was saying. But that is all background noise to little girls with appendicitis, old men with heart trouble living in their cars, and young men desperate to "do the right thing" but unable to marry the girl unless there's enough money to support the three of them.

There are four more books in the series. I'm going to fight the urge to tear through them. They are short, and there are times when I think I'll desperately need to get away to Ballybucklebo, and Fingal O'Reilly, Barry Laverty, Kinky, Lady Macbeth, and Arthur Guinness--the Smithwicks loving retriever. Yes, I'll keep these, as they say, "in my back pocket," for when the need arises. Who'd have thought this Republic loving girl would grow so fond, so quickly, of some folk from the 6 counties.
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,737 reviews1,469 followers
January 10, 2018
Can a story be too cute, too sweet?

My two-star rating indicates my answer.

The books by Patrick Taylor, starting with An Irish Country Doctor, are often compared to James Herriot’s vet series. All of us know Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small. The vets in Herriot’s books are in Taylor’s books switched to country doctors in the fictional Ulster village Ballybucklebo, a half hour train ride from Belfast. Maybe it is me that has changed; I remember Herriot’s books with fondness.

Barry Laverty has just completed his medical studies at Queens University in Belfast. He has been hired to work as an assistant to Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly. O’Reilly is going to show Laverty the ropes, what you really need to know to be a good local G.P. The Beatles, country fiddles, jamborees and love affairs are woven around births, an unwed mother, the sick and those not so sick, but think they are. Learning to be a doctor is more than just the science of medicine; it encompasses how to talk to patients and how to deal with mistakes.

It is interesting to note that the author, Patrick Taylor, is a retired doctor. He was born in 1941 in Bangor, Northern Island, not far from the fictional village of the book. He is writing about what he knows.

The audiobook is narrated by John Keating. He has a soft Irish accent. The narration fits the story.

If you are looking for an ultra-sweet, feel good book with an added dose of romance, you’ll probably love this.
Profile Image for CoachJim.
163 reviews90 followers
July 5, 2022
This was a therapeutic read. I have been reading a difficult and depressing history and I needed a break. This was just what the Doctor ordered, be they Irish, country or otherwise. If you watched and enjoyed the TV series All Creatures Great and Small this will be right up your alley.

One of the highlights for me were the frequent, quaint truisms. For instance:

“Didn’t take me long to find out that consideration for other people can be one of the lesser attributes of the species Homo Sapiens.” (Page 81)

“Old boy, in this life there will always be a certain amount of shit to be shoveled. I really would urge you to buy a long-handled spade and simply get on with it.” (Page 99)

“People come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re going to be any use as a doctor, you have to learn to accept that. It shouldn’t matter to us what you do in the bedroom as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” (Page 188)

“Forget about your broken heart. Girls are like buses. There’s always another one along soon.” (Page 238)

Regarding the last quote, the young doctor falls in love with a girl who isn’t quite ready to give up her dreams of becoming an Engineer in order to get her M.R.S. degree. Bravo for her.

There is some Irish slang used in this book, but the author provides a Glossary with definitions. However, it wasn’t necessary to consult it in order to understand the meaning.

This series was recommended by a local acquaintance a few years ago after which I bought the first book. It sat on my bookcase for quite sometime, but I am glad I finally picked it and read it. Given all the books I want to read I am not sure when or if I will return to the series. I blame this on GoodReads. Prior to joining GoodReads when I came across a series or author that I liked I would devour all the books in the series or all the books by that author. Now I am exposed to new interesting books daily. It would be nice to revisit Ballybuckebo someday and catchup on all the interesting characters.
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
December 7, 2011
Surprisingly, an enjoyable read. I picked this book because I love everything about Ireland. I think my romantic notion of Ireland began after reading Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and its two sequels and seeing the 2000-blockbuster film Billy Elliot. From there, my list goes on and one. I read every single book with Ireland as setting that I fortunately came across: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien, At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill, Kieron Smith, boy by James Kellman, The Sea by John Banville, The Gathering by Anne Enright, Felicia’s Journey by William Trevor, The Master by Colm Toibin, etc.

An Irish Country Doctor, first published in 2007, is a novel by a real medical doctor, Patrick Taylor. He was born in Bangor, Northern Island in 1941. He studied and practiced medicine. When he retired, he was a medical researcher on reproductive medicine where he also got a lifetime award of excellence. Among his eight books, this novel was the most successful. It was a New York Time bestseller, has been translated to 13 languages, has resulted to at least 4 sequels already and has been recognition as book of the month by many book clubs and some book award-giving bodies.

It is about a young doctor, fresh from medical school, Barry Laverty, M.B., who finds his first employment in a fictional town called Ballybucklebo in Northern Ireland. He had travelled far from a medical school in Belfast only to find that there is already an aging doctor in town, the eccentric Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly. Their working together is like Aubrey and Maturin aboard brig Sophie in Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander. They work and exist together but their differences – particularly because of age – make everything they do together interesting. Sometimes funny yet strange. Educational yet you sometimes wonder which approach is better. Think of the time when you are sick and you are given a choice between a pill at an herb. Many will surely choose a pill but some people would like to have a herbal medicine first as it has lesser side effects.

My favorite part is the very descriptive childbirth “face up” scene. During the normal delivery head first but face down, right? Here, there is a scene when the baby’s face was the first to exit from the vaginal opening and the 2 doctors have no way to do a caesarian operation. That part was really interesting because I had never heard of that case before.

I am a graduate of a paramedical degree and so that helped me in understanding and appreciating this novel. Many novelists, particularly in thriller genre, are lawyers. So, it is like a breath of fresh air to have a medical doctor writing a humorous novel based on his real-life experiences while practicing his profession. I would have a second thought if this was a medical book or a memoir but a novel about Ireland and Irish town folks? I say, bring it on! I would love to read the four sequels for this book anytime.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
September 11, 2018
An okay book. Not really my cup-a-tea. But then, I don’t like the kind of doctor stories that break my heart, even if they try to cover it with humor.
I will say that this is a sweet story with cute characters.
Profile Image for Margitte.
1,164 reviews511 followers
June 2, 2015
A friend gave me these books and said it will lighten up a dull moment or two.

That is exactly what happened, when Dr. Barry Laverty moves to Ballybucklebo in Ireland after leaving university. Fresh from the academic mill, he becomes the assistant of a colorful Dr. Fingal Flaherty O'Reilly. The village is habituated with even more colorful and eccentric characters. The young doctor must adapt to a life he was not quite accustomed to, but it will teach him lessons in people skills he would never learn elsewhere.

It's a relaxing read, with many lighter moments and Irish wit strewn all over the hustle and bustle of the lives of two very busy doctors. It is a community story, with the focus on the two men who must keep the village in good health in very creative ways.

The only gripe I have with the book is the constant quotes from famous authors or philosophers being thrown in. One or two is okay, but in this instance the quotes are overstaying their welcome, sort of. Some of them are blasé, passé, killed by popular over-use, like a song being played to death over the radio, turning potential listeners into antagonists. In between quotes and plot, a few song lyrics are fitted in as well, which could have been avoided. It somehow did not make me excited at all.

Overall, though, it was a very good selection for a very cold and rainy weekend. I will read the second, of seven books in this series, as well. I would love to get to know Ballybucklebo and its inhabitants better. Laughter is good medicine!

I will do this book a sterling disservice by indulging in my own version of convoluted circumlocutions which I so often am guilty of in my reviews. :-))

Profile Image for Book Concierge.
2,768 reviews332 followers
December 11, 2019
Audiobook performed by John Keating

Taylor tells the tale of a young physician learning the ropes from an older, wiser, well-established practitioner in an Irish village, in the mid 1960s. Barry Laverty is happy to have this position, and he has an experienced, if unconventional, teacher in Dr Fingal Flaherty O’Reilly.

I’ve heard this described as “James Herriot for people” and I think that’s a perfect description. Some of the cases are quite serious, some patients are malingerers. While O’Reilly’s main advice is to “never let the customers get the upper hand,” he still shows great compassion for serious problems, teaches the young Laverty how to admit being wrong and helps him learn to apologize for his own mistakes. Which, of course, doctors do make – being human, after all.

The book is full of wonderful characters, from the steadfast housekeeper Mrs Kincaid, who prefers to be called Kinky, to the young doctor’s first love, Pamela, from elderly patients suffering mostly from loneliness, to young children with appendicitis, from shopkeepers with heart disease, to farmers with work-related injuries. There are some very humorous moments, and a few tender ones as well. Very entertaining.

John Keating does a marvelous job of performing the audiobook. I loved how he interpreted both O’Reilly and Laverty. And he does a passable job of the various women characters, as well.
Profile Image for Phil.
72 reviews3 followers
March 11, 2009
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I couldn't.

Having read the jacket blurbs, I held out hope that this might be an Irish version of the wonderful stories James Herriot gave us with his lovable English veterinarian. As it turned out, however, Taylor's Ballybucklebo couldn't hold a candle to Herriot's Yorkshire.

Taylor's descriptions of the Irish countryside and it's quirky inhabitants was sub-par, and his story entirely predictable. His preoccupation with injecting cultural references (to prove the time period?) and literary quotes (to prove he's educated?) made it hard to connect with his characters in anything more than a voyeuristic sense; I could watch them move about, but I couldn't discern their motives. I just didn't care what happened to them.
Profile Image for Jana.
778 reviews89 followers
December 21, 2018
For me this was the reading equivalent of comfort food.

Nothing stressful, except in the Irish country doctor sense of stress. The narrator was excellent. I learned some new ways to curse and I have incorporated them into my daily life. The only bittersweet addition for me is that when I started listening it was in anticipation of a trip to Ireland this September. *Sadly, life has thrown a curve ball and that will likely be postponed. But the beauty of reading is that I did spend time in Ballybucklebo. Armchair travelling is a thing and I'm thanking my lucky leprechauns for books!

I share with you just one of the many pearls of wisdom from our wise Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly:

"It shouldn't matter what you do in the bedroom, as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."

There are a dozen books in this series and almost all of them are read by the same narrator (John Keating). This makes me happy. They will keep me busy until I set foot in Ireland.

*UPDATE: I went to Ireland! No need for sadness in my review. 💚💚💚
Profile Image for Benjamin baschinsky.
117 reviews51 followers
July 24, 2020
In reading this enjoyable novel, it was reminiscent of watching a series on PBS, Doc Martin.
Set in a small village in Ireland the comings and goings of the townsfolk and the grizzly doctor who presided over it.
4 reviews1 follower
February 29, 2008
An uplifting, humorous portrayal of a lost time and place --- the countryside of Northern Ireland in the 1960s. This novel documents a recent medical graduate's first month of doctoring in a rural town full of quirky and lovable citizens. Dr. Laverty is an urban physician who comes under the tutelage of the seasoned, boisterous, opinionated and creative Dr. O'Reilly who has practiced medicine in Northern Ireland for his whole life.

I found it difficult to put this book down because I desperately wanted to know what consequences the young doctor had on his patients, and what crazy schemes his mentor would dream up to increase quality of life for a group of patients with little social or economic mobility. This is a great example of how doctoring is a multi-faceted responsibility, sometimes requiring paternalism and tacitly shaping the pragmatic affairs of a patient. This is a great contrast to the concept of the distanced physician of modern medicine who focuses strictly on clinical substance.

This novel is more about things happening rather than relationships changing, but the pivotal relationship between mentor and mentee, seasoned physician and newbie, is always satisfying. I enjoyed the pace of this book -- each chapter only moved ahead of time a few days, and the author does an excellent job of establishing continuity for all of the plot lines involving the disparate characters. All plots achieve closure in a crisp, heartwarming way. As someone reading in chilly New England, the descriptions of Spring in the Irish hills was particularly welcoming.
Profile Image for Deb.
921 reviews24 followers
July 13, 2012
I think I should make a new shelf for "worthwhile reading, lite". After reading quite a bit of non-fiction and some amazing, but intense books, I needed a change of pace and this was the perfect recipe.

Beth, who loaned me her copy described An Irish Country Doctor as, "like the Mitford series, but set in northern Ireland." The characters are interesting and fun. It is a pleasure to read about people with high moral character, though there are a few swear words thrown in. There is not too much drama, yet the story moves along. A little romance, but no graphic sex. No overly long descriptions. Conversations between characters flow easily. (something not all authors do well.)

I especially liked the colloquial "Irishisms" and the glossary at the back, explaining what they are. (acting the goat, beagle's gowl, both legs the same length, soft hand under a duck, up the spout, (pregnant) wetting the baby's head. A piss artist is an alcoholic. If you're curious about the others, read this charming book.)
Profile Image for Laura.
746 reviews269 followers
April 2, 2020
I enjoyed this and I bet the series gets better as you get to know the main characters, who are a junior and senior GP, and the villagers. There are a dog and cat character in here too to enjoy. There is humor and it feels very Irish to me also. The audiobook narration is well done.

If you think you'd enjoy spending time in an Irish village with the doctors who are responsible for taking care of them, then you'd probably like this book. It reminds me a little bit of Doc Martin, but the senior doctor isn't quite as crabby. But it's very similar to that show in many ways so if you enjoy that show, you'd probably really like this too. It takes place in the 70s, so keep that in mind too. Some dated ideas, but a good book and I'll continue with the series.
Profile Image for Sally906.
1,373 reviews3 followers
March 11, 2015
Opening Sentence: ‘…Barry Laverty – Doctor Barry Laverty – his houseman’s year just finished, ink barely dry on his degree, pulled his beat-up Volkswagen Beetle to the side of the road and peered at a map lying on the passenger seat…’

Barry Laverty is fresh out of Medical school and answers an ad for a doctor’s assistant in Ballybucklebo, a small country village in Northern Ireland that he can hardly find on a map. He is immediately hired by Dr Fingle O’Reilly. The older doctor has his own distinct way of practising medicine. At first, Barry can’t decide if the confrontational O’Reilly is the biggest quack or the best teacher he has ever met, he soon realises that it is the latter. O’Reilly is unique – as sharp as a tack, wise to the ways of his patients and compassionate.

Set in the 1960’s modern medicine is striding forward by leaps and bounds, yet the inhabitants still like the old ways. When modern young Dr Laverty hands a script for penicillin they look to old Dr O’Reilly to give them the traditional wee black bottle full of nasty tasting ‘jollop’.

There are a multitude of eccentric characters who manage to make every day an education for the inexperienced young doctor. There is the town drunk and ne’er-do-well husband, a hypochondriac, an arrogant land owner, a proud man who lives in a car with his beloved dogs, a sick child, and an unwed mother who refuses to tell who the father is. Barry Laverty soon learns that he needs to find out a lot more about life than he ever imagined back in medical school.

AN IRISH COUNTRY DOCTOR was an easy, quick, read that I could hardly put down. The gentle humour throughout the book was wonderful and I loved watching the relationship gradually grow between the two doctors, and I soon became completely involved in the lives of the two doctors. The novel was beautifully written that it held my attention from the first page until the last.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,098 reviews2,665 followers
March 11, 2014
As newly graduated Doctor Barry Laverty struggled to find his way to the small village of Ballybucklebo, the wilds of the blackthorn hedges had him baffled. The roads just had to lead there, didn’t they? With vague directions from a young man on a bicycle, he finally made it to his interview with five minutes to spare. His meeting with his prospective employer however, didn’t start too well. The bellow of a voice as it was directed at a poor unfortunate fellow who landed in a bush had Barry stepping back a little, wondering what he had in store for himself.

Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly was the man in question, and as Barry came to know the older physician, he wasn’t sure how to take him. Some of his methods seemed questionable to say the least, but gradually Barry discovered a kind and compassionate man under the bluster. And Barry also discovered a passion for the countryside, its quaint but wonderful people, the reliable Mrs Kincaid (Kinky) and her delicious cooking and of course his medicine. He was happy.

I loved this absolutely delightful story! I thoroughly enjoyed the humour, the lifestyle, the quirks of the people, O’Reilly and his friends, plus I loved the little village of Ballybucklebo! Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Amanda.
31 reviews2 followers
February 10, 2009
I have no idea what prompted me to finish this book. The characters were shallow in development, the plot ridiculously predictable and the happy ending such a neatly tied-up bow that it was hugely unrealistic as well as unsatisfying. Obviously, I do not recommend this book but to be fair it did have a good amount of Irish colloquialisms & authentic Irish cooking/recipe references which make it some-what unique. In my opinion the author should stick to being a doctor and never attempt fiction again...how did this get published, I wonder? Wow, I guess that was a scathing review but the premise of the plot, the promise of quirky characters as well as the geographic setting had such great potential that I was severely disappointed with the actual results.
223 reviews
November 29, 2022
Lectura conjunta de PemberlyBooks, de la Pecera de Raquel,. Es un libro amable y agradable de leer que sigue la estela de otro similar “Todas las criaturas grandes y pequeñas” con el que las comparaciones son inevitables.

La novela de Taylor sigue el mismo planteamiento: el médico novato, en lugar de veterinario, recién salido de la universidad que llega a una comunidad pequeña y en cierto modo hostil con las novedades, y un colega médico que a veces deja de lado la “sabiduría ”contenida en los manuales de medicina y las clases universitarias, y la suple con grandes dosis de sentido común, mucha psicología, empatía con sus pacientes y bastante mano izquierda.

Si bien me ha gustado, dado que es un libro divertido, y amable, con situaciones cómicas y que pone sobre la mesa de forma bastante sutil y a veces dulcificada temas como el aborto, el abuso de poder o la corrupción política, el problema está en la falta de caracterización psicológica de los personajes que se ven reducidos a meros tópicos irlandeses.

Lo mejor: la gata Lady Macbeth y Arthur Guinness, (un perro que hacer honor a su apellido)

Lo peor: demasiado buenismo al describir situaciones. Obvia el conflicto norirlandés de manera descarada y poco creíble.
Profile Image for Veronica .
744 reviews177 followers
July 9, 2018
3.5 stars, rounding up

An enjoyable visit to a quaint, Irish village circa the early 1960s as young medical school graduate tries to figure out if he's cut out for general practice in a rural setting. This made for a light and humorous vacation read. I'll be trying the next book in the series on audiobook.
Profile Image for ✨Susan✨.
900 reviews175 followers
August 16, 2015
This is a warm, Irish cozy about a new doctor who has come to a small town to help a veteran older doctor. Some of the patients are eccentric mixed with a bit of hypochondria, they must be dealt with with some humorous, oddball methods. The new doctor is taken aback with this unconventional type of medicine but he is drawn to the personal connection that seems to be the theme in this detached, urban borough of Ballybucklebo. A good start to cute cozy series with relatable characters. My favorite in this series is An Irish Country Christmas, it is a great Christmas feel good book and the characters are more developed, magnetic and amusing. Patrick Taylor does an excellent job narrating.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,135 reviews8,144 followers
October 9, 2013
How could I possibly NOT love this book? It is set in rural Northern Ireland, in a town called Ballybucklebo. Classic.
It follows fresh out of training Barry Laverty as he is employed by an old General Practitioner Doctor Fingal Flaherty O'Reilly in the tiny village. Basically it follows Barry as he gets to know all the unique townspeople and develop relationships with them. It's charming, reminds me of Irish life, and a wonderful story.
Also I am so glad there are about 7 or 8 books in this series, I believe. Can't wait to keep reading them!
May 19, 2018
Based on journals the author kept during his early years in medical practice, this debut novel describes a young man’s apprenticeship as a doctor in rural Ireland during the early 1960s. Earlier, I made a huge mistake and put the copy that I had prepared for the Kennedy book and inserted it this book. Very sorry for this.

Barry still has his doubts about O’Reilly’s methods, particularly when he catches a misdiagnosis, but he realizes that he has a lot to learn from the old guy after he makes a mistake of his own, underestimating the symptoms of a notorious hypochondriac. The fledgling doctor’s personal life becomes complicated when he meets Patricia, a pretty young engineering student from a neighboring town who is crippled by polio. Though both are smitten, Patricia worries that she won’t be able to devote enough time to the romance. She comes around, and as Barry becomes more confident about his abilities, he decides that there’s nowhere that he’d rather practice than Ballybucklebo. The town is an easy place for readers to sink into as well, with likable characters and atmospheric dialogue—though the plot is a bit thin.

A sweetly affable story with little substance.

Fresh out of medical school in Belfast, Ireland, Barry Laverty is looking for a different experience from most of his classmates. He takes a position assisting Dr. Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly in scenic Ballybucklebo, a town so tiny it hardly makes it onto the map. Rule-following Barry doesn’t know what to make of his boss, a GP who seems to practice by gut, conducting less than thorough examinations on some patients and stretching the truth to others. Charmed and bullied by O’Reilly, Barry quickly becomes acquainted with the patients, and embroiled in Ballybucklebo’s mini-dramas. (One of the most tantalizing one involves a pregnant young maid who refuses to divulge the identity of either her employer or her child’s father; the doctors suspect a powerful local man.) Barry still has his doubts about O’Reilly’s methods, particularly when he catches a misdiagnosis, but he realizes that he has a lot to learn from the old guy after he makes a mistake of his own, underestimating the symptoms of a notorious hypochondriac. The fledgling doctor’s personal life becomes complicated when he meets Patricia, a pretty young engineering student from a neighboring town who is crippled by polio. Though both are smitten, Patricia worries that she won’t be able to devote enough time to the romance. She comes around, and as Barry becomes more confident about his abilities, he decides that there’s nowhere that he’d rather practice than Ballybucklebo. The town is an easy place for readers to sink into as well, with likable characters and atmospheric dialogue.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it brought me a feel good feeling. I've read most of the books in this series. Sorry for any inconvenience. Highly recommend. Looking forward to discussing in our book club.
Profile Image for Janie.
406 reviews3 followers
January 1, 2019
Edited to add second paragraph

I've been accumulating the books in this series for several years -- saving them, kind of hoarding them. I didn't even know if I'd like them, but if I did, I wanted them handy to read right then. I put stock in that I would like them, and now, I think I'm in book heaven. Ahhhh, the pleasantness. I'm conflicted with wanting to race through versus strolling though. I chose the first two for my spring reading challenge and won't be surprised if the summer challenge is filled with only Patrick Taylor books. What a relaxing and enjoyable beginning book to what I anticipate will be a wonderful reading journey!

Adding this as I'm in the last quarter of the book: I still enjoy this; it's relaxing, it's very similar to Herriot's books but with a GP rather than a vet, and I still plan to continue through the series. However, I am put off with the regular coarse and casual use of Jesus Christ's name manipulated into some coarse and vulgar phrase. Whenever I read / listen to this use, I filter it out, but in this case, my filter fills quickly. It's not that I have a personal policy to only read writing that does not conflict with the third commandment; if that were the case, I'd read very little. But the use in this first book (and I assume throughout the series) is beginning to grate on me. That said, just be forewarned if you are put off with this. Also, the casual flippancy toward Christianity (such as, "He'd put religion behind him years ago") has cropped up a few times.
Profile Image for Jamie Collins.
1,427 reviews265 followers
June 14, 2017
This is not bad, but it’s not as charming as the James Herriot books it’s consciously trying to mimic. It’s cozy and predictable, which I don’t necessarily mind, but I do mind that the writing is shallow and lacks subtlety, as if the book is aimed at a younger audience, although it’s not billed as YA.

It's historical fiction set in the 1960's in Northern Ireland. Laverty is a new medical doctor who takes a job as an assistant to a crusty old doctor in a small village with quirky inhabitants. There are lots of misunderstandings as the new doc comes to appreciate the old doc’s methods. There are a handful of plot threads involving various patients, all of which are wrapped up neatly with a bow at the end.

I never warmed up to the main character, although it may be that I was annoyed by my initial impression of him as a Herriot substitute. Particularly the romance subplot fell flat for me.

I will say that the author handled the Ulster dialect well, using it to help establish the setting without letting it get intrusive or distracting. There’s an entirely unnecessary glossary included to explain terms such as “bollocks” and “fit to be tied”.
Profile Image for Chris.
557 reviews
April 25, 2018
What a sheer delight! I don't listen to that many audiobooks, mainly because I can't get into them, maybe I don't give them enough time, but the narrator is the one who tends to turn me off. But John Keating is one of the best audiobook narrators I've ever come across! He's excellent, and I could vividly picture all the characters, men and women alike. I'm not sure if would have enjoyed this as much if I had read it, so I plan on listening to them all when I want to visit Ballybucklebo and its residents again.
Profile Image for Lisa Roberts.
1,474 reviews
September 25, 2017
This is a sweet slow paced story of a young medical school graduate who accepts a job in a small town of Ballybucklebo (I chuckled every time I heard this word) as an assistant to a doctor who has served the community for years. The veteran physician has so much knowledge of the people, their histories, their family, etc. that new, young Barry, has much to learn about himself, the doctor he is assisting and the pace and inner workings of small town life.
Profile Image for Colleen Chi-Girl.
611 reviews99 followers
June 1, 2019
I am 2/3 Irish and have been brought up to appreciate our Irish background and customs even though our Irish came to the US in the early 1800’s to 1840’s. I’ve never been to Ireland although I’ve traveled to Europe 5 x. Crazy. I’m saving it for ?? Anyway, I really enjoy reading Irish novels and this one was sweet but kind of too sweet or sappy.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,616 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.