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Irish Country #5

An Irish Country Courtship

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Welcome to the colourful Ulster village of Ballybucklebo, where two doctors work hand in hand to mend the bodies and spirits of the town's diverse and engaging inhabitants. But who is looking after the wounded hearts of the doctors? After less than a year, young Barry Laverty, M.B., is settling in to the village, with only a few months to go before he becomes a full partner in the practice. He's looking forward to becoming a fixture in the community, until an unexpected romantic reversal gives him second thoughts. Will he truly be happy tending to routine coughs and colds for the rest of his career? After all, even when a more challenging case comes along, like a rare tropical disease, all he can do is pass it on to a qualified specialist or big-city hospital. As much as Barry enjoys the rough and tumble of life in County Down, is running a humble GP's shop all he wants out of life? Barry's mentor, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, is going through some personal upheavals as well. After mourning his deceased wife for decades, he's finally allowed a new woman into his life. But this budding courtship is not going over well with Kinky Kincaid, the doctors' redoubtable housekeeper, who fears having her position usurped by O'Reilly's new flame. Tact, diplomacy, and a fair amount of blarney may be required to restore peace to the household. Meanwhile, life goes on in Ballybucklebo, presenting both doctors with plenty of distractions from their own troubles. From a mysterious outbreak at the local school to a complicated swindle involving an unlucky racehorse, the two partners will need all of their combined wit and compassion to put things right again--just in time for their lives to change forever.

464 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2010

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About the author

Patrick Taylor

149 books1,248 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.


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5 stars
1,827 (36%)
4 stars
2,201 (44%)
3 stars
833 (16%)
2 stars
96 (1%)
1 star
21 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 462 reviews
Profile Image for Julie.
2,011 reviews38 followers
July 22, 2020
Enjoyed in parts, then other parts felt overly drawn out.
Profile Image for Stephanie C.
262 reviews39 followers
September 30, 2022
The 5th book is this delightfully charming, wholesome, lovely series that will just give you all warm fuzzy feels - with the delicious accents, the quirky quaint townsfolk, a blooming courtship that takes its sweet, sweet time, and the dramedy that was solved in a pretty little bow. I think, besides the first book, this has to be my favorite because I was giggling, smiling, and even though I knew how it would end, I still just had to watch it pleasantly unfold.

I also highly recommend the audiobook since the reader gives you the full Irish flavor. Sláinte!
Profile Image for Kathryn.
846 reviews
August 15, 2015
After 4 books, I think I can say that the Irish Country series are generally guaranteed good reads, and this one, the fifth in the series didn’t disappoint. I enjoy the dialect, Kinky’s recipes at the back of the book, the glossary (which I needed to make use of more this time than in some of the others!) and the cameo appearance by the author (as the main character, Dr Laverty, mused on Patrick Taylor - a medical student who had been the year behind Dr Laverty). I think this one is the best one so far - 4.5 stars.

I’m pleased to see that the series continues up to an 11th book, expected to be published this year, as I love spending time with these characters!
Profile Image for Kelly.
889 reviews4,124 followers
August 19, 2018
To be honest, I’m not sure if I would have bought it if it wasn’t $3 at the library’s store. I think because the first one (or two, really, with a little leeway), was so wonderful that I keep hoping that others will match its quality. They haven’t come close so far. And Barry has become wildly annoying into the bargain. There were two village subplots, one of which was actually cute and the other of which, about horse betting, went on endlessly and would not stop explaining itself- I started skimming pages. Fingal’s stuff with Kitty was definitely the best/only part really worth reading. Oh! Oh! And the part where Barry’s womanizing friend basically tells him he’s a serial One True Love Finder, and cheer up because there’ll be another OTP along in a few months, as there has for the last decade I’ve known you, is also the best. Book about Jack instead, please! But unfortunately the rest is most certainly not silence, as far as Barry’s concerned. Taylor’s never met a single feeling he doesn’t love to turn into melodramatics or a single interaction he trusts his readers to get w/o explaining all the not very subtle subtleties.

I do want to read/more likely skim the one about Fingal’s wedding, so let’s hope whoever bought this in hardcover liked it enough to also buy that one immediately and then also realize in retrospect it wasn’t that good, and so send it to the library store in due course.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,525 reviews85 followers
September 30, 2020
Re-read 2018

This book in the series goes back to focusing on Doctor's O'Reilly and Laverty and their medical practice in 1960's Balleybucklebo, Ireland. Widower Fingal O'Reilly has a love interest in this book, he reconnects with a woman he knew as a student nurse in his own student doctor days, it's entertaining to see him try to figure out dating as an older man in the 1960's. Doctor Laverty has come to a crossroads in his life and has to make some hard decisions about where he wants to go. There are some big changes in store for the Doctors in Balleybucklebo but they still keep their sense of humor. Patrick Taylor comes up with some great oneliners in this one and made me laugh out loud a few times. I love these books, and can't wait for the next one to be available at the library.
Profile Image for Shannon.
1,020 reviews32 followers
December 24, 2020
So much fun. Already looking forward to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Marija.
332 reviews37 followers
September 12, 2010
I’ve always enjoyed watching those British serials on PBS about small town life like Cranford and Last of the Summer Wine. And when I saw An Irish Country Courtship, advertised on Goodreads giveaways, I expected to find the book as something just as fun and pleasurable—a doctor story mixed with small town humor, gossip, mischief and matchmaking. However upon reading it, I must say that I wasn’t very impressed.

I just felt that that book was missing something. What I always found so entertaining about those British serials are the crusty characters like Compo and Howard in Last of the Summer Wine and Twister in Lark Rise to Candleford who’re always getting into various scrapes and all kinds of mischief. It’s just fun to watch them. Unfortunately none of the characters in An Irish Country Courtship fall into that category. Because of that, the book lacks that certain spice those characters bring to the story. The book has quite a number of supporting characters, which for the most part are relegated to the background and don’t really contribute much to the story. But to be fair, this book is part of a series, and perhaps these characters are better developed in the earlier books.

Also I believe that An Irish Country Courtship is a bit of a misnomer, as the story is focused more on personal crises than courtship. Dr. Barry Laverty spends most of the book mourning the loss of his girlfriend Patricia who has broken off their relationship. This begins Barry’s internal crisis of identity: Is he really fit to be practicing as a GP in a small town or as Patricia suggested, is he just wasting away possible opportunities life may yet have in store for him? Then there’s Dr. Fingal O’Reilly’s emotional crisis. For the past “twenty years” he’s been mourning the loss of his wife of “six months” who was killed during the Blitz. And only now is he beginning to consider moving on and possibly engage in a relationship with Kitty, a nurse who works with him. But is he sullying the memory of his dead wife by thinking of Kitty? The reasoning is rather silly. But even so, there’s really not that much courtship there either, as Kitty leaves town for about 100 pages or so, giving Fingal the time to sort out his feelings.

On the whole, the story’s OK, but I did expect more.
Profile Image for Barbara.
488 reviews18 followers
April 11, 2018
Okay, I done it - read all the books in this series (not that there was a ton of books) and now there are no more, and I am so sad. I love the Irish Country doctor books. I wonder if a village like this ever exited in the 60's, the years this series is set. It is almost a fairy tale. Don't get me wrong. Not everything is sweetness and light in the books, can a small village like this, with all the varied and some very eccentric characters be based in fact.

In any event, I loved reading the evolving story through the books and how the young doctor grows as the story progresses. Barry Laverty, the young doctor, originally chooses to work in a small village as a general practitioner, but by this book, after a failed romance, he is questioning his course.

You really don't know the final outcome when this book ends, which lends me to hope there will be more. I have come to love the two doctors (the central characters) and all the various characters in the village. I am going to miss them and the gripping medical dramas, as well as just the shenanigans that go on through the course of the books.

April, 2018
This was the last book a the time I read this, back in 2011. Since then, there have been several more written, some going back into the earlier life of Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly the doctor Barrie Laverty is apprentices with, or learning the ropes and gaining experience. I am enjoying them, but need to catch up again.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
2,001 reviews11 followers
August 14, 2014
This is the fifth book in the ongoing Irish Country series.
In the last volume, the author provided a background story for Kinky Kincaid, the reliable and beloved cook and housekeeper who keeps the doctors’ home and office running like a well-oiled machine. This time we are taken back to the village of Ballybucklebo and meet all the familiar characters we left behind just after Christmas in book three. This story opens in the period between Christmas and New Year and Barry has just welcomed back his long awaited girlfriend Patricia Spence from Cambridge. Although they are happy to see one another, Barry has some deep seated concerns. Patricia had delayed her return to the village to spend the holidays with him as she had promised but her last minute planning almost thwarted her entire visit. Her failure to plan properly made it seem as if she did not really want to return to Ballybucklebo, and Barry is finding her more distant and detached. He is not only worried but he is racking his brain trying to figure out what he has done wrong. Has she changed her mind about him? Does she have a new boyfriend at Cambridge? What is going on? And then there are other women who seem to be skirting round Barry: the nurse Peggy Duff who he met at a nurses’ dance when he was out with his friend Jack, and Sue Nolan the pretty red headed teacher he met at the Xmas pageant. Barry’s romantic life appears to be in a state of flux.
On the other hand, Fingal and Kitty’s romance seems to be developing nicely, and they are growing more comfortable with one another every day. But there are always hurdles in any relationship and Fingal is still dithering about his next steps, haunted by his memories of his beloved first wife Deirdre. Should he open himself up to more potential hurt if things don’t work out? And although Kinky wants nothing but happiness for Fingal, she seems fearful that Kitty may not only take over her kitchen and her adopted home, but also her so called “family”- the man she has worked and cared for these many years.
Each book has its share of interesting medical problems and this one has sevral: a man choking to death at a party with a half-eaten pie caught in his throat; the imminent arrival of a set of premature twins in a remote location on a wet, windy and stormy night; the health of Alice Moloney who Barry has treated for anemia but who does not appear to be responding; and an outbreak of ringworm that continues at the school even though Barry has treated all the affected patients. Where is it coming from?
And then there are the other prickly problems that affect the welfare of those living in the village that Fingal and Barry feel they must try to help solve, even though they have nothing to do with their medical practice. Often they involve Bertie Bishop, the calculating, sneaky, councilman who is always keen to make a quick dollar through some underhanded scheme. This time it is Bertie’s "share-in-a-horse" scam which may have several of his own workers in big money trouble.
Barry is now at the point where he is seriously rethinking his future. He finds the practice of a country GP interesting and the two doctors have a healthy caseload, but there is also some boredom as well. It seems whenever there is anything interesting, Barry always has to refer to a specialist as only they have the tools and training to make a definitive diagnosis. At times it seems like A GP’s practice is less about treating major diseases and more about alleviating patient worries. But Barry has also come to realize that GPs get their satisfaction in a different way. Nonetheless, he is still considering his options, quietly creating a mental ledger in his mind noting the positive and negative sides to the question: is running A GP practice in Ballybucklebo what he really wants to do for the rest of his life? Or should he specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology, an area in medicine which he enjoys and has done well. On the other hand, he is now a respected GP in the village, a place he has come to think of as home and he would really miss it if he left.
There is always a bang up party or celebration which ends each book. This time it is a wild and exciting day of horse races at the tracks in Downpatrick. And then there is the intriguing hook that is dropped to lead and connect you to the next story in the series.
Once again, an enjoyable read.

Profile Image for Mandolin.
602 reviews
October 31, 2011
It's time to visit Ballybucklebo again and peek into the lives of Barry Laverty and his mentor, Dr. Fingal O'Reilly. After looking back in time to learn more about Kinky Kincaid's childhood in An Irish Country Girl, the author picks up where we left the two doctors in An Irish Country Christmas. Each is learning to appreciate the other and even, possibly, anticipating a permanent partnership. Before that can occur, however, Barry suffers a serious heartbreak and begins to question if the life of a GP is enough to satisfy him. He enjoys obstetrics so much; would he be happier as a specialist? Or would he miss the small town life and the benefit of its comaraderie and warmth too much? Meanwhile, Fingal is immersed in matters of his own heart. Growing fonder by the day of his school-time love, Kitty O'Hallorhan, he works to find the strength to lay down his memories of his dead wife and to acknowledge his love for Kitty. Thankfully, the two doctors are kept busy by a variety of interesting events in the village that keep them from growing morose or despondent. They take on the roles of sleuths as they search for the source of a confusing outbreak of ringworm and as public defenders when they take up arms against a councilman who is taking unfair advantage of his workers. Life in Ballybucklebo, we are reminded, is never dull and, as Barry's heart begins to heal and open up again to the possibility of love, he just might find it enough to satisfy his longing.

I enjoy these books so much. The author has a wonderful way with words and, though the books are sentimental, they are never so in a cloying or "sappy" way. His characters are so full-bodied and real that it's easy to believe that there really is a Ballybucklebo and the author has just written about the people he's met there. Too, the books are enriched by his layman's explanations of medical facts as well as Irish history and culture, all of which are given in a way that flows well with the story. He teaches his subject well, creating books that satisfy the intellect as well as the heart and he writes so captivatingly that one can't help but feel sad when the last page is turned. I am certainly looking forward to the next book in the series, which promises a glimpse into the life of young Dr. O'Reilly! FIVE STARS!
537 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2012
A delightful book! It's one I wished would not end BUT I will just get more of Taylor's books to read. This is the first of his I've read--thanks to someone who donated it to the Hibbing, MN library. I love this section of the library & re-donate all books I buy from them so they can make some bucks all over again on the same books as well as others I donate--a nice way for people to own books if they cannot afford to buy them new. So please donate to your library--maybe someone will find a new favorite author like I did with Taylor.
An older Irish country doctor, a younger doc there for a year, their live-in woman who runs the household. The older doc's new female interest & the younger doc's broken heart after being dumped by his female interest; interesting village patients; a crooked politician who is swindling some of his employees. My description is dull in comparison to the colorful, fun, & interesting story that has made me want to read a lot more of Patrick Taylor! *****
581 reviews129 followers
June 13, 2022
I have read only another book in the series, "An Irish Country Village" . I found it sweet and at a slow pace. This book is also the same, but too much sweetness and slowness is getting to my nerves. Both the doctors were die-hard romantics and I don't believe such people exist (I'm forever cynical)
When Dr.OReilly's GF from his past returns, he is unable to commit to her, because he is still pining for his wife, who died 20yrs ago ( and they were married only for 6 months). I know the dating scene would have been bleak in the 1950s, but who would want to marry a man who has been grieving for 20 yrs!
I did like some parts of the story where the doctors not only solve medical problems, but also manage to get even with cheating Councilors.
Profile Image for Nancy Cook-senn.
682 reviews12 followers
November 16, 2020
Not as entertaining as others in the series, since Dr. Laverty spends so much time whining about losing his indifferent girlfriend, but romance wins out for Dr. O'Reilly, and the crooked councilman gets his comeuppance at the racetrack.
Profile Image for Kristin Eoff.
395 reviews16 followers
April 29, 2022
Another enjoyable outing to County Down with Messrs. Laverty and O'Reilly. I could have done with a wee bit less moping on Dr. Laverty's part about that Patricia lassie, so I could, but at last he turned his mind to that Sue Nolan and things started looking up. I also think it would be nicer if the female characters in this series were more three-dimensional and realistic. Except for the book about Kinky's childhood, the women and girls are mostly portrayed in stereotypical, male-pleasing ways. For example, Kinky gets possessive about her kitchen but then is mollified by a new handbag. Kitty's always patient, calm and pleasant and never confronts O'Reilly about his bad behavior. And the author never fails to mention the women's curvy breasts and legs. I don't see him talking about Laverty's curves! I do enjoy the Ulster glossary and Kinky's recipes at the end of the book, but I think it's ironic that Kinky is always trying to get O'Reilly to lose weight when it sounds as if she's more overweight than he is.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,791 reviews961 followers
August 18, 2020
The main reason I gave this 4 stars is that you are going to get sick of hearing Barry lamenting how Patricia Spence broke up with him. I swear, Barry could make a Saint shake him. It gets real old in this one. This book does a great job though of showing the budding romance between Fingal and Kitty. We have Fingal coming to a decision about letting go of his dead wife and maybe trying to start again with Kitty. There's some really funny things going on per usual in Ballybucklebo and we get the usual mess going on with Donal and Bertie Bishop.

"An Irish Country Courtship" follows Doctors Barry Laverty and Fingal O'Reilly. Barry is dealing with heartbreak when his romance with Patricia Spence ends. Fingal though is dealing with an old love becoming new again with nurse Kitty O'Hallorhan.

Not too much to say about this one. I liked the outcome with Fingal. The parts dealing with Barry and his heartbreak just went on too long. Of course though he gets another new love interest and that pretty much made me laugh a bit. There is also some friction between Kitty and Kinky in this one which rears it's head again in future books.

The writing was good in this one and so was the flow. I liked the Doctors getting involved with trying to help out Donal and his friends due to a horse that they bought in on with Bertie. There are the usual patients that the two deal with as well.

The ending was joyful and happy and I definitely looked forward to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Laura Edwards.
1,042 reviews9 followers
January 29, 2019
It was not surprising at all to see Patricia end things with Barry. He's nuts if he really thought she'd give up her goals and dreams to move to Ballybucklebo and raise babies. I, for one, am glad she stayed true to her goals.

And I definitely did not like the way Barry's loss (the loss of a relationship) was continually equated to other peoples' losses (the actual loss of a person to death). Barry's moping grew very tiresome very quickly.

Also, Patrick Taylor seemed so busy trying to stuff in as many Irish words and lingo that he loses focus of the story at times. And one pet peeve popped up again. I find it ironic, not to mention hypocritical, that Kinky is always chastising Dr. O'Reilly about his diet and weight when she's the one sporting three chins.

This particular entry into the series definitely seemed weaker than previous books, mainly because of Barry's moping. I do, however, like the character of Sue Nolan. I thought she was better suited for Barry in the last book and the same still holds true in this one.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Colleen.
598 reviews2 followers
February 11, 2019
This took me SUCH a long time to get through. Some of this was because I was borrowing it on audiobook. But some of it was the fact that Barry wallowing is not that much fun, that much of his and O'Reilly's personal challenges felt contrived (and their resolutions obvious), and that the plot basically meanders. For all that -- that meant it took a while to get through, not that it wasn't enjoyable. Some of the denizens of Ballybucklebo are starting to become pretty clearly caricatures (Sissy Sloane!) through repeated, couple-line appearances across the series that always recap the same two-three character features. But Taylor's writing is generally amusing and features good descriptions. If you like medical and Irish milieus and want to know what Barry and O'Reilly's lives hold next you will want to read this one, too.
38 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2011
I have begun reading this book and love it just as much as the others in the series. It reminds me of the quaint way that James Herriot brought his experiences to life for us. This author has the magic of telling the tale in way that helps you step into the pages. I sincerely hope that someone will find these treasures and make a BBC series out of them. The story is of a young doctor in the north part of Ireland who joins a country doctor in his practice in a small village. The villagers are quirky but very real and the main characters have hidden stories that emerge with each chapter. Love it! Can't wait for more.
Profile Image for Henrik Havighorst.
93 reviews4 followers
August 4, 2021
Another jolly romp from the gang in that quaint Irish village. It really shines when both Barry and Fingal are struggling with their love affairs and I am really keen to see what happens next with Barr and his new fling. Yet, the ole' tale of the village versus Bertie Bishop is getting a little bit old and repetitive. Still a solid entry in the series but it is diminished by the tour de force of the last book in the series, which covered Kinky's biography.
Profile Image for Sarah.
121 reviews1 follower
November 27, 2021
Another delightful novel by Patrick Taylor. This is the fifth in the series and in this story Dr. Barry Laverty is pushed to the limits and must determine what he wants to do with his life. O’Reilly is steady as always and continues to heal his patients as well as his community. With the help of Barry, Kitty and Kinky, O’Reilly has to determine how to stop the newest malicious scheme of Bertie Bishop. A delightful read.

For the full review, check out my blog (link in bio).
Profile Image for Janie.
411 reviews3 followers
February 12, 2019
Another good story!

I love a good description, and this one about a jellyfish is one:
"He once showed me a simple jellyfish and asked me to admire its exquisite filigree architecture. I've never forgotten that phrase."
"Filigree architecture," Sue said. "I like it."

So do I!
Profile Image for Ted.
173 reviews
December 17, 2018
As with the other books in the Irish Country series, author Patrick Taylor provides a fun, comfortable stroll through 1960's Ulster with all the folks in the village of Ballybucklebo. After reading several of the books, the characters become old friends.
Profile Image for Cole.
93 reviews
March 21, 2015
A delightful read. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I'm a wee bit thankful the book had a glossary, so I am.
210 reviews2 followers
March 11, 2019
Enjoying this series- nice to have one to read during a busy time as they are fun and full of delightful characters. Romance, intrigue, and a bit of justice!
Profile Image for Spuddie.
1,545 reviews85 followers
September 14, 2018
Truly love this long-running series set in rural Ireland; the books travel back and forth through time, sometimes dealing with the main characters "in the now" of the early 1960's, other times drifting back to their younger days. This one is set during 1965 and again centers on Barry Lafferty, fledgling GP and assistant to the venerable Fingal O'Reilly. Barry's love life takes a tumble, Fingal's picks up considerably, and Barry must decide whether he wants to continue being a country GP or whether he's looking for something more exciting as a specialist physician. Good stuff!
Profile Image for Ann Otto.
Author 1 book41 followers
January 23, 2020
Taylor's books are for those liking cozy fun, lovely, quirky characters and learning Irish brogue. Books in the series include Q and A on Irish country life in the 1960s, a glossary of Irish colloquial terms and several of housekeeper Kinky Kincaid's recipes. The doctors love to eat! Who would think so much could happen to an array of characters in a tiny Irish town like Ballybucklebo in Northern Ireland?
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