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McCarthy's Bar: A Journey Of Discovery In Ireland (2003)

McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland (2003)
3.77 of 5 Votes: 2
0312311338 (ISBN13: 9780312311339)
st. martin's griffin
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McCarthy's Bar: A Journey Of Discover...
McCarthy's Bar: A Journey Of Discovery In Ireland (2003)

About book: I came across this story as a result of a 4 week holiday in Ireland. Regaling my impromptu audience at an impromptu breakfast one morning about the glorious characters and circumstances that I had found myself in during my holiday in Ireland. A new found friend recommended that I read this book and said he thought I’d get a kick out of it.So I did…and I did ;)This book draws on the experiences of Peter McCarthy as he makes his ways slowly, via every McCarthy’s Bar that he passes along his journey, back to the childhood memories of his youth.Written in the first person, it’s a book version of a travel blog across Ireland, sharing a number of hilarious tales of holy wells, farmers fields, hippy communes and of course then there’s also the bars and their personable owners.I loved that a number of stories from Pete’s walkabout could quite literally be pulled out of my own travel diary 13 years after the book was published, so it was lovely to see that the magic and wonder of Ireland, the land and it’s people had not changed in that time period in the very least!What I didn’t like was that it ended! I wanted to immerse myself in this land once more and reading this book, brought it all back for me. If you can’t visit Ireland in person, then I highly recommend reading this book and visiting Ireland in the parklands, passageways and back-alleys of your mind :) Yes I’d read it again - particularly if I’m down or flat about where I’m at in my life, reading about Pete’s adventures reminded me not only of my own adventures but that there are still awesome places and people to meet in the world ;)I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested touring Ireland, whichever way they choose to do it ;)

I loved this book. So much so I'm reading this and his other book again after a break of just a few months.Loved it so much, it's been enough for me to take a new path in my own writing. After book 4 in the Henry Blythe series is released next year, I'll be trying out the humourous travel writing for at least two, maybe three, books. We share a similar sense of humour which, of course, helps. Maybe it's down to the era we both grew from - the 'alternative comedy' scene of London in the 1980's.Such a shame Pete is no longer with us. But giving the drinking he did, I guess it's hardly surprising. He certainly gave Bill Bryson a run for his money when it came to writing. And came out on top, as far as I'm concerned.p.s. am currently reading Tony Hawks 'Round Ireland with a Fridge'. Not a patch on Pete's writing. I just don't find him even vaguely amusing. He tries too hard to be funny.
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Such a fun book to read. A nonfiction about his adventure through Ireland looking for his roots (his Mother was Irish) and the hilarious stories of the locals and tourist. It serves as a somewhat travel guide. Somewhat because at times he would not tell you where he was for fear the areas would become immensely popular and spoiled. My favorite chapter was the ferry ride from Wales to Ireland. I've been on that ferry, his description brought back a flood of suppressed memories! I'm sorry the author passed away rather suddenly from cancer not long after the book was published.
I picked up this book expecting it to be about the author travelling around Ireland and visiting various bars with the name 'McCarthy' and learning about Ireland and the Irish. Which it is to an extent, but the further I got into the book, the more it became more like the autobiography of a period in his life when he just happened to be in Ireland. He doesn't make any of the places he visits or people he meets leap off the page, and although his observations/jokes are funny, a lot of them are rather tired and I didn't like how he took potshots at tourists there,seemingly forgetting that *he* was a tourist. Whereas Bill Bryson's books often include jokes/amusing happenings at his own expense, and while he seems to genuinely enjoy the people and places he writes about despite various (funny) bad experiences, I just didn't get that sense from McCarthy.Is this book funny? Yes. But I'd honestly categorise it more as pure autobiography/humour than 'travel' writing - in that the autobiography and 'being funny' aspects seemed to rather overtake the 'travel' aspect.McCarthy is a good writer, and a good narrator, but this book doesn't really do 'what it says on the tin' in my opinion. For anyone interested in Pete McCarthy's life shortly before he sadly died in 2003, I'd definitely suggest this book, but for anyone who wants a bit of 'Irish travel writing' I'd suggest you go elsewhere.
Morticia Adams
Not the best travelogue I’ve read on Ireland (Mark McCrum’s The Craic is much better, and owes less to Bill Bryson), but it has some entertaining moments and is engagingly written. There is some smashing of stereotypes (the Irish prefer pop music to diddly diddly), but others are reinforced (the Irish like going to the pub). You can enjoy reading it whilst acknowledging that it’s nothing special. The central premise of the book is ostensibly McCarthy’s search to discover whether his profound attraction to Ireland is genetic (through his Irish mother), or learned. I didn’t find this convincing. He mentions his quest here and there, quite eloquently too, but he is rarely preoccupied by it, and devotes far more space to making witty comments about rather unoriginal targets – the awful Irish weather, grotty Irish food, the exasperating Irish services industry, and of course loud and dim-witted tourists. Some of the comments are witty to be fair, and quite funny too, but it all got a bit tiresome after a while.I was sorry to hear that Pete McCarthy died not long after the book was published. Despite his insistence in providing every paragraph with a punchline, he comes over as a rather nice chap.
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