An Irish Writer's Pilgrimage to a Homeland in which he has Never Lived.
'I stood on the deck, my eyes straining to catch a glimpse of the coastline through the heavy night air. The plummeting temperature, however, soon drove everyone apart from myself and a gentleman who appeared to be wearing a holed-out sheep, back inside. The wind-chill factor had frozen my lips solid and I found myself chatting to the sheep in what was a close approximation of a Swedish accent. Bearing in mind the amount of Guinness I intended to consume over the following few weeks, I felt that this was indeed an appropriate homecoming.'
John Larkin is one of Australia's funniest writers, and for as long as he could remember he wanted to make a pilgrimage to Ireland. To wander about this mystical land of poets and priests, scholars and wailing banshees, lock-ins and people who think that the accordion is an option.
He wanted to stand beneath Joyce's Tower in Sandycover reading 'Finnegan's Wake' pretending that he got it. He wanted to sing 'Wild Rover' and 'Black Velvet Band' in a pub until somebody paid him to stop. And he wanted to have spontaneous conversation with old men in tweed coats whose days tend to culminate in a animated fall off a bar stool. In short, he wanted to go home.
This is the story of Larkin's hilarious, inspirational and often poignant journey through a homeland that, like millions of others, had been denied him.