A journey of discovery in the west of Ireland
Born in Warrington to an Irish mother and an English father, Pete McCarthy has long held a deep love for his mother's homeland and admits that despite the many exotic places he has visited, nowhere can match the particular magic of Ireland. In this book, he journeys from Cork to Donegal, experiencing the unique atmosphere that enchants visitors from all over the world. Ireland, he realises, is a country with many stories to tell, some of which are true.
At the end of Pete's journey, on an island called Purgatory, a daunting barefoot pilgrimage lies in wait. Strangely enough, he is in no rush to get there. Travelling through spectacular landscapes, but at all times obeying the rule "never pass a pub with your name on it", he encounters McCathy's bars up and down the land, meeting fascinating, friendly and funny people before pleading to be let out at four o'clock in the morning.
Challenging his idyllic memories, Pete finds that although there have been immense changes in the last thirty years, the charm of the people remains. Through adventures with English crusties who have created a thriving community on a desolate mountain; roots-seeking buffet-devouring Americans; Irish priests for whom the word "father" has loaded meaning; and enthusiastic Germans who "here since many years holiday are making", Pete pursues the secrets of Ireland's global popularity and his own confused identity.
Written by someone who is at once both insider an outsider, 'McCarthy's Bar' is a wonderfully funny, affectionate portrait of one of the most popular countries in the world.