Lashed by storms of winter, fuelled by Guinness and warmed by thermal underwear, Eric and Wanda Newby set out on their travels along the highways and by-ways of the isle of Erin, with every pannier packed with maps, spare parts and a veritable library of books on Ireland's stones and stories.
They traced the footsteps of saints and hermits, visited the ruins of castles and remains of follies, sought out Armada wrecks and cities lost in time. More immediately, they were expelled from Lismore by fearsome ladies and chased by even more fearsome dogs. They talked poetry on the banks of the Grand Canal and peat-cutting with a master of the craft in the great Bog of Allen. They drank in pubs of sepulchral bleakness and stayed overnight in B&Bs of daunting rectitude. From the horse fair at Spancil Hill to Croagh Patrick's holy mountain, they left very few of old Ireland's stones unturned to produce a volume of the finest and funniest travel writing in many a long season.