Books about places: McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy

As much as travelling is one of my favourite things to do, I love planning trips and reading about places I might like to go one day almost as much as I like actually going away.

I’m hoping that by reviewing (well, talking about) a book about somewhere different in the world each month I can expand my horizons and read a bit more.

McCarthys Bar collage

McCarthy’s Bar, by Pete McCarthy

As I mentioned before, my other half and I are planning a roadtrip around the perimeter of Ireland and Northern Ireland this summer/autumn. We’re planning to take the car across and drive mostly around the edge of the island, but some of the inland bits too, which was why when I spotted this in a charity shop I couldn’t resist.

It’s a first person piece of non-fiction about Pete McCarthy driving aimlessly around Ireland sort of trying to find himself, but mostly just trying to find a pub, and it’s really funny. According to Pete McCarthy:

The Eighth Rule of Travel states: Never Pass a Bar That Has Your Name On It. Other rules include: No. 7, Never Eat in a Restaurant with Laminated Menus; No. 13, Never Ask a British Airways Stewardess for Another Glass of Wine Until She’s Good and Ready; and No. 17, Never Try and Score Dope From Hassidic Jews While Under the Impression They’re Rastafarians.

The book is actually really quite old, it was published in 2000 so a lot of the information is wildly out of date but it’s already inspired my to add a few things to our itinerary – this Buddhist hostel on the edge of Cork with absolutely amazing views…

Dzogchen Beara

And the island of Inis Mor, where you can find this incredible ancient fort, Dún Aonghasa, looking out over the Atlantic ocean.

Dún Aonghasa

It’s very entertaining and a light read that won’t take you long to get through, but it definitely sparked my wanderlust, so a winner for me. For bonus points, I might re-read Round Ireland With a Fridge before we go, and see if it’s really as funny as 12yo me thought it was. I suspect not…