McCarthy's Bar


McCarthy's Bar - cover
photo credit: Colin Thomas
more photos /enlargements see gallery.

'It was half past five in the morning as I lurched through the front door of the B&B.  Mrs O'Sullivan appeared just in time to see me pause to admire the luminous Virgin holy water stand with integral night-light, and knock it off the wall.  Politely declining the six rounds of ham sandwiches on the tray she was holding, I edged gingerly along the hallway to the wrong bedroom door and opened it.'

Despite the many exotic places Pete McCarthy has visited, he finds that nowhere can match the particular magic of Ireland, his mother's homeland.  In McCarthy's Bar, he journeys from Cork to Donegal.  Travelling through spectacular landscapes, but at all times obeying the rule, Never Pass a Bar That Has Your Name On It, he encounters McCarthy's Bar's up and down the land, meeting fascinating, friendly and funny people before pleading to be let out at four o'clock in the morning.

Through adventures with English crusties who have colonised a desolate mountain; roots-seeking, buffet-devouring Americans; priests for whom the word 'father' has a loaded meaning; enthusiastic Germans who 'here since many years holidays are making'; and his fellow barefoot pilgrims on an island called Purgatory, Pete pursues the secrets of Ireland's global popularity and his own confused Irish-Anglo identity.

Written my someone who is at once both insider and outsider, McCarthy's Bar is a wonderfully funny, affectionate portrait of a rapidly-changing country.

McCarthy's Bar    Pete McCarthy
Hodder & Stoughton     ISBN  0 340 766 042

Page last updated: 05 May 2010