Last of the Donkey Pilgrims: A Man's Journey Through Ireland

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Tom Doherty Associates, Feb 1, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages

Kevin O'Hara's journey of self-discovery begins as a mad lark: who in their right mind would try to circle the entire coastline of Ireland on foot—and with a donkey and cart no less?

But Kevin had promised his homesick Irish mother that he would explore the whole of the Old Country and bring back the sights and the stories to their home in Massachusetts. Determined to reach his grandmother's village by Christmas Eve, Kevin and his stubborn but endearing donkey, Missie, set off on 1800-mile trek along the entire jagged coast of a divided Ireland.

Their rollicking adventure takes them over mountains and dales, through smoky cities and sleepy villages, and into the farmhouses and hearts of Ireland's greatest resource—its people.

Along the way, Kevin would meet incredible characters, experience Ireland in all of its glory, and explore not only his Irish past, but find his future self.

“One of the finest books about contemporary Ireland ever written...In a style evocative of Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, O'Hara writes memorably of his most unusual way of touring his ancestral home of Ireland.” —Library Journal

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Last of the donkey pilgrims

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In a style evocative of Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, O'Hara writes memorably of his most unusual way of touring his ancestral home of Ireland. A Vietnam vet with emotional wounds to heal and a ... Read full review

Review: Last of the Donkey Pilgrims

User Review  - Linda - Goodreads

Absolutely charming! Makes one want to find a donkey, cart, some provisions and head out on a pilgrimage too. It reminded me of an Irish version of Travels With Charlie, only sweeter. Whether Ireland is on your must-see list or not, do yourself a favor and read this book. Read full review

Contents

34 The Cock and Hen
217
35 Going Widdershins
226
36 A Green Martyr
234
37 Brother Malachy of Mount Argus
241
38 Approaching the Dragon
247
39 The Kingdom of Mourne
253
40 Ship on the Sea
258
41 Nursery of Blackguards
264

7 A Birthday Visit to Knock
52
8 The Commencement
57
9 A Gift of Hazel
62
10 Old Coach Road to Galway
68
11 The Hollow Bright Fog
73
12 A Worldly Man Indeed
81
13 Joe McHughs Pub
87
14 The Grass Widow and Bottle Scrubber
93
15 Old Country Cures
99
16 Crossing the Shannon
103
17 A Breather in Ballybunion
110
18 Dead Cut of a Weasel
118
19 On the Dingle
123
20 Up the Conor Pass
129
21 Celtic Starlight
133
22 A Soupers Kitchen
142
23 A Night with the Travelers
148
24 A Rock Soars from the Sea
154
25 FaeryWaxed in Ballybrack
161
26 The Memory Stone
167
27 The Road to Kilmakilloge
174
28 Lord Tim of the Holly
180
29 A Wasps Dying Sting
186
30 A Run to Mizen Head
192
31 Wood of the Pilgrims
198
32 Over the River Blackwater
204
33 Washerwoman from Tramore
211
42 Knock Sunday in Belfast
269
43 The Glens of Antrim
277
44 Faery Kingdom of Dalriada
284
45 Gandies Goats
293
46 A Celebrity in Derry
300
47 The Questions of Children
307
48 Close Call at The Beach
315
49 Mary Hannas Pub
321
50 All Hallows Eve
325
51 Missies March to Drumnacart
331
52 Glengesh Pass
336
53 Glen of the Saint to Aerie of the Bishop
342
54 A Walk to Ballyshannon
349
55 Beneath Maeves Crown
356
56 Between Shamrock and Harp
364
57 Phyllis Clearys Pub
373
58 From Achill to Clare Island
381
59 Hazel to Holly
388
60 Rounding Roundstone
395
61 Lamplight to Streetlights
402
62 A Bonfire in Ballygar
410
63 A Proper Pair of Pilgrims
416
64 A Christmas Ceili
419
65 Fingerpost to Ballagh
425
Epilogue
427
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About the author (2005)

Kevin O’Hara is the author of Last of the Donkey Pilgrims, an autobiographic telling of his travels around the coastland of Ireland with his beloved donkey Missy. He also wrote a memoir—A Lucky Irish Lad—detailing his experience growing up as an Irish-American in the shadow of the Second World War. A psychiatric nurse for more than 25 years, O'Hara still resides in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the place to which his parents emigrated.

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