McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery In Ireland

Front Cover
Macmillan, Mar 3, 2003 - Travel - 352 pages
19 Reviews

The #1 Irish Bestseller

Despite the many exotic places Pete McCarthy has visited, he finds that nowhere else can match the particular magic of Ireland, his mother's homeland. In McCarthy's Bar, his journey begins in Cork and continues along the west coast to Donegal in the north. Traveling through spectacular landscapes, but at all times obeying the rule, "never pass a bar that has your name on it," he encounters McCarthy's bars up and down the land, meeting fascinating people before pleading to be let out at four o'clock in the morning.

Written by someone who is at once an insider and an outside, McCarthy's Bar is a wonderfully funny and affectionate portrait of a rapidly changing country.

Praise for Pete McCarthy and McCarthy's Bar:

"[McCarthy] is a worthy addition to the ranks of P.J. O'Rourke, Bill Bryson and Peter Mayle...He narrates a series of hilarious and surprising adventures with an acerbic eye and a comedian's gift for timing...This wonderful debut will appeal to readers who are looking for a well-observed travel guide, or simply for its incisive hilarity." - Publishers Weekly

"[McCarthy's] chronicle of what he heard in these neighborhood gathering places/social clubs/confessionals was quintessentially Irish, which means hilarious, sentimental, surprising and revealing." - The Dallas Morning News

"McCarthy makes an amiable traveling companion - witty, affable, with an endearing knack for meeting, or attracting, the most eccentric characters...With self-deprecating wit and a sly sense of the absurd, he makes even the most mundane experience entertaining." - Booklist

"Unfailingly sharp, good-humored, and offbeat: sure to please Celtophiles of every greenish hue." - Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of Bill Bryson will enjoy reading McCarthy's droll narrative of his rediscovery of his family's roots in Ireland." - Library Journal

"McCarthy's Bar is as far removed from the staid, traditional travel guide as one likely could get and still learn where to go, what to see, how much it might cost and what to expect." - San Antonio Express News


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MiaCulpa - LibraryThing

McCarthy takes a gentle stroll around Ireland, drinking loads of Guinness, eating the odd chowder and meeting many a stereotypical Irishmen and women. He also writes of his own Irish background and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pjsullivan - LibraryThing

This bloke is more cynical than I am, but he makes it work. Very funny book, hilarious at times. A solitary traveler’s eye view of modern Ireland, spoiled by modernity and money. Makes me grateful ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Whiff
Standing Stones Michael Collins and the Jimi Hendrix Connection
Drimoleague Blues
Wild Mountain
Boats and Planes
AllNight Hooley in MacCarthys Bar
The Children of Lir
Dead Kids Room
Storming the Castle
Rooted in the Celtic
Cross in Cong
Holy Ground
Road Movie
St Patricks Purgatory
Bring it on Home
A Place of Resurrection

Blaming the Dolphin

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About the author (2003)

Pete McCarthy was born in England to an Irish mother and an English father. He was the writer and performer of many travel series for radio and television in the United Kingdom. McCarthy's Bar, his first book, was a bestseller in Ireland, England, and Australia.

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