Five journeys in a storied land.
By Tony Hawks
To win a bet, English songwriter/comic Hawks hitchhikes his way through Ireland while lugging a small fridge. He and his fridge become media darlings and meet everybody from kings to a surfer who takes the fridge for a ride. It’s an improbably charming story that throws open a window into a warm and hilarious world.
By Pete McCarthy
McCarthy makes a thirst-quenching pilgrimage around the Emerald Isle, never passing a pub with his name on it without entering. Inside, he finds spellbinding storytellers, washed-up rock’n’rollers, tragic tales, author Frank McCourt, and an oral history of Ireland, all serving as delightful contrast to the tourist traps McCarthy tries (and sometimes fails) to avoid.
By Tom Coyne
Irish-American golfer-writer Tom Coyne traverses forty golf courses in four months, all arrived at by walking around the coast of the ancestral homeland. Of Coyne’s three topics, golf certainly takes third place, but the love of the pint doesn’t often beat out the love of the country, and the inner stillness it grants: “Living as a dot on an endless road had begun to make the world feel larger and this walker feel smaller—not insignificant, but a bit less complicated, shedding worries with each mile until it was just me and my sticks and a view I hoped I would never forget.”
By Kevin O’Hara
O’Hara, an American Vietnam vet (and psychiatric nurse), travels to his mother’s homeland and ventures 1,800 miles of its roads with a donkey and cart, discovering along the way new parts of himself, dozens of indelible characters, and a country struggling to separate itself from its own past.
By J. M. Synge
Playwright Synge took the advice of his friend William Butler Yeats and spent a few summers hanging out in the myth-laden Aran Islands west of Galway. First published in 1907, his enthralling diaries reveal a world that was even then almost vanished—women in petticoats and fishermen eking out a living from the sea, telling stories of fairies and enchanted gold.