Travels in Ireland

Five journeys in a storied land.

Round Ireland with a Fridge

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.

McCarthy’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland

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.

A Course Called Ireland: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, A Pint and the Next Tee

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.”

Last of the Donkey Pilgrims

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.

The Aran Islands 

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.