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A Lucky Irish Lad

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    Last of the Donkey Pilgrims by Kevin O'Hara

    Anyone looking to travel to Ireland would do well to read this beautifully written true story of a young man's journey, on foot, around the ring of Ireland with a Donkey and a cart.

    I'm fifth generation Irish, my family emigrating from Adamstown, County Wexford. For years I've tried to research information on the family, and always wondered what it had been like for them in their homeland.
    We were given a gift by our children this past Christmas, a trip to Ireland.
    I had started reading 'Last of the Donkey Pilgrims' some months earlier and became so inspired by Kevin's descriptions of the land, and the people, that we decided, after having our trip cancelled by the Iceland volcano, to re-book later and see Ireland by car.

    Kevin's trip took a year, and we did ours in ten days. But in that short amount of time we were able to see the places Kevin described so vividly and it was truly a moving experience.
    Our travels took us over Conor Pass, which we would never have seen if we were on a bus tour. The breathtaking mountain vistas and the pass leading to Dingle held us spellbound, as they had Kevin.

    On our last day, while traveling from Galway to Dublin, we decided to see for ourselves where it all started, at Rattigan's Pub in Kilroosky. After getting lost in a downpour, and searching for several hours, we finally arrived at the pub and met Katherine Rattigan, owner and operator, a fine lady who fondly remembers Kevin's most amazing trip, and who was part of his story.

    Thanks to Kevin's well written book, 'Last of the Donkey Pilgrims', we were able to really embrace our experience and feel closer to our roots than ever before. I have a warm place in my heart for the Irish Donkey, Missie, who's own heart was as great as any thoroughbred's. What a fine companion she was.

    Our only regret is that we didn't have more time to see all of Ireland as Kevin did, he's 'A Lucky Irish Lad' for sure, and a very gifted writer.

    Jim Roche
    Windsor Locks, CT

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    fine memoir

    In Ipswich, England on April 20, 1949, Kevin is born to Irish parents after giving his mom and the midwife fits as he refused to leave the comfort of the womb. His joining the growing family brood as the fourth of eight kicking the third off the milk bar until the fifth kicked him to the table. A neighbor blithely said the poor lad shares birthday with Hitler, but his mom remarked her son will redeem the date by making it his day rather than that of that devil. With five in hand and prospects poor in Ireland and Great Britain, dad took the family across the ocean to New England where three more children joined the brood. Kevin served in Nam, became a psychiatric nurse and married Felita Suarez while struggling with being an Americanized Irish Catholic.

    Although there seems to be a zillion coming of age in the 1950s-1960s memoirs on the market (see Angela's Ashes and 'Tis by McCourt, Little Boy Blues by Jones, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Janzen and Literary Life by McMurtrey, etc.) Kevin O'Hara refreshes his with witty humor. He states that his parents and siblings taught him the importance of health and family; as the latter needs to be there when the former is not. Interesting and well written, but not with anything unique, fans of autobiographies will enjoy. Mr. O'Hara's memoir as he uses engaging anecdotes with intelligence and wit.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Made me reminisce for the "simpler" times

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book...just as I did reading O'Hara's first book "The Last of the Donley Pilgrims". He writes beautifully and his words speak to me like a friendly conversation. I am familiar with the town of Pittsfield that he grew up in and though I was born several years later than he, he brought me right back to my childhood, neighborhood, family and friends. A truly heart-warming story which I am recommending to all my family and friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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