The Back of Beyond: A Search for the Soul of Ireland

The Back of Beyond: A Search for the Soul of Ireland

by James Charles Roy
     
 

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In The Back of Beyond, James Charles Roy, a noted authority on Irish history and travel, escorts a disparate group of Americans through the lonely backwaters of ancient Ireland. Visions of a glorious enterprise evaporate as he sees a dejected and weary handful of aged tourists disembark at Shannon Airport. Fortified by Guinness, Roy hurls himself into…  See more details below

Overview


In The Back of Beyond, James Charles Roy, a noted authority on Irish history and travel, escorts a disparate group of Americans through the lonely backwaters of ancient Ireland. Visions of a glorious enterprise evaporate as he sees a dejected and weary handful of aged tourists disembark at Shannon Airport. Fortified by Guinness, Roy hurls himself into sharing with them the joys and wonders of Ireland's twisted byways.Determined to avoid cliché, Roy leads his group to obscure Celtic coronation sites, monasteries, and remote abbeys as he spins a narrative that pulls Ireland's chaotic story into coherence. His unsuspecting charges begin to shed their hesitancies, relishing in their guide's idiosyncratic approach to Ireland. Black comedy aside, Roy touches an emotional chord: how the economic phenomenon known as the Celtic Tiger has transformed Old Ireland into a high-tech power. At the tour's end, Roy embarks alone for the inaccessible Ardoilean, a seventh-century Celtic hermitage in County Galway. His vision is one of an Ireland lost forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Roy, a noted authority on Irish history and travel, divides his time between a home in Newburyport, MA, and Moyode Castle in County Galway, Ireland. Using his experience leading a tour of elderly Americans around Ireland as the basis for this travel essay, Roy paints a rather grim even dreary picture of Ireland and its past. Perhaps because he has long studied Ireland (he has written some historical studies of Ireland, most recently The Fields of Athenry: A Journey Through Irish History), his views have become jaded, for he avoids showing his readers or potential travelers anything of the romantic and beautiful Emerald Isle of public opinion. While it is true that Roy takes his charges to the parts of Ireland that are off the beaten path, his purpose seems to be to show that Ireland is somehow overrated and not at all what the Travel Board tries to communicate. Still, this book is admittedly an interesting read, since Roy shares an abundance of historical knowledge about Ireland. Recommended for large travel collections, but readers should not expect this book to entice them overseas. Sandy Knowles, Henderson Cty. P.L., NC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813391526
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/31/2004
Pages:
232
Sales rank:
1,240,448
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author


James Charles Roy has been a peripatetic "independent scholar" since 1970, when he left Time Inc. He has written innumerable articles on Irish history and five distinguished books, including The Fields of Athenry and Islands of Storm, a Book-of-the-Month and History Book Club selection. He divides his time between Moyode Castle in County Galway and his home in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

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