||Ian was more
than a little apprehensive when his turn came to kiss the Blarney
Stone. Not only had they just met, but it seemed this stone wasn't
at all fussy as to who it allowed to kiss it. Kissing the Blarney
Stone is Ireland's third most popular tourist attraction, so as well
as the moral implications there were the hygienic implications too.
Yet kissing the Blarney Stone is reputed to bestow upon you the Irish
gift of the gab, a talent Ian would need if he was to seduce the Sisters
of Murphy's; assuming he ever finds them.
This was just the first obstacle Ian had to cross
during his two-month journey around the Emerald Isle. With just a backpack
as a home, a guidebook in one hand, a bizarre travelogue in the other
and very little money in his bank account, he leaves his home and sets
off to this little country that has always been his neighbour, yet overlooked
by him for many years as he pursued dreams to travel to far and exotic
But to Ian's surprise he was to find that he didn't
need to travel thousands of miles across the world to discover something
new and exciting. As he busses, hitches and walks his way from Cork to
Donegal via the West Coast Ian discovers the wonderful spirit and friendliness
of the Irish people. During this time he conceives a plan to be a real
backpacker for a day by hiking from one town to another with the full
weight of his backpack, but finds things aren't as straightforward as
they might have seemed. Although travelling alone, he is rarely on his
own as he meets up with various interesting and amusing characters along
the way, until finally reaching the quiet and unspoilt shores of northern
Donegal. Here he must cross a tumultuous ocean on a small boat in order
to meet the King of Ireland, on the barren and windswept Tory Island.
Available in paperback (Please
note, the paperback edition does not contain photos)
Also available, a special ebook edition with nearly 100 photos and
18 new short stories from the author's return journeys to Ireland. Click
here to download a sample PDF
Reviewed by Carolyn
Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of "This is the Place"
and "Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered" 13th March
the whole review
"This book is funny. And perspicacious. And it
will do the world some good-literally. Ian has an uncanny
knack for spotting the way the universe provides coincidences and for
characterization. Emerald Isle introduces us to more interesting characters
than the average novel."
Sligo Weekender, Sept 10, 2002.
"This love of Eire comes through in Ian's new
book. He describes with a longing the scenery of Southern Ireland, but
reserves some of his best, and funniest writing for the characters he
meets along the way"
Review in the Wexford People, June 19, 2002
"Ian has a great and irreverent turn of phrase and a witty
irony, as well as an artist's eye for detail when it comes to penning
his observations, be they humorous, or heartfelt, or both."
Wexford Echo Review, 26th June 2002, By Cheryl Rickard
"Ian's sharp and slightly sarcastic sense of humour makes
this book a treasure of hilarious anecdotes and unusual characters."
A reader's review
Leeanne, UK, 24th Feb 2003
"Your books are both exciting and fulfilling whilst also having
a very educational side without the reader feeling preached to. I know
so much more about both South America and also Ireland than I did before
and am grateful to you for opening my eyes and helping me to see these
place in an unbiased way."
"Good luck with both the travelling and the writing!!"
the reviews page to read all the reviews