I have just finished reading McCarthy's Bar, having been recommended it by an English friend. Before picking it up, I thought 'oh yeah, a second-generation Paddy, going to tell us real Irish what we're like. Bring it on!'.
In all honesty, I have never, EVER laughed so loudly at the descriptions, and the perfect analysis of the Irish psyche. It's not all flattery from McCarthy - his observations on the new Celtic Tiger Ireland being particularly scathing (albeit dripping in a humour-filled sarcasm). However, he is never patronising.
He IS funny. Funny to the point of side-achingly hilarious. The Egyptian spuds, the scary B&B woman, the Christian Brothers who packed a good punch - all real situations, that turn into comic capers, once the sardonic eye of McCarthy is cast upon them.
It's also a poignant book too. Moreso for me when I realised while reading it that the author had sadly passed away in 2004. I left the book wondering if Pete McCarthy had finally found somewhere that he fitted in intrinsicly, and if there is a McCarthy's Bar beyond the pearly gates (and if it's being run by an ex-Garda or a Christian Brother with three kids!)
An excellent book. I can't reccomend it highly enough.