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McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Pete McCarthy
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Jun 2000
"McCarthy's Bar" is the result of a lifelong love affair with Ireland. Written and read by the presenter of Channel 4's "Travelog", it is both an entertaining journey and a personal investigation into a past, and a country populated by hundreds of McCarthys, where Christian Brothers rub shoulders with Van Morrison and Saint Patrick, and a perfect pint of Guinness is a joy that's always worth waiting for.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Audio Books (19 Jun 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840323264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840323269
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,401,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The premise of Pete McCarthy's first book, McCarthy's Bar, is that you should never pass up the opportunity of having a drink in a bar that shares your name. There is clearly more to this plan than the obvious publicity stunt, since it could work with books as well--try reading Cormac McCarthy after reading this hilarious, informed and intelligent book, and you may well be tempted to buy books by every other McCarthy around.

Born in Warrington, Pete McCarthy decides to go back to rural Ireland, to rediscover his Irishness. The feeling that you have heard this sort of thing all before doesn't last for long. There is a serious writer struggling to make himself heard above the many excellent jokes and this is what makes McCarthy's book so distinctive. Although he can crack Brysonesque quips with the best of them ("I've often wondered how businessmen used to cope before [mobile phones] were invented. How did they tell their wives they were on the train?"), and take us through hilarious and largely drunken set-pieces, McCarthy is equally at home discussing Celtic standing stones and the potato famine.

The resulting book is a wonderful debut. By the end, we, too, would like to move to Ireland. You sense that McCarthy has such a genuine feeling for Ireland, Irishness and Irish history that he can only temper his writing with side-splitting humour. In this way, his first book successfully embodies much of what it is to be Irish. --Toby Green --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


'An engaging, evocative book. Four out of five stars' - Daily Mail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed until I cried.... 13 July 2006
By amoc72
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this where the sandwich dressing comes from ? 24 Jun 2007
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
Pete McCarthy was actually born Peter Charles McCarthy Robinson in Warrington, a town in the north-west of England. He was the eldest son of an Irish mother, who'd moved to England to work as a nurse. Naturally, there was an Irish influence on his upbringing : he was educated by the Christian Brothers and, in his childhood, spent his summer holidays with his mother's family in West Cork. Before moving into travel writing, Pete had worked on television, and adopted his mother's maiden name to avoid confusion with another actor. (It also spared him from sharing a name with a noted Northern Irish politician - who, unlike our author - has no great love for the Irish Republic). "McCarthy's Bar" was his first book, and follows his travels through Cork, Kerry and up the west coast to his eventual destination : the dreaded pilgramage on Lough Derg. (It's, therefore, not entirely set in pubs owned by people called McCarthy - but you weren't seriously expecting that anyway, where you ?).

I haven't read a lot of travelogues, but - up until now - I've made a point of avoiding those set in Ireland. I've flicked through one or two, and have been left with the impression that people who write travelogues - though they come close at time - don't quite 'get' the Irish. McCarthy, on the other hand, does a great job and sometimes 'gets' us a little too well. He sometimes wanders a little off-topic and, once in a while, includes some relevant childhood memory or the occasional random thought. (The possiblility of genetic memory is something he puzzles over more than once, and he briefly notes the contribution of the Irish to Australia's sporting successes). He touches occasionally on the Irish - English relationship, though (wisely) doesn't try to explain it, while other tourists provide a few laughs...
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice book from a nice guy 9 Jun 2005
By A Customer
Pete Mc Carthy wrote a couple of excellent books chronicling his travels around Ireland and further afield before his sad death from cancer last year. McCarthy's Bar & The Road to McCarthy are both well worth a read. If you like travelling, meeting interesting characters and a nice pint of Guinness then Pete McCarthy will soon become your friend.
The book isn't so much a travel guide as a humourous look at different sides of Ireland as seen through the witty eyes and ears of the late Pete. I especially enjoyed the part when he visits Lough Derg, having been there twice myself! Some other reviewers have complained about some of his observations and also his attempts at humour. While the humour in this may have been exaggerated somewhat, it IS funny, for God's sake! Those who think otherwise are probably the sort of people who don't laugh at anything, considering themselves above that sort of nonsense.
There are some genuinely funny moments and some clever turns of phrase and Mc Carthy has definitely established a real flair for storytelling in this, the first of his books.
On the frequent occasions when Pete just happens to be having a pint (again..) i wish i was on holidays. There's something extra nice about having a pint on a summer's day and not feeling guilty about it.
I thoroughly recommend Pete's books to anyone with a sense of humour.Unfortunately, his sad demise means that we won't be able to share any more of his adventures.
The world is a sadder place without him.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I bought the book originally because I share two things with Pete MCCarthy.
1) A Surname & 2) A Love of Bars.
Having Spent most of my Summers as a youth on the South West Coast of Ireland, I trod a similar path to Mr McCarthy - stopping in the Pubs with my name over the door. Many endearing and hilarious episodes followed of course, but none I could relate with the clarity and good humour that the author manages to put down on paper. I was a bit nervous about buying a spoken word version, but I thought it would have been great for the car - and how right I was! This man makes the subject matter even funner when he delivers his account in the 'matter of fact' way that makes his adventures truely entertaining.
My next mission is to have the tape on in the car while searching for 'The Church" - and if you want to know what that means - buy the book! (You'll not regret it)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
Hilarious! Travel books as a genre not usually my thing, but really enjoyed this book. McCarthy's observations on human interactions really struck a chord. Read more
Published 20 days ago by LauraB
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully amusing
One of the funniest books I have ever read. brilliantly written and gives a great insight into life in ireland
Published 3 months ago by geo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest books I've read.
I bought this after buying his other book about his experience in Morocco. Title escapes me just now but since he's only written two it's the other one.
Published 4 months ago by J. W. Hodgson
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and Amusing
Very enjoyable read -heart lifting
Made me want to follow in his footsteps to share the experience and meet the characters describes
Published 6 months ago by Kath Nuttall
5.0 out of 5 stars McCarthy's Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland
I loved this book because I wanted to learn more about the land of my ancestors!!

Since I ordered it and read it two years ago, your request for a review is a bit late!!
Published 6 months ago by Pauline Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest ever
I had a copy of this before but lent it to a friend, without doubt it's the funniest book I've ever read, pity couldn't download it.
Published 8 months ago by geetee
5.0 out of 5 stars McCarthy's bar
This is a brilliant witty and extremely funny book. Once you start to read it is very hard to set it down.
Published 9 months ago by Dympna haughian
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to the funniest book ever
Superb, superb, superb....I loved this book, my wife loves the book, when my children are older they will love it. It really is the funniest book I have read to date. Read more
Published 10 months ago by riley36
5.0 out of 5 stars McCarthy's Bar
Funnist book I have read in a long time, you can picture yourself asking the same questions and being bemused by the replys that you receive, great holiday book..... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. P. Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied customer
The book was delivered promptly and in excellent condition. I was already somewhat familiar with this book but felt a personal copy would be worth having, the perceptive and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by D S Chapman
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