The amazing success of McCarthy's Bar
put Pete McCarthy securely into the upper echelons of modern travel writers. His skills were many: an uncanny knack for evoking the ambience of the often bizarre and unlikely places he visited; insights into human behaviour that range from the sardonic to the insightful, and (best of all) a fractured sense of humour that made reading the book in public dangerous if you didn't want to embarrass yourself by spontaneously laughing out loud. There were those who feared that his new book The Road to McCarthy
would not match its predecessor for quirky and idiosyncratic charm, but a few pages of the first chapter quickly puts paid to the nay-sayers.
Over a few pints, McCarthy unwisely decides to investigate mythical stories of his own clan history. Were the McCarthys a nomadic tribe who travelled from North Africa in the mists of pre-history? This none-too-serious attempt to anatomise worldwide Irish connections results in an outrageously entertaining odyssey. From the Fried Breakfast Zone of Belfast airport, McCarthy journeys to Morocco and Gibraltar and finds that the Casbah in Tangier doesn't have too many historical traces of a hereditary Gaelic Chief. Despite attacks from ornamental monkeys and ill-tempered geese, he ploughs through the fleshpots of the island of Montserrat in the Caribbean in his fruitless search (where the only Celts he encounters are worse-for-drink Glasgow Celtic supporters); and then, in the secluded Alaskan township of McCarthy (where else?) with its populace of just 18 bewildered citizens, he comes across a final revelation. This is absolutely hilarious stuff, every bit as entertaining as McCarthy's Bar--and that's no blarney.--Barry Forshaw
'Cordial, happy-go-lucky, a bit vague, cowardly yet with an inimitable sense of adventure; a disarming, likeable travelling companion.' -- The Sunday Times 20020721 'The new book is just as quirky as McCARTHY'S BAR and even funnier ... it's full of extraordinary encounters, insightful glimpses of the places he visits and humorous comments on human behaviour, not least his own.' -- Victoria Hislop, Sunday Telegraph 20020721 Praise for MCCARTHY'S BAR: 'McCarthy is a hilariously funny writer' -- The Times 20020721 'McCarthy mines a rich seam of humour as he finds himself on the receiving end of some warm but unsophisticated hospitality. But then, he could probably make a phone book funny.' -- Independent on Sunday 20020721 'Don't panic - this is not the same story you hear from every tourist you meet ... This book will make you laugh out loud through recognition and embarrassment' -- Irish News 20020721 'One of the funniest writers around. If you were asked to choose the ideal travelling companion, you would put Pete McCarthy near the top of your list. But if he doesn't happen to be available, MCCARTHY'S BAR is the next best thing' -- Yorkshire Evening Post 20020721 'A riveting piece of storytelling' -- Observer 20020721