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The House on an Irish Hillside: When you know where you've come from, you can see where you're going Paperback – 7 Jun 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444730304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444730302
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 818,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

There is something entirely Irish about her writing: fresh, daring, curious and blazingly beautiful. Whatever she turns her bright eye on comes alive: the soft wild country of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, old half-remembered stories, and the pattern of life in rural Ireland. As you read on you begin to believe that you own the house on the hillside, that you are part of the smoky circle of musicians, that the seaweed you spread on the earth will produce a fine crop of potatoes. Wise, funny and touching, this book is a portrait of friendships, customs and folklore of Ireland; but what stays with you is harder to catch, like smoke or running water. It is the taste of something we all once knew, ever-present if only you look for it. Completely enchanting. (Joanna Lumley)

I cannot recommend more. Beautifully written - would make anyone want to go to Dingle! (Isle magazine)

Book Description

The story of how one woman's life was transformed by a remarkable house on the Dingle peninsula in Ireland. It's a life-affirming tale of rediscovering lost values and cherishing loved ones and the communities we live in.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who loves hearing the positive side to major-life-choices-gone-right, as well as stories rich with history and setting, I couldn't put this book down. Like many of us, Ireland has always held an enchanted place in my heart. For me, this started on a long drive around the Ring of Kerry in a cheap rented car in college. This book not only puts me back into that visual and magical frame of mind, but also tells me why this place is so beautiful, haunting, rugged and inspiring: Its People. Taking a leap and listening to their hearts, Felicity Hayes-McCoy and her husband Wilf made a life change and found themselves living in a place that had called to them for years - a home on the Dingle peninsula in western Ireland. A decision I think we all secretly (or not so secretly) long to make. She then takes us on a journey not only through their own lives, but through the lives of the people who settled there, farmed there, lived there, sang there and still take their instruments down to the pub for a night of music - leaving us compelled to follow in their footsteps to wherever our own Dingle peninsula may be. This is a book for anyone who wants to be inspired to live better and remember what's important; and, for those who just love Ireland, in all of its wild and wonderful forms. And there are many of us.
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This book is a sheer delight. It's a wise and meditative love letter to the Dingle peninsula and its people and its past. Joanna Lumley's review (above) brilliantly catches the spirit of the book and its enchantment. The author has developed a special archeology of local life: she traces the way that the values and aspirations of past generations are still inscribed in the countryside and the stones. Stories and tunes waft into the book accross the eons through the fragile and partial memories of individuals. But this writing shows how resilient the collective memory can be. Oral fragments of thoughts, wishes, myths, courtesies and past kindnesses are carried by the songs, the sayings, the homes, the worn paths, the recipes, the cups of tea, some strands of seaweed. She manages to capture in print some of the best of Ireland's unique character.
Anyone interested in the power of tradition to enhance and enrich everyday life, anyone fascinated by the way a people's culture develops, how each of us is related to our community, our time and our place will love the observations, insights and lyricism of this writing. Curiosity, kindliness, and at times a waspish wit - a delicious combination of flavours!
Reading this gem of a book is truly a sentimental education. I felt so much better equipped to read the sounds, signs and even the silences of the world back west which I went to visit immediately after finishing the book - and the experience was so much enriched by this author's thoughtful and funny perspective. She is deeply appreciative of what she has seen and enjoyed, and this book will be warmly appreciated in turn by its readers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this on another visit to the stunning West of Ireland peninsula Hayes-McCoy (and husband) decide to live in and attempt to learn more about, from its history to present day. The location subject is a place of awesome natural beauty and spiritual depth which can, (and does), use its magic to draw one back to it, time after time. Undoubtedly, one can feel some spiritual connectivity with all life, past and present, in this place, and the writer gets in touch with the peninsula's "otherness" quite well. Enjoyed the book, despite some passages of repetition in the narrative. My criteria for books of note is, "Am I willing to lend this to anyone?" (...for fear of it not being returned). All I can recommend is that you get your own copy!
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Awful book. Gone straight to the charity shop. Obviously some reviewers see her through rose tinted glasses just as she sees her life in Dingle. It should be pointed out that this is about a second home in an area crowded with second homes, hence very difficult for young locals to buy anything affordable. Hence a lot have to move away. The book is fairly loaded with the Irish Language , yet her husband does not speak Irish so I assume most encounters are in English. Lots of mention of Irish Myths and Legends, which she makes boring. There are already a lot of good and famous books already. She is obviously a city girl at heart and it shows painfully. She lives in a loft apartment in "Hipster London" where it seems an eel and pie shop is a tourist area for her. She seems to have no idea about cleaning chimneys or the fact that you could buy brushes from the hard wear shop. I would really like to know what her neighbours think of her. .I would think a rich Londoner playing and trying too hard.
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In a life which only seems to get more frenetic as the years go by The House on an Irish Hillside by Felicity Hayes-McCoy was an oasis of peace - one of those books that I read slower and slower as the pages turned because I did not want it to end. Felicity was born in Dublin but in her teens went to Dingle in south-west Ireland to learn the Irish language. She eventually moved to London where she became an actor and a writer, met her husband, Wilf and began fitting 36 hours into every 24 as so many of us freelances do. In this beautiful book she tells how she and Wilf, seeking - in the jargon phrase, not one she uses - a better work/life balance, bought a home on the Dingle peinsular in south-west Ireland, re-built it together (the "together" is critical), and now divide their time between there and London. But the book is more than that. It is a song of joy for the sheer pleasure of living and finding a way of life that affects everything you do. I loved it.
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