Book #20: McCarthy’s Bar

by Pete McCarthy

McCarthy's Bar

McCarthy’s Eighth Rule of Travel is that you should never pass a bar with your name on it. So for that among other more complex reasons, off he goes to Ireland.

Everyone else seems to find this book much funnier than I did. That’s not to say it isn’t funny — it has some hilarious set-pieces and observations — but it’s inconsistent. McCarthy moves between travelogue, commentary on the less savory effects of tourism, and musings on ancestry and place; the result gives a good picture of Ireland, to be sure, but it feels uneven.

Nonetheless his Rules of Travel are worth remembering, particularly No. 1, On Arrival, Buy a Local Paper and Go For a Drink, and No. 17: Never Try and Score Dope from Hasidic Jews While Under the Impression They’re Rastafarians.