The book isn’t a typical travel book. Charlie Connelly after fantasizing about an Ireland that he now is highly doubting, moves to Ireland to live with the love of his life (Jude). Finally having decided to settle in the country he had seen himself part of by heart all his adolescent life and beyond, Charlie Connelly realizes where his image of the green Isle seems far off reality. He decides to get to know the country and furthermore his ancestors from the 19th century who had left Ireland for London.
Very entertainingly and fondly he portrays a modern-life Ireland, as well as giving bits and pieces about the country’s history. While trying to dig up his great-great-great-grandfather the reader gets some insight into how to difficult and time-consuming genealogical research is.
Since Connelly wrote a lot about sports previously, there are some chapters with a focus on rugby and football. Though that is partly due to the important and pivotal role the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) is playing in Ireland. At some point it got too detailed for my taste, but all the other chapters made totally up for those slightly dragging bits.
A really nice and interesting chapter is where he gives an introduction to Irish (Irish Gaelic) by writing about his ambitions to learn the language:
“…the equivalent of British ‘STOP’ road signs say ‘tóg go bog é’ which translates as – and I love this – an instruction to ‘take it easy’.”
“I’d never master the language, but I at least felt that I understood it a little and, by extension, understood a little more about the country I call home.”
While travelling cross country and researching for his ancestor who left Ireland in the years of the Great Famine Charlie Connelly educates about Ireland, her people, her history and especially her personality. The reader is taken on an exhilarating and moving journey, whilst learning quite a few interesting and witty facts.
For the hilarious read I give four of five shamrocks!