From Publishers Weekly
Seventy-four-year-old Ginna, who's produced films and written articles about Ireland and served as Little, Brown's editor-in-chief from 1977 to 1980, decided to take a walking tour of the country, from Malin Head (Donegal) south to Kinsale (Cork), to see what's changed in the last 30 years or so. This sounds like he might be interested in the impact of the European Union or reforms in the Church or even the high-tech revolution, but it boils down to something slightly more mundane: whether a site Ginna visited 30 years ago is still accessible, whether a particular tailor is still available to make him a new jacket, etc. He walks from one bed-and-breakfast to the next, buying his food in shops or eating in restaurants. He visits pubs most evenings. If he's near a ruin, a graveyard, a church or a historical marker, he will examine it and recount an anecdote culled from his collection of Irish history books. Passing a factory, he may call on the owner and make inquiries about what's being produced and how it's going. Mostly, he talks with b&b owners or other pub drinkers. Almost everyone Ginna meets and every place he sleeps is "cheerful," and many a landscape is "bosky." It makes for a monotonous, somewhat narrow view of a vibrant, culturally rich country. Readers looking for clues about life in modern Ireland-what people eat, how they shop and work, what home and school life are like and how the sexes relate-should look elsewhere. On the other hand, those with a taste for tales of ancient battles or castles might find Ginna's account tolerable. Illus., map.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Ireland remains the perfect country to read and write about, because every inch of it is different, yet every inch is typical. And everything is within walking distance—if not by you, then by a surrogate like Robert Ginna, whose new book, The Irish Way
, is as good as a hike though the whole time and space of Ireland with a man who not only knows all there is to know about it but seems to learn something new every minute: in other words, an Irishman, complete with contradictions (he’s actually American) and great conversations and with a wonderfully exhilarating book up his sleeve.”—Wilfrid Sheed
“This marvelous walk down the full length of Ireland is the journey of a lifetime. Robert Ginna takes you along with him into the ruined abbeys, the villages and towns, the great houses with their extraordinary histories, the talk-filled pubs, and, more than this, into the soul of the country.
“The fierce and bloody past with its sorrows, the beauty of the land and its rivers, the open-heartedness of the people, are all grandly revealed by a matchless guide.”—James Salter