A jolly journalist takes a junket from Down Under to the Emerald Isle in order to acquire a taste for the beverage he describes as “liquid coal.”
Despite this poor first impression, Australian McHugh quickly became proficient in drinking Guinness as he backpacked around Ireland with his girlfriend “Twidkiwodm” (short for “the-woman-I-didn’t-know-I-would-one-day-marry,” whose real name is Michelle). From Dublin, they toured the costal towns of Kilarney, Dingle, Tralee and Tarbet. Then northward they marched to Donegal and Dungloe, progressing from the initial dreadful pint to regular, happy imbibing with many colorful denizens of all the best pubs. Innocent fun was had as the couple wandered through Gaelic tourist traps and cozy hostels, paying due obeisance to St. Patrick, Yeats and a local dolphin. Under the careful observation of Twidkiwodm, McHugh also admired the local girls. By bus, bike, foot and outstretched thumb they went, making the rounds with fellow foreign trekkers and local Pats and Sheilas. The gregarious and rowdy natives, as transcribed here, all spoke in a thick vaudeville brogue, reverting to English for a line or two only on rare occasions. Gargling the black stuff while mucking around Ireland is not a new subject (see Peter Biddlecombe’s Ireland: In a Glass of Its Own, 2006), but this book is heady and goes down smoothly.
For those with a terrible thirst for foamy Hibernian whimsy.